Basically a bunch of beefy nodes with 96 CPUs and 8 Nvidia A100 cards each configured in a SLURM cluster. Users get SSH access and can run tmux, jupyter, or whatever else is needed for their workflow.
There's a work in progress at: https://gridwhale.com. (Warning: Still primitive and lots of bugs).
My manifesto is here: https://medium.com/@gridwhale/rise-of-the-hyperplatforms-d4a...
That's an interesting perspective. Was the shell intended to be a glorified word processor, with tools like sort, uniq, wc? In a documentary from the early 1980s, Kernighan also demonstrates this as a "killer" feature of Unix:
"Printing was THE original purpose, the reason for existence, of unix, you would think it would be a solved problem instead of the terrible mismatch of sins that it is."
it just works :p
Outside academia, most people will rather use pandoc, asciiDoc or some Markdown dialect instead.
In many cases, if those output options include typeset documents, the toolchain that gets there uses LaTeX, though the most common output format is usually HTML.
> To the Labs computing community as a whole, the problem was the increasing obviousness of the failure of Multics to deliver promptly any sort of usable system, let alone the panacea envisioned earlier.
What was Multics? One core animating idea of Multics was the "Computer Utility" concept, or centralized mainframe-based computing as a utility as reliable and available as water and power:
> One of the overall design goals is to create a computing system which is capable of meeting almost all of the present and near-future requirements of a large computer utility. Such systems must run continuously and reliably 7 days a week, 24 hours a day in a way similar to telephone or power systems, and must be capable of meeting wide service demands: from multiple man-machine interaction to the sequential processing of absentee-user jobs; from the use of the system with dedicated languages and subsystems to the programming of the system itself; and from centralized bulk card, tape, and printer facilities to remotely located terminals. Such information processing and communication systems are believed to be essential for the future growth of computer use in business, in industry, in government and in scientific laboratories as well as stimulating applications which would be otherwise undone.
-- "Introduction and Overview of the Multics System", F. J. Corbató (MIT) and V. A. Vyssotsky (Bell Labs)
This was an ambitious project and it took some time to achieve. Work on Multics started in 1965 and Multics was first used for paying customers in October of 1969, six months after Bell Labs dropped out and work on Unix began.
So did Multics deliver "promptly"? Probably not, but four years for an ambitious project isn't so bad, and it took Unix six years (until 1975) to get to Sixth Edition, the first version of Research Unix used much outside of Bell Labs.
My point is that Multics is given short shrift by this history, which is understandable because it's about a completely different OS, but it's painted as a failure that was stalled in development for an inordinate amount of time. It wasn't a failure, as it was used commercially until 2000, and whether it was inordinately slow in coming is impossible to fairly judge because it was, in most respects, the first of its kind, in that it was the first "complete" OS with what we'd now consider the full complement of functionality.
I've never heard PR1MEOS referred to that way, but it makes a lot of sense. It was a lot easier to wrap one's brain around than the competition.
Wikipedia also notes that Unix ran on less expensive hardware than Multics. That mattered - there were many more systems that Unix could be put on.
It was a mainframe operating system that only ran on high-end hardware. What do you expect?
> Wikipedia also notes that Unix ran on less expensive hardware than Multics.
Yes. It was also less capable. Both of those things were design goals of Unix and not of Multics.
I expect that by 1975, say, the number of high-end hardware installations was a lot more than 80. Multics, even when completed, didn't make much of a dent in the world. The ideas were influential, used in a number of later OSes, but Multics itself didn't go very far.
> Yes. It was also less capable. Both of those things were design goals of Unix and not of Multics.
Yes. Multics had the wrong design goals. Arguably, it hit them, but that didn't matter, because they were the wrong goals (though not obviously wrong at the time). That's why Multics is given short shrift - it successfully implemented what turned out in retrospect to be the wrong thing.
Why were they the wrong goals? There were something like 600,000 PDP-11s sold. Sure, Unix didn't go on all of those, and Multics could have run on more than the 80 machines that it did. Still, that's an insanely large number of installations that they... not exactly ignored, because even the first PDP-11 hadn't shipped when the Multics project began, but at least a huge number of machines that they were unable to serve. And of course, as always happens in this business, the lower-end machines became more and more powerful. The result of that (plus easier portability) was that Unix ate the world, and Multics became a footnote.
Are you sure? Wikipedia notes that for the Cray-1, released in 1975, eventually "eighty Cray-1s were sold, making it one of the most successful supercomputers in history."
Yes, yes, there's a difference between high-end mainframes and supercomputers, but there's also a difference between mainframes and the PDP-11, which is better categorized as a minicomputer.
Personally, I find the dismissal of Multics to be less about reality and more about the perpetuation of pre-existing lore. The Xerox Star and Smalltalk also did not fare well in terms of commercial sales, but they tend to be lionized in computer history rather than treated as a joke.
Yes, part of the problem was that, for all of its goals of portability, Multics only ever ran on two kinds of computer, and depended on their hardware features quite intimately. Compared to Unix, it was not effectively portable.
> Yes. Multics had the wrong design goals. Arguably, it hit them, but that didn't matter, because they were the wrong goals (though not obviously wrong at the time). That's why Multics is given short shrift - it successfully implemented what turned out in retrospect to be the wrong thing.
> And of course, as always happens in this business, the lower-end machines became more and more powerful. The result of that (plus easier portability) was that Unix ate the world, and Multics became a footnote.
Yes: The computing utility concept came to pass on a smaller scale than the Multics people anticipated, and so could get by with smaller, cheaper, and less reliable hardware and software, which eventually grew up to be more Multics-level in capacity and reliability without becoming as expensive.
My point with my original post was to push back on the notion that Multics was a complete failure, that it stagnated and died after Bell Labs left the project. It didn't, it produced an OS that found a tiny commercial niche, and it executed on its vision to the extent the world as a whole allowed it to. The fact the world moved in a different direction doesn't take away from the technical accomplishment of the Multics development team.
Until UNIX V5 and the Lions commentary book, it was PDP-7/PDP-11 only.