Operating systems

Source code of MULTICS OS released

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has released the source code of MULTICS, a decades-old OS and precursor to UNIX and other modern day operating systems.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has released the source code of MULTICS, a decades-old OS and precursor to UNIX and other modern day operating systems.

According to The Register:

MULTICS (or Multiplexed Information and Computing Service), began its incarnation in 1964 as a joint project between M.I.T., General Electric and Bell Labs. The operating system was developed for the GE-645 mainframe, a 36-bit general purpose time-share system built for continuous operation. The idea was to provide a computing utility analogous to electricity and telephone services.

It was one of the first operating systems to introduce concepts such as a hierarchical file system and dynamic linking. It was also the first to use the modern standard of per-process stacks in the kernel, with a separate stack for each security ring.

Perhaps some enterprising programmer can write an emulator for it for the PSP or something.

What is the oldest operating system that you have used?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

15 comments
gwcarter
gwcarter

Come on, people! Surely there are some Q32 LISPers out there, or IBJOB veterans! Where is Oscar (The Optimizer) Firschein when we need him? There were plenty of OSs before Multics, which I recall has having been released by Honeybucket.

Jaqui
Jaqui

but as individual files. if anyone wanted to get it all and see how it runs it is way to much work. Why can't M.I.T. release it in a tarball?

paulmah
paulmah

What is the oldest operating system that you have used?

rjcoon
rjcoon

OS/78 and I still have the OS and HW in my basement! IBM S/3 SCP might have been older though! Or the Burroughs B700 MCP? It's been awhile....

doug.quebbeman
doug.quebbeman

The oldest Os I've used was Chippewa OS. I never used it on the real hardware, but built a deadstart tape from the "source code" and ran that on an emulator in December 2000.

JPHoekstra
JPHoekstra

In 1975, the year Xerox got out of the computer business (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_Data_Systems), I started learning FORTRAN programming on the Sigma 6. It's basic file structure was keyed allowing direct access to any row in a text file. I wrote some database programs taking advantage of this ability.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

GCOS III was the operating system for the GE 635. It seems to have been a very advanced system for it's day, having dynamically linked files and interactive time sharing. As I understand it the big difference between GCOS III and MULTICS was MULTICS had virtual memory and a model where all storage was memory. I've never heard whether GCOS borrowed the hierarchical file system from MULTICS or MULTICS inherited it from GCOS. . .

etruss
etruss

This is interesting to me because the last mainframe operating system I used - NOS/VE for CDC Cyber 180 was supposedly based on MULTICS.

Richard.Miranda
Richard.Miranda

I know I'm showing my age. This was in the late 70's and my first exposure to timeshare systems in college. The age of microcomputers started right after this and with my first job as a programmer using a TRS-80 Model 1 with TRS-DOS and NEWDOS/80.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

When barely old enough to type, I remember playnig "guess the number" on a mainframe attached green screen terminal. No idea what was running behind that though I believe it was replaced by the, then, new fangled as400. At home, my first machine was a Coleco Adam which was also the first machine I wore out beyond usability. No idea what OS Coleco had burnt on the rom in that though. Years later, the home computer was an already old and worn Apple IIe wich booted from floppies with whatever version of apple's OS came before the GUI. (I remember the screen had a basic menu across the bottom; L to lock, U to unlock.. ) That machine primarily ran Conan and it's five or less levels of frustraiting (wish I could find a copy of that old game again). I'm a newbie by some standards around here. If some genious can get MULTICS compiled and running on a VM (VMware, Virtualbox.. ) I'll stuff this sucker on a machine along with the rest of my growing collection.

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

From TSC Technical Systems Consultants. On a swtpc box. Ah, those were fun days - Loved the ASR-33 TTY and AC30 cassette interface for Kansas City standard FSK data storage.

nvrtis
nvrtis

I actually worked on a 635.. In Southfield Michigan. But there was even an earlier one that I worked on. The GE 265. Don't remember what the OS on that thing was called. If I remember correctly, a 265 was a 235 with a Datanet 30 front it, and was what they originally developed Basic on/for. And then there was the IBM 1401. Someplace in my dusty boxes I still have the Programmers reference card for that. And I got to play with an IBM 650 and a Scientific Data Systems SDS 10(?). Cool stuff...

etruss
etruss

Yes, I also used RT-11 on the PDP-11 in the early 70s in grad school after I got out of the Army. Also used IBM OS360 I think it was. But before that, while in college I used mostly CDC machines running SCOPE - a CDC 3600 I think ("drum SCOPE") and an early 6600. The first computer I ever worked on was the CDC 3600 - a FORTRAN class that made me decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Richard.Miranda
Richard.Miranda

I neglected to mention the CDC work I did at Cal Poly, Pomona. My memory failed me on that. It was a batch system and I too, learned FORTRAN first on the CDC, RT-BASIC on the PDP and changed my major from Aerospace Engineering to Computer Science. I confess, hooked for life. I still have some punch cards from those days.

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