Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
What mother never told you about VM service (1983) [pdf] (leeandmelindavarian.com)
40 points by fanf2 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

From the Introduction in the tutorial: "What mother never told you about VM service":

"I will be using VM/SP Release 1 in my examples"

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VM_(operating_system):

"VM (often: VM/CMS) is a family of IBM virtual machine operating systems used on IBM mainframes System/370, System/390, zSeries, System z and compatible systems, including the Hercules emulator for personal computers.

The first version, released in 1972, was VM/370, or officially Virtual Machine Facility/370. This was a System/370 reimplementation of earlier CP/CMS operating system. Milestone versions included VM/SP."

From the right side column in the Wikipedia article: "VM/SP (1980)"

I also went down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out what "VM" was referring to. I really like Melinda Varian's paper "VM and the VM Community: Past, Present, and Future"[1]. The history of time sharing systems laid out there is really interesting.

From that paper:

Creasy and Comeau spent the last week of 1964 joyfully brainstorming the design of CP-40, a new kind of operating system, a system that would provide not only virtual memory, but also virtual machines. [Footnote 25]

[Footnote 25] - Creasy had decided to build CP-40 while riding on the MTA. "I launched the effort between Xmas 1964 and year’s end, after making the decision while on an MTA bus from Arlington to Cambridge. It was a Tuesday, I believe."

I love seeing an anecdote like that about such an influential technology!

[1] http://www.leeandmelindavarian.com/Melinda/25paper.pdf

"I launched the effort between Xmas 1964 and year’s end, after making the decision while on an MTA bus from Arlington to Cambridge."

Creasy couldn't have made the decision riding an MTA bus in December, 1964! The MTA had been succeeded by the MBTA in August, 1964. (Too pedantic?)

Aren't some NYC subway lines still referred to by the names of defunct companies?

Yes, and in Boston people often continue to use the old name of a renamed street, or since demolished landmark, for decades.

Still it was an amusing pedantic comment.

An insightful analysis of the problems that opaque systems can cause for users, customers - and vendors themselves - from the section "The Perils of SHUTDOWN":

"One of the other perils of SHUTDOWN is simply that it is so buggy. In fact, the whole SHUTDOWN/WARM START/CKPT START subsystem is just full of bugs, especially in I/O error recovery. The VM community is subjected to altogether too many cold starts as a result. The bugs stay there because IBM provides us with no means of diagnosing problems in this subsystem. When there is a failure in shutting down or starting up, CP is too sick to take a dump of itself. IBM doesn’t provide its VM customers with a standalone dump facility, so it gets very few dumps of shutdown and startup failures. If you begin seeing failures of this subsystem, I urge you to get hold of a standalone dump program from one of the other SCPs and take dumps and report the problems to IBM."

VM is one of those seminal operating systems like MULTICS and ITS. There is a great video on some of the folly going on at IBM during its last really hurrah as an end user environment: https://archive.org/details/AStrategicPointOfViewForVm

It's worth considering that this was one of the most common ways people would do large scale computing well into the era of UNIX and PCs.

I just spent an hour and a half watching this talk and it was surprisingly interesting! As a portal to a different world, as a bit of early '90s kitsch, as an advanced echo of the coming of the cloud, and as a vision of a future that never was.

  VM Virtual Memory
  VM Voice Mail
  VM Voice Message

And of course Virtual Machine.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact