Re: What would be a truly relational operating system ?

From: Cimode <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 16:49:26 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

On 13 nov, 23:39, Anne & Lynn Wheeler <> wrote:
> paul c <> writes:
> > I remember reading an Datamation interview of Gene Amdahl, long ago,
> > must have been in the 1970's because that magazine was one of the few
> > trade mags then.  I still remember it because he was waxing on about
> > his 1950's designs and what came to be called complex instruction
> > sets.  He was regretting that there was little industry enthusiasm for
> > even more complex instructions, I got the impression that he had felt
> > he was barely scratching the surface with ones such as 'edit and mark'
> > or 'translate and test'.  If I had to pick just one target for
> > applying complex instructions, that would be something like the D&D
> > A-algebra.
> > (This wouldn't prevent parallelism under the covers.)  Unlike most of
> > us Gene Amdahl is able to visualize approaches that are contrary to
> > what's already been built.
> clone controllers were supposedly primary motivation for future system
> project ... an extrodinary complex machine with complex instructions.
> future system was targeted at completely replacing 360/370 and as
> different from 360 as 360 had been different from prior computer
> generations. future system was canceled w/o ever being announced
> ... some past posts
> Amdahl gave a talk in large MIT auditorium in the early 70s about
> leaving ibm and starting his own clone processor company. he was asked
> what justification he used with investors regarding his company. he
> replied that that ibm mainframe customers had already invested $200B in
> developing mainframe software ...  and even if ibm were to completely
> walk away from 360 (which might be construed as veiled reference to
> future system project), that would be enough software to keep him in
> business through the end of the century.
> it has been claimed that the pre-occupation with future system (going to
> completely replacing 360/370) allowed the 370 product pipeline to go
> dray. with the demise of the future system effort, there was mad rush to
> get products back into the 370 hardware and software pipeline. However,
> the lack of 370 products is claimed to have contributed to allowing
> clone processors (like amdahl's) to gain a foothold in the market.
> I've also claimed that big motivation for John doing 801/risc was to go
> in the opposite extreme from what was going on with future system. lots
> of past posts mentioning 801, risc, iliad, romp, rios, power, power/pc,
> etc
> this is old email mentioning the mip lisp machine group trying to get
> 801/risc chips
> for other drift ... this talks about shootout between QBE & system/r
> original relational/sql was done on vm370 ... and compare&swap was part
> of the 370 instruction set. The discussion regarding compare&swap (in the
> above) strayed a bit (& got the details wrong).
> charlie had invented compare&swap instruction doing parallel, fine-grain
> multiprocessor locking work on cp67 (360/67 virtual machine precursor to
> vm370) at the science center ... misc. past posts mentioning the science
> center (note compare&swap name was chosen because CAS are charlie's
> initials)
> initial attempts to get compare&swap into 370 architecture were
> rebuffed. the favorite son operating system claiming that test&set
> instruction was more than adequate for multiprocessor operation.  the
> challenge was that to get compare&swap instruction into 370
> architecture, a non-multiprocessor specific use needed to be
> created. Thus was born the example use for application use ... still
> included in current principles of operation.
> since then many hardware architectures have implemented comapre&swap (or
> very similar instructions) and have been widely adapted by multithreaded
> applications (including most DBMS implementations) ... regardless of
> whether running in single processor or multiprocessor environment. misc
> past posts mentioning multiprocessor work and/or compare&swap
> instruction
> misc. past posts mentioning original relational/sql implementation
> --
> 40+yrs virtualization experience (since Jan68), online at home since Mar1970

Thank you for this. Received on Sat Nov 14 2009 - 01:49:26 CET

Original text of this message