Process accounting - did anyone ever use it?

Jon Elson elson at
Fri May 31 10:04:14 CDT 2019

From: "Grant Taylor via cctalk" <cctalk at> To: 
"cctalk mailing list" <cctalk at>
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 1:30:51 PM
Subject: Process accounting - did anyone ever use it?

 >(Credit the Quotas thread for prompting this.)
 >Did anyone ever use process accounting? Did they actually 
bill departments
 >(funny money)? I was always intrigued by process 
accounting, but never had a use
 >for it myself. I guess I can thank process accounting for 
causing the discrepancy
 >that Cliff Stole tracked down that became The Cuckoo's 
Egg. :-)
Not exactly sure what you are asking about, but if you mean 
run time accounting to bill users, then we did this on one 
system I managed. We depended on the other department's 
contributions to fund the total expenses of the machine 
(purchase price plus software and hardware maintenance 
contracts), which were pretty expensive on a VAX 11/780.
Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the University's accounting 
department, they transferred several thousand $ of "real 
money" per month to our account.  The bill varied depending 
on how much CPU time they used.  I wrote some DCL scripts to 
roll over the accounting file daily, and then break it down 
by user and compute a $ amount based on a formula that had 
been agreed upon.

It is Clifford Stoll, IIRC.


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