Here is a list of internet sites of interest to Multicians.
alt.os.multics is a public USENET newsgroup for discussion of the Multics operating system. Discussion sometimes strays onto topics of interest to Multicians, e.g.
- Honeywell hardware architecture
- CTSS, DTSS and other ancestors
- Honeywell management mistakes and if-onlys
- PRIMOS, GCOS Timesharing, Unix, and other cousins and descendants
For discussions of the history of other operating systems, try alt.folklore.computers or the groups dedicated to these systems.
alt.os.multics is a public unmoderated newsgroup with an estimated readership of thousands. If you have a comment of limited interest, please use e-mail instead.
To view alt.os.multics via the WWW, you can use Google's Groups service, which indexes USENET postings since the early 90s. On the Google main page, click Groups, then enter alt.os.multics and return. You may wish to sort by date.
The feb_wwide mailing list is for present and former employees of Bull, GE, Honeywell, and related companies. It focuses on computer history and preserving the story of past accomplishments. Most of the postings are in French.
Yahoo group "Multicians"
The closed Yahoo group multicians has been set up for Multicians to contact each other. It currently has 153 members. To join it, view
and click "Join this Group." You will need a (free) Yahoo ID. Once approved by the moderator, you can post messages, and can choose to see messages sent to the group as individual emails or a daily digest, or only on the web. You can also use other features of the group, including file and picture storage, chat, databases, and polls. Messages sent to the group are not indexed by search engines, and user mail addresses are not harvestable by spammers. Signing up to the mailing list does reveal your address to other members of the group (unlike registering on the Multicians website).
LinkedIn group "Multicians"
The LinkedIn group multicians has been set up for Multicians who use the LinkedIn social networking site. It currently has 270 members. To join the group, send mail to the editor. Group members have a little "multicians" badge on their profile and may contact other members and participate in discussions.
Facebook fan page for Multics
There is a public fan page for Multics on Facebook. It currently has 277 fans. Any Facebook user may become a "fan" of Multics. Doing so puts you on the list.
Additional Information About Multics
- Honeywell 6180 (DPS-8) Machine Simulator Projects updated
Harry Reed began an open source project to build a software simulator for the Multics CPU.
Matt Williams began an open source project to emulate the Honeywell 6180. (04/24/08)
For information on these projects, use the "Discussion" or "Wiki" tabs on the SourceForge pages linked above.
- Multics Source Code
- Bull HN has provided the source code for the final Multics release, MR 12.5 of November 1992 to MIT. It is available "for any purpose and without fee" provided that the copyright notice and historical background are preserved in all copies. (11/09/07)
- Multics Archive
- maintained by Paul Green at Stratus Computer in Marlboro, Massachusetts, including his Multics Virtual Memory paper, a mirror of the Multicians site, and examples of Multics PL/I programs. (11/06/95)
- Multics Manual Collection
- Al Kossow has posted scans of the Multics CPU manual, AL39, the Multics Commands manual, AG92, and many other Honeywell Multics manuals. (03/19/03) Bitsavers.org also contains binary images of the boot and diagnostic tapes included with the DOCKMASTER system when it was provided to the Computer History Museum. (12/25/07) Bob Mabee has produced a smaller searchable PDF of AL39 from the compin source.
- CIO Blast from the Past: 40 years of Multics, 1969-2009
- An article from CIO Magazine by Rodney Gedda, an interview with Professor Corbató on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of starting Multics service at MIT. Nice picture of Corby. (11/11/09)
- The Last Multics Machine
- A nice article from "On This Day" In Engineering History by "Moose", describing the history of Multics. (10/31/07)
- "The Multics Operating System" in Bruce Schneier's blog
- A brief article mentioning Multics and pointing to the Karger/Schell 2002 paper. A wide range of comments. (09/21/07)
- "Multics" in Wikipedia
- A pretty accurate article, mostly written by Noel Chiappa of MIT. (09/01/05)
- Multicians.org and the History of Operating Systems
- A review of this website, and of Multics, by Colby College professor Thomas Haigh for Iterations, a publication of the Charles Babbage Institute. (09/13/02)
- The Multics-Installation at the Center for Data-Processing of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University of Mainz
- Bernd Ulmann has a bunch of pictures of the Mainz machine and a nice story of how he and his friend Ingo got involved with the DPS-8. (11/14/02, 6K, 16 pictures)
- A fond goodbye to Multics
- Dan Bricklin's web log article for 10/31/00.
