Honneywell multics? from panels. the inline phots in this message folks -smecc

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Mon Mar 14 08:56:53 CDT 2016

    > From: Charles Anthony

    > I get bloody impressed just watching it on the emulator; doing it in a
    > production environment must have been spectacular.

Even though I never did do any programming on Multics myself (I had an
account on the MIT system, and logged in a bit), I still feel that _as an
environment for system programming_, it's _still_ far ahead of almost all the
available competition. Unix V6 at least had the grace of simplicity and
incredibly small size; its descendants have lost that, and so to me Linux,
for example, is entirely inferior to Multics.

Which to me is a pretty awesome accomplishment, in a field as fast-moving as
computers - the only thing that even vaguely compares is the A-12/SR-71,
which today, 17 years after it retired in 1998 (it first flew in 1962),
_still_ holds the record for the fastest air-breathing aircraft.

There is one axis along which I concede that things have advanced since
Multics, which is away from monolithic kernels - Multics is pretty much one
big lump in ring 0, except a few things in ring 1.

But the complete structing of the system around a segmented, single-level
memory system (at least, in terms of the environment the user sees) is such a
fantastic idea that I simply don't understand why that hasn't become the
standard. (The ability to map files in, and DLL's, do get a lot of that
power, but in an ad hoc, inelegant, and less powerful way.)

A few now-defunct system (e.g Apollo) picked up on it, but the only OS today
I know of based around the concept is the IBM i, the descendant of the
Control Program Facility OS on the System/38.

Sigh. (And apologies for the rant, it's one of my hot buttons.. :-)


More information about the cctech mailing list