Multics 44 papers
10 Dec 2013

Papers Online

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For a complete list of documents about Multics, see the Multics Bibliography.
Also see the MSPM sections available online in the Development Documents section.
For more information on an author, see the list of Multicians.
For explanations of Multics terms, see the Multics Glossary.

Chronological list of technical papers available online

Multics was described initially in a set of six papers presented at the 1965 Fall Joint Computer Conference. It's worth noting that these papers described what we thought we were going to do, and not what we ended up doing. Paper number 4, especially, describes several ideas which were revised in the light of experience. (Also see the story of how the papers were written and presented.)

  1. Corbató, F. J., and V. A. Vyssotsky, "Introduction and overview of the Multics system", (60K)

  2. Glaser, E. L., J. F. Couleur, and G. A. Oliver, "System design of a computer for time-sharing applications", (31K)

  3. Vyssotsky, V. A., F. J. Corbató, and R. M. Graham, "Structure of the Multics Supervisor", (50K)

  4. Daley, R. C., and P. G. Neumann, "A general-purpose file system for secondary storage", (74K, 3 figures)

  5. Ossanna, J. F., L. Mikus, and S. D. Dunten, "Communications and input-output switching in a multiplexed computing system", (46K, 3 figures)

  6. David, E. E., Jr. and R. M. Fano, "Some thoughts about the social implications of accessible computing", (24K)

Many other papers followed. Here are the ones available online.
  1. Ted Glaser presented "A brief description of privacy measures in the Multics operating system" at the 1967 Spring Joint Computer Conference. (9K)

  2. Bob Graham published "Protection in an information processing utility" in Communications of the ACM, Volume 11, pp. 306-312, May 1968. (434K PDF, 4 figures)

  3. Bob Daley and Jack Dennis published "Virtual memory, processes, and sharing in Multics" in Communications of the ACM, Volume 11, pp. 306-312, May 1968. (39K, 13 figures)

  4. Corby and Jerry Saltzer presented "Some Considerations of Supervisor Program Design for Multiplexed Computer Systems" as an invited paper at the IFIP Congress 1968, proceedings published by North-Holland, 1968, pp. 66-71. Also distributed as Project MAC Memorandum MAC-M-372, May 1968. Review #16243 in Computing Reviews 10, 2 (February 1969). (71K PDF)

  5. Corby contributed "A Paging Experiment with the Multics System" to a 1969 festschrift, In Honor of Philip M. Morse, edited by Herman Feshbach and K. Uno Ingard, published by the M. I. T. Press in 1969. Available from MIT Press print-on-demand. (1930K PDF)

  6. André Bensoussan, Charlie Clingen, and Bob Daley presented the paper "The Multics virtual memory: concepts and design" at the Second ACM Symposium on Operating systems Principles in Princeton NJ, in October 1969; the paper was subsequently reprinted in the Communications of the ACM in 1972. (66K, 6 figures)

  7. Peter Neumann presented "The Role of Motherhood in the Pop Art of System Programing" at the Second ACM Symposium on Operating systems Principles in Princeton NJ, in October 1969. (29K)

  8. Corby wrote "PL/I As a Tool for System Programming" for Datamation's May 6, 1969 issue. This document was scanned and put online by Peter Flass.

  9. Bob Freiburghouse presented "The Multics PL/1 Compiler" at the 1969 Fall Joint Computer Conference. This paper describes the version 1 PL/I compiler in detail. (58K, 8 figures)

  10. Jerry Saltzer and John Gintell presented "The Instrumentation of Multics" at the Second ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles, Princeton, New Jersey, October 1969. This version was revised and published in Communications of the ACM, Volume 13, Number 8, August, 1970. It was also published in Peter Freeman, Software Systems Principles, 1975, Science Research Associates, Inc., 1975, pp. 524-536. This paper was scanned and converted by John Gintell. (38K)

  11. Jerry Saltzer and Joe Ossanna presented "Remote Terminal Character Stream Processing in Multics" at the AFIPS 1970 Spring Joint Computer Conference, AFIPS Press, 1970, pages 621-627. Also distributed as Multics document M0121, 10 March 1970. Review #19796 in Computing Reviews 11, 9 (September 1970). (93K PDF)

  12. Joe Ossanna and Jerry Saltzer presented "Technical and Human Engineering Problems in Connecting Terminals to a Time-Sharing System" at the AFIPS 1970 Fall Joint Computer Conference, AFIPS Press, 1970, pages 355-362. Review #24885 inComputing Reviews 14, 4 (April 1973). (829K PDF)

  13. Jerry Saltzer presented "Some Observations about Decentralization of File Systems" at IEEE Compcon 1971, AFIPS Press, September 1971, pages 163-164. Prepared in May 1971 and distributed locally as Multics document M0128. (40K PDF)

  14. Mike Schroeder and Jerry Saltzer presented "A hardware architecture for implementing protection rings" at the Third ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles in Palo Alto, CA, in October 1971. This paper was provided by Mike Schroeder and OCR'd by the editor. (75K, 9 figures)

  15. Rich Feiertag and Elliott Organick presented "The Multics Input/Output System" at the Third ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles in Palo Alto, CA, in October 1971. (45K, 3 figures)

  16. Corby, Charlie Clingen, and Jerry Saltzer presented our experience as of 1972 in "Multics -- the first seven years," at the 1972 Spring Joint Computer Conference. (77K, 3 figures)

  17. Jerry Grochow wrote a short note about "Moo in Multics" for Software--Practice and Experience, published in 1972. PL/I source for moo is available online. (180K PDF)

  18. Jerry Saltzer wrote "A simple linear model of demand paging performance," as repository document M0131 in November 1972. It was later printed in Communications of the ACM 17, 4, April, 1974. (338K PDF, 6 figures)

  19. Jerry Saltzer published "Protection and the Control of Information Sharing in Multics" in Communications of the ACM 17, 4, April, 1974. (1703K PDF, 2 figures)

  20. Jerry Saltzer and Mike Schroeder wrote a clear and widely studied IEEE Tutorial on computer security titled "The protection of information in computer systems" in 1974. This paper has been scanned and put online by Norman Hardy.

  21. Jerry Saltzer published "Ongoing Research and Development in Information Protection" in ACM Operating Systems Review 8,3 (July 1974) pages 8-24. Reprinted in Computer Security and Privacy Symposium, Honeywell Information Systems, August 1975, pages 53-62. (1540K PDF)

  22. Paul Karger and Roger Schell wrote a technical report titled "Multics Security: Vulnerability Analysis" in 1974 for the US Air Force. This paper was re-presented at the 18th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2002) on December 9-13, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada

  23. Bob Mullen wrote a paper describing merge_ascii titled "Automated merging of software modifications", for the Honeywell Software Productivity Symposium in April 1977. (30K, 2 figures)

  24. Corby and Charlie Clingen wrote a classic paper describing the experience of building Multics from a manager's point of view. The observations in this paper are still useful and incisive. "A Managerial View of the Multics System Development" was presented at the Conference on Research Directions in Software Technology, Providence, Rhode Island, October 10-12, 1977. (59K)

  25. Bernie Greenberg explained "The Multics MACLISP Compiler: The Basic Hackery -- a Tutorial". This 1977 paper, for LISP experts only, describes the elegant and powerful methods used by the Multics MacLisp compiler. (142K)

  26. Charlie Clingen and Tom Van Vleck described "The Multics system programming process" in an invited paper for COMPCON 78. This paper describes how system changes were managed and controlled, and what we did to make the system high quality. (23K, 1 figure)

  27. Bernie Greenberg's "Mother of all Multics Emacs Papers," "Multics Emacs: The History, Design and Implementation", written in 1979, describes the genesis of the Multics Emacs editor. (155K)

  28. Tom Oke's HLSUA Forum XXXI presentation "Multics Through the Looking Glass", written in 1980, describes the University of Calgary's experience tuning Multics. (66K)

  29. Noah Davids gave a paper about forum at the Second Annual Phoenix Conference on Computers and Communications titled "Experiences with an Interactive Electronic Meeting Facility", in March 1983. (27K)

  30. Corby received the ACM A. M. Turing Award in 1990, and his Turing Lecture is at "On Building Systems That Will Fail".

  31. Paul Green wrote a detailed description of the "Multics Virtual Memory" in 1995 and made it available online.

  32. Paul Karger and Roger Schell presented "Thirty Years Later: Lessons from the Multics Security Evaluation" at the 18th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2002) on December 9-13, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Computer Security Paper Archive Project at UC Davis has assembled an online archive of seminal papers in the field of computer security, and is putting these papers on a series of CD-ROMs that they plan to make available to students. The project web page provides the papers in PDF form and describes the project status. The first CD-ROM produced by the product contained 16 classic papers, of which 6 are about Multics:

  1. David E. Bell and Leonard La Padula, "Secure Computer System: Unified Exposition and Multics Interpretation," ESD-TR-75-306, ESD/AFSC, Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA 01731 (1975) [DTIC AD-A023588]

  2. Richard Bisbey II and Dennis Hollingworth, "Protection Analysis: Final Report," ISI/SR-78-13, USC/Information Sciences Institute, Marina Del Rey, CA 90291 Marina Del Rey, CA 90291 (May 1978)

  3. Department of Defense, Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (Orange Book), DoD 5200.28-STD (1983, 1985)

  4. Paul A. Karger and Roger R. Schell, "MULTICS Security Evaluation: Vulnerability Analysis," ESD-TR-74-193 Vol. II, ESD/AFSC, Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA 01731 (June 1974).(presented at ACSAC 2002 as mentioned above)

  5. Roger R. Schell, Peter J. Downey, and Gerald J. Popek, "Preliminary Notes on the Design of Secure Military Computer Systems," MCI-73-1, ESD/AFSC, Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA 01731 (Jan. 1973)

  6. J. Whitmore, A. Bensoussan, P. Green, D. Hunt, A. Kobziar, and J. Stern, "Design for MULTICS Security Enhancements," ESD-TR-74-176, ESD/AFSC, Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA 01731 (Dec. 1973).

The MIT Library 2000 project scanned many Project MAC TRs and TMs, and had the images available online. See the Bibliography for pointers to these documents.

The ACM Digital Library contains many Multics-related papers, including Corby's Turing Award lecture. Subscription is required.

I have secured permission to post the papers hosted here from at least one author of each document, and I have made a best-faith effort to secure permission from copyright holders.

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