- System R and MRDS
- Paul McJones's summary of MRDS on his System R web site.
- Orange Book
- The Department of Defense Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria, DOD 5200.28-STD, December 1985. Describes levels of security for computer systems. Multics was the first system to get a B2 rating.
- UC Davis History of Computer Security Project
- Seminal papers in the field of computer security in PDF format, including several about Multics.
- History of Bull
- An interesting and detailed chronology and history of Machines Bull and its descendants, created by former Bull employees and brought to our attention by the late Jean Bellec.
- Multics information page
- maintained by Stan Zanarotti at MIT. Mostly a copy of these pages as of 1995. (02/28/95)
- Multics page at the Open Directory
edited by Birmingham Multician Conrad Longmore.
- Interview of Peter Neumann by Marcus Ranum
- Peter is one of the principal investigators for the DARPA CRASH project, a clean-slate rethinking of operating systems and hardware.
- Publications of Jerome H. Saltzer
- A comprehensive bibliography of Jerry Saltzer's writings, many of them about Multics or in the Multics spirit. (03/21/11)
- The late Dennis Ritchie's home page
- One of our distinguished alumni. His home page includes classic papers on the beginnings of Unix, and manuals for QED and BCPL.
- My Adventures with Dwarfs: A Personal History in Mainframe Computers
- A book of memoirs by GE and Honeywell old timer Russ McGee, manager in Phoenix and creator of the VMM virtual machine monitor. Many interesting insights into the politics at LISD. (06/01/07, 1.9M PDF)
- My Career in Computer Architecture
A very fine autobiographical essay by MIT Prof. Jack B. Dennis, who proposed some of the fundamental ideas that led to Multics.
I am proud of the role I played in the activities that led to the construction of Multics.(2003)
MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (CSAIL)
- Architects of the Information Society
- Chapter One of the book Architects of the Information Society: Thirty-Five Years of the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT (1999; MIT Press) by Simson Garfinkel, edited by Hal Abelson, chronicles the history and achievements of LCS.
- Project MAC and LCS publications
- These publications are now provided on a server run by the MIT Libraries. See the Multics Bibliography for pointers.
- 1975 LCS Brochure.
- Scanned and put online by MIT Prof. Peter Szolovits.
- Internet services moving us back toward Multics utility computing of old
- Bob Metcalfe's "From the Ether" InfoWorld column. "... the Internet is heading away from stand-alone personal computing, a tangent since Multics, and back toward utility computing. I'm all for it, but not because I enjoyed waiting 5 seconds for Multics to respond." (10/18/99)
Other Operating Systems
Contemporary with Multics, influences on Multics, or influenced by Multics
- The PLATO System
- The PLATO system at University of Illinois demonstrated time-sharing in 1961. Brian Dear has a blog about PLATO history and has written a book on it.
- Stories About the B5000 and People Who Were There
- The Burroughs 5000 had segmentation, high level language, multiprocessor organization, and many other innovations in the early 60s. Richard Waychoff wrote a fascinating memoir of the system and the people who built it.
- CTSS updated
- MIT's Compatible Time-Sharing System on the 7094 was the immediate ancestor of Multics. The IEEE Computer Society History Committee prepared a document in June 2011 in honor of the 50th anniversary of CTSS: Compatible Time Sharing System (1961-1973) Fiftieth Anniversary Commemorative Overview (48 pages, 3MB PDF), edited by Dave Walden and Tom Van Vleck. It contains an extensive bibliography and interviews with Corby, Marge Daggett, Bob Daley, Peter Denning, David Alan Grier, Dick Mills, Roger Roach, Allan Scherr, and Tom Van Vleck.
- CTSS on a Simulated 7094
- Dave Pitts has a version of CTSS running on a 7094 simulator created by Paul Pierce. You can log in, execute commands, and compile and execute MAD and FAP programs. (07/08/10)
- Five part blog posting about CTSS history and the creation of MAIL
- Errol Morris (Noel's brother) in his New York Times blog, June 2011. (06/20/11)
- Errol Morris interview on NPR about CTSS MAIL
- Interviewed on WBUR, Boston. (06/20/11)
- The Dartmouth Time-Sharing System, begun in 1963, also ran on GE computers. There is a new project to re-create an emulated DTSS Version 1.
