Origin of "partition" in storage devices

Paul Koning paulkoning at comcast.net
Mon Jan 31 13:28:39 CST 2022

> On Jan 31, 2022, at 2:01 PM, Tom Gardner via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> There is a discussion of the origin of the term "partition" in storage
> devices such as HDDs at:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Disk_partitioning#Where_did_the_term_%22p
> artition%22_originate?
> It seems clear it was used in memory well before HDDs but when it got
> started there is unclear.
> * IBM PC DOS v2 was an early user in 1983 with FDISK and its first PC
> support of HDDs
> * UNIX, Apple OS's and IBM mainframe all seem to come later.
> Partitioning as a "slice" probably predates IBM PC DOS v2
> Would appreciate some recollections about DEC usage, other minicomputers and
> the BUNCH.
> You can either post directly to Wikipedia or let me know; links to
> references would greatly be appreciated
> Tom

RSX has partitions; the term goes back at least as far as RSX-11/D.  It may well go back to older versions such as RSX-15, but I haven't looked.

OS/360 came in three flavors, PCP, MFT, and MVT.  The OS/360 article describes MFT as having partitions selected at sysgen time (the acronym stands for "multiprogramming with a fixed number of tasks, with the concurrent tasks assigned across the available partitions).

Both of these are memory partitions.   The only OS I can think of predating the ones you mentioned is RT-11, the later versions (V2 did not have them).  When did Unix first get partitions?


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