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Michigan Terminal System Archive (michigan-terminal-system.org)
24 points by emersonrsantos on April 18, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

I spent 3/4 of my Undergraduate life on MTS, and Forum was basic the social hub of a large chunk of nerdy students (myself included). The fact that that MTS VT100 and IBM terminals were all over the place (Literally Terminals - great, big 20 pound CRT monstrosities that had been in place for 10+ years) - meant you could login for just a few minutes anywhere on campus - kind of a precursor to todays mobility (as long as you were on campus).

Being able to print your big 500 page print job on the Central Laser Printer, and having it wait for you in your output box (I was XGEC), was also pretty awesome - and it provided 24x7 jobs for the people working in the Computing Center.

It's kind of a shame that I never really used/learned the system the same way I did with Unix - I really treated it like a large BBS environment, that I could also do some programming homework on.

But, time moved on, and by 1992/1993, MTS was starting to show it's age, and our researchers and faculty were becoming increasingly annoyed at the "IT Managers" who literally refused to take direction - as though the system was run for their* benefit, instead of the campus benefit.

So, in a day remembered as Bloody Tuesday at SFU - the entire Sr. Management team was publicly terminated, and the remaining employees were told they had exactly one year to replace all of the MTS (and IBM 3090 (3081?) system with Unix systems and NFS file storage.

One year later, we entered the brave world of Unix - which, while I have fond memories of MTS, was a far, far better system to prepare undergraduates for the world that awaited them.

I used the MTS system at the University of Alberta as an Engineering undergraduate in the 1980s. At the beginning of the year, you were budgeted a certain number of CPU seconds which