- CP/CMS ran on the IBM 360/67 and was also developed in Tech Square. See also Melinda Varian's VM and the VM Community, an outstanding memoir about the history of CP/CMS, the people who built it, the machine it ran on, and its descendants.
- Michigan Terminal System Archive
- The Michigan Terminal System was developed on the late 60s for the IBM 360/67 and used until 1999. This archive site contains documents, images, discussions, and an extensive bibliography. (11/01/10) Josh Simon's site about MTS has additional information.
- HITAC 5020
- The Hitachi HITAC 5020 system was strongly influenced by Multics. Its descendant, Omicron, has a home page which includes early (1969 and 1971) papers on the 5020 system.
- TENEX and TOPS-20
- Originally developed at BBN. Ran on the PDP-10.
- PDP Planet
- Rich Alderson has restored one of Paul Allen's PDP-10s to working order and put it on the Internet running TOPS-10. This is one of several PDP-10s at the Living Computer Museum, which has a fine collection of running vintage computers.
- TENEX and TOPS-20
- Gordon Bell's DEC history.
- Prime's operating system shows a strong Multics influence.
- The operating system produced by the S-1 project at Livermore between 1979 and 1986.
Many computing history pages seem to be disappearing from the Web.
- Computing at Columbia Timeline
- A chronological history of computing at Columbia University in New York by Frank da Cruz. Columbia was Herman Hollerith's alma mater, and the original site of the IBM T. J. Watson laboratory. Many good pictures of bygone computers, including the SSEC, the NORC, and many more. (05/23/03)
- GE-625 / 635 Programming Reference Manual
- Ed Thelen's site has an online version of the hardware manual for the ancestor of the 645. (11/04/02)
- Interview with Monte Davidoff
- An interview by The Register about Monte's work with Bill Gates at Microsoft before he joined the Multics team.
- Bob Bemer's Site
- The late Bob Bemer, "father of ASCII" and prolific inventor, put up a wonderful site with many stories of the old days, with a few mentions of Multics.
- The Computer History Museum
- The History Center in Silicon Valley contains a collection of old computers. They have the hardware from DOCKMASTER.
- The Virtual Museum of Computing
- Maintained by Jonathan Bowen at the University of Reading.
- Charles Babbage Institute
- Great source for computer history information. They have a collection of oral interviews with computer pioneers, including Corby, Licklider, and others who made Multics possible, and pointers to other historical information.
- An interview with Norman Hardy
- An interview with a timesharing pioneer. He visited Project MAC in the 60s and mentions the influence of Multics on other systems. via Wayback Machine.
- History of the Rome Air Development Center, an early Multics site. 1971 timeline entry describes Multics evaluation. via Wayback Machine.
- Computing's Johnny Appleseed
- "Almost forgotten today, J.C.R. Licklider mentored the generation that created computing as we know it." An article by Mitchell Waldrop from the January 2000 Technology Review. (As of June 2002, Technology Review requires you to pay or be an MIT affiliate to view their archive.)
- Larry Roberts
- Dr. Lawrence Roberts is one of the fathers of the Internet. This site has fundamental historical papers and a valuable chronology of the Internet.
- This mailing list is for present and former employees of Bull, GE, Honeywell, and related companies. It focuses on computer history and preserving the story of past accomplishments.
- Retro Roundup
- Kevin Savetz maintains a site that aggregates RSS feeds about classic computing and retro video games. (02/20/05)
- Computer: Bit Slices of a Life
- Herb Grosch, another computer pioneer, describes his career. Some info on the origins of GE's computer department, no mention of Multics. Full 500-page book, hosted at Columbia. (02/20/05) (Herb was the guy who wrote a Datamation article saying Multics was too compilicated to be done.)
- Jef Raskin: Holes in the Histories
- The late father of the Macintosh wrote an insightful and cautionary piece about computer history. Don't believe everything you read. (03/02/05) Via Wyaback Machine.
- Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing
- A 1972 ARPA film describing computer networking, featuring many pioneers and glimpses of old machines. The first person talking in the film is Corby. Then Lick. About 26 minutes long. (03/19/06)