22 Oct 2014


The Multicians web site presents the story of the Multics operating system for people interested in the system's history, especially Multicians. The site's goals are to

  • preserve the technical ideas and advances of Multics so others don't need to reinvent them.
  • record the history of Multics, its builders, and its users before we all forget.
  • give credit where it's due for important innovations.
  • remember some good times and good people.

The Multicians web site contains 426 HTML files (see the Site Map) comprising over 1,000,000 lines, 24 PDF files, and 404 graphic images. The site has benefited from the contributions of many authors. Contributions are invited: if you have a correction, fact, date, name, anecdote, or picture, please share it with Multicians everywhere by sending mail to the editor.

Open Source for Multics is hosted at MIT, courtesy of Bull HN. It is available "for any purpose and without fee" provided that the copyright notice and historical background are preserved in all copies.
MIT held a 50th anniversary celebration of Project MAC/ LCS/ CSAIL in Cambridge, MA on May 28 & 29, 2014. There was also an associated Multicians' reunion event on May 29. At the reunion, Michael Pandolfo proposed activities leading up to the 50th anniversary of Multics in 2015.
A project to create a software simulator for the Multics CPU, started by Harry Reed, has run several million instructions of a Multics cold boot, and has begun to process a page fault. Volunteers are welcome.
The Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2014 will present a Distinguished Practitioner Keynote Panel titled "Multics: Before, During, After". Olin Sibert will moderate: Roger Schell, Tom Van Vleck, and Steve Lipner will be panelists. The panel will talk about the 50-year influence (or not) of Multics on computer science and on subsequent systems.

Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) was a mainframe timesharing operating system begun in 1965 and used until 2000. Multics began as a research project and was an important influence on operating system development. The system became a commercial product sold by Honeywell to education, government, and industry.

Multics was a prototype of a Computer Utility, providing secure computing to remote users at their terminals. Multicians still miss the elegant, consistent, and powerful programming environment; some Multics features are only now being added to contemporary systems.

Recent Changes
Benchmarks: More info on RAE benchmark from Deryk Barker.
Bibliography: Added two ENWGS papers, thanks to Jon Buser.
NWGS Site History: Added two ENWGS papers.
Project MAC Recollections: Peter Denning's memories of research in the 1960s.
Chronology: Added the date of MR 12.5 at the suggestion of Charles Anthony.
Bibliography: Added two more MAC TMs.

all changes