Re: Sorry, but...

From: Noons <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 20:10:35 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

On Jan 17, 10:54 am, TheBoss <> wrote:

> I think you are mistaken here, Dijkstra was involved deeply with the
> Burroughs Corporation, as you know the "SYS" part of UNISYS :-)

But not only Burroughs. THE was his alma-mater, as well as yours! ;-)

> Eindhoven University of Technology these days), the operating system was
> named just: "THE Multiprogramming System". What was remarkable about it,
> except for its well-thought of multi-layered architecture, was the fact
> that most of it was designed and programmed before the target hardware
> (the EL-X8) was even available! [one of the reasons Dijkstra stressed
> the necessity of proving mathematically the correctness of every single
> (sub)program].

VS/9 was almost a textual copy of THE. The internal architecture of the RCA hardware had the required firmware ops to do p and v operations, at the core of the entire task and queue synchronization with THE. The whole thing was described in their sales brochures and pre-sales spiels. I do regret having thrown out all that stuff when I came to Australia...
RCA based the Spectra series on those principles and used Dijkstra's code ideas for it. Then they sold to Sperry, who promptly re-badged it VS/9 and made it run on the 90/70 series (originally the 9700) - the new name for what was, essentially and for all purposes, the Spectra...
I've got the book with the THE description and internal workings, as well as a few other things. It's almost a manual for VS9! McGraw-  It was part of my "computer science" semesters in uni. Been out of print for yonks. Most unfortunate: most of it is still very actual!

> During that same timeframe, Dijkstra got involved with Burroughs because
> of their stack based computers that were optimized for Algol-60.
> He had a very hard time convincing the THE Board to buy a Burroughs
> machine (I think it was a B6500).

Yes, it was a B6500. I've got Dijkstra's own book that recounts the inner workings of the whole thing and parts of those episodes. Amazing mind! I still find most of it actual nowadays. Knut's is good, but Dijkstra was a level above everyone else.

> VS/9 was a Sperry rename of RCA's original TSOS operating system.
> Around 1975,

Err, no. Around 1968. If you meant the time of RCA, not the time of Sperry.
IIRC, the VS9 moniker - and the 9700 and 90/70 re-badge - was "created" around 71.
When I first started working with Sperry 9000 and 1100 series hardware in 1974, VS9 was already well established.

> While VS/9 got dumped in the early 80's, BS2000 is till in
> use (as BS2000/OSD) at several European companies.

and sold by, of all things, Fujitsu! May their gods bless them! Wikipedia is notoriously incomplete in that whole area. Some of the Unisys historical archives are quite good and accurate. I wonder if Fujitsu keeps any of the past history of those companies?

And the proof of how good TSOS/VS9/BS2000 was is that it is still in use and available - likely the oldest OS in use anywhere in the world! :-) Received on Mon Jan 16 2012 - 22:10:35 CST

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