Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Multics Public Access (ban.ai)
90 points by nix23 72 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 33 comments

Anyone know how to exit the TECO text editor? The `EX` command I found on a manual[1] doesn't seem to be working:

[1] http://www.copters.com/teco.html#RTFToC159

EDIT: Got it :P


  Error:  Attempt to divide by zero at teco$|2051
  system handler for error returns to command level
  r Guest.Guest:>process_dir_dir>!BNLFBlpbBBBBBB  11:44 05/12/21 0.193 5 level 2,13
Guess I have to read more to understand why it's putting me in a math expression evaluation (?) `Z` prompt (which I haven't found mentioned in a manual) rather than the `*` command prompt.

EDIT 2: Seems `eq` is the proper way to exit on this TECO:

  r Guest.Guest:>process_dir_dir>!BNLFBlpbBBBBBB  11:56 05/12/21 0.034 3 level 2,13
I don't see that mentioned in other manuals online. I guess this TECO is different from others?

Aren't they all? ITS TECO has yet some other way to exit.

I think this will be the year of 36-bit on the desktop.

Since Linux missed the Desktop and went strait to Mobile, there is a real chance for Multics now ;)

Connect with:

ssh multics@connect.ban.ai

And enjoy the impressive Steam library :)

wizard optut castle a3 maze craps backgammon banner wumpus bound_strek strek blkjak cookie bound_dungeon dungeon adventure cdungeon

Any info about which HW it is running on ?

Probably with the dps8m emulator:



You can download multics frome here:


I've never gotten to mess around with Multics before. It has a personality, and feels like something I could get work done with once I was used to it.

Yeah it's much more approachable then let's say MVS 3.8j Tur(n)key 4

Not totally fair as you should compared with Tso at least. Or with ispf (major edit our NS still like it more for line editing and hence vi guy now but still ...). Of course you have vm.

Having said that I was surprise after reading the Multics myth and its story against bell unix is that it is all pr. or the winner took it all. And sort of rewrite the history.

I meant it's more approachable mainly because of the hierarchical filesystem, but yes your are right, unfair comparison.

Happen to know a good "getting started" site or book for MVS? I rescued a small S/390 from a metal scrap dealer and, if the Gods of lost software smile on me, would like one day to have it up and running again.


-Moshix YT channel is pretty nice:


-And here some documentation and the MVS distribution:


-AND the fantastic bit-savers...enough reading material for a lifetime



I wish you lots of fun, and thanks for saving some history ;)

To piggyback on your comment, Moshix also runs an HNET relay network with MVS nodes.

Node name list: http://moshix.dynu.net/

Web interface: http://relayserver.dynu.net/

About page: https://relayserver.dynu.net/about

Aaand it's already down.

> ?Connection closed by peer.

Though the no ports available message from telnet is fun:




I’m afraid I can’t do that Dave…

Wow they have an actual X.25 network with a public PAD. I kinda want to try an complete my X.25 stack now.

YES and cross-connected to HECnet:


Ncp ... I am dos, mvs and db2 guy. Ncpgen max. Have to pass.

The future was taken away from what it might have been.

There's this idea that Multics failed. Maybe because of the role it plays in Unix' origin myth. But it had a long and productive life.

Not only that, but influenced the development of operating systems like GCOS (which predated it as GECOS), which is still being used.

The tarpit feature is not appreciated - it showed "Scanning host..." and then the visual challenge (on the level of an AoC task) timed out immediately and started slow-sending me data. Fun to code I'm sure, not so fun to be on the receiving end. Oh, and it also seems to have banned me after that one try.

How are they hosting this? Emulation? Or do the have a mainframe running in someone's garage?

They are using the SimH DPS8M emulator. Here's a good page about how to set it up yourself:


Unfortunately, while I'm aware of at least one preserved Honeywell DPS-8/70M at the Computer History Museum, I'm unaware of any running examples.

The NSA ran a Multics system on a DPS 8/70(M) called "Dockmaster", which now resides at the Computer History Museum, thanks to Eugene Miya:


>The DOCKMASTER IMP was hit by lightning in July 1986 and was down for many weeks.



Somebody broke into Dockmaster in October 1986!


>Pat Coulson, an NSA spokeswoman, confirmed the 1986 security breach of Dockmaster, which she said was discovered six days after the "first known misuse" of a password and compromised information used by an unnamed corporation.

Cliff Stoll wrote about Dockmaster in The Cuckoo's Egg:


>Mr. Big fidgeted a bit, meaning that the meeting was about to break up. Greg asked one more question: "What machines has he attacked?"

>"Ours, of course, and the Army base in Anniston. He's tried to get into White Sands Missile Range, and some Navy shipyard in Maryland. I think it's called Dockmaster."

>"Shit!" Greg and Teejay simultaneously exclaimed. Mr. Big looked at them quizzically. Greg said, "How do you know he hit Dockmaster?"

>"About the same time he screwed up our accounting, this Dockmaster place sent us a message saying that someone had tried to break in there." I didn't know what the big deal was.

>"Did he succeed?"

>"I don't think so. What is this Dockmaster place, anyway? Aren't they some Navy shipyard?"

>They whispered among themselves, and Mr. Big nodded. Greg explained, "Dockmaster isn't a Navy shipyard. It's run by the National Security Agency."

>A hacker breaking into NSA? Bizarre. This guy wanted to get into the CIA, the NSA, Army missile bases, and the North American Air Defense headquarters.

>I knew a little about the NSA. They're the secret electronics spooks that listen in on foreign radio broadcasts. They launch satellites to listen to Soviet telephone calls. I'd heard (and didn't believe) rumors that they record every overseas phone call and telegram.

Here's some discussion about Dockmaster, which was on MILNET IMP 57, and the rumored "explosive bolts" on the ARPA/MILNET gateways:


      DCA must have the ability to partition the ARPANET and MILNET in
      case of an "emergency", and having non-DCA controlled paths between
      the nets prevents that.  There was talk some time ago about putting
      explosive bolts in the mailbridges that would be triggered by
      destruct packets...  That idea didn't get far though...

      [...] Milo '1822' Medin

Were there any graphics terminals for MULTICS ?

I only ever used video terminals — i.e. ASCII terminals that may have interpreted the ANSI position in commands. There was a also SUPDUP server for Multics. The only program I used that did cursor positioning was emacs.

“Graphics terminals”, in the sense of bitmap displays, weren’t common throughout most of Multics’s life. The first one I ever used was the Alto.

Support for ARDS graphics seems common on 60s era MIT operating systems.

Though keep in mind that Multics was more for the business[1] side of things, despite being developed at MIT. ITS was a hacker's OS, it was going to have more cool stuff.


Btw, great fan of your work at https://github.com/PDP-10/its. Keep up the good work in keeping computer history alive!


the domain is very promising (ban ai!) but I can’t figure out why it’s used for this

Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

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