[rescue] Re: [geeks] THIS. MAKES. ME. SICK.

Bill Bradford rescue at sunhelp.org
Wed Jun 13 18:30:54 CDT 2001

On Wed, Jun 13, 2001 at 07:29:41PM -0400, Jonathan Katz wrote:
> I thought MULTICS would run on a PDP8 or PDP10?


Multics runs on special expensive CPU hardware that provides a segmented, paged, ring-structured virtual memory. The system is a symmetric multiprocessor with shared physical and virtual memory. The operating system was programmed in PL/I. 

Elliot Organick's book, The Multics System, an Examination of its Structure, describes the system as it was in about 1968. MIT started providing timesharing service on Multics to users in fall of 1969. GE sold the next system to the US Air Force, and the military use of Multics led to some of the system's security features. Honeywell sold more systems to government, and to auto makers, universities, and commercial data processing services. 

In the 1980s, Multics became quite popular in France; Honeywell's partner Bull sold a total of 31 Multics sites. None are still in use. 

Honeywell decided not to create a new hardware generation for Multics in the mid-80s and stopped developing the operating system. Subsequently, Honeywell sold its computer business to Bull, which also chose not to build new Multics hardware, and all sites replaced their Multics systems with more modern hardware. 

Bill Bradford
mrbill at mrbill.net
Austin, TX

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