A 48-YEAR-OLD operating system that predates most facets of the online world we're now living in has been reawakened after 17 years.
Multics, or to be precise, MULTICS (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service), was designed in the sixties, rolling out in 1965 as a timesharing service for computer resources in the days when several sites would have to share one ‘super' (for the time) computer.
It was cancelled in 1985 but maintained until its final build in 2000 when it was quietly left to history with the final accounts shut down on 31 October of that year, though it has been available through a simulator and retains a strong community of those who worked on it.
It even represented the high-level beginnings of many seminal versions of BASIC.
But now, Raspberry Pi users can have a go at an updated emulator (note the subtle difference) for Multics is available using a simulated Honeywell DPS8M operating system.
Multics user Vince Scarafino demonstrated Multics running on a Raspberry Pi 2.
He explains, that it's ‘about half of MIP speed' - which, being on the edge of our nerd-zone we assume to mean the current running speed for enthusiasts.
"It's probably close to the first Multics processors we got at Ford. When the simulator is able to support multi-threaded virtual processors, I should be able to configure a four processor Multics system and get increased throughput, since the A7 is quad-core."
It's worth noting that the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 aren't directly compatible so it won't be a simple case simply swapping out the SD card that houses the operating system, but it can be done.
What's perhaps more interesting, nay charming, about all this is that it serves no real point. It just is. A bunch of guys who worked with heart and soul on something are still mad keen on keeping it going.
It's been updated for Y2K (yes, Multics was one of the few operating systems vulnerable to the millennium bug) and a few other things to make it relevant, if that's the word, to a 21st-century audience, and hey presto - Multics lives. Again. µ
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