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40 years of Multics, 1969-2009

Nov 12, 2009, 15:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rodney Gedda)


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"October 2009 marked an important milestone in the history of computing. It was exactly 40 years since the first Multics computer system was used for information management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) is regarded as the foundation of modern time-sharing systems. Multics was the catalyst for the development of Unix and has been used as a model of operating system design since its release four decades ago.

"Professor Fernando J Corbato was the leader of the Multics project at MIT and also led the team that developed Compatible Timesharing System (CTSS) in 1961, one of the first timesharing systems and the research precursor to Multics.

"Corbato -- or "Corby" as he is known by his Multics peers -- went on to receive a coveted Turing Award in 1990 for his work on time-sharing computer systems and coined "Corbato's Law" which states the number of lines of code a programmer can write in a fixed period of time is the same regardless of the programming language. Multics was used in production for more than 30 years, but its most enduring legacy is the idea of time-sharing, now a universal concept in computing."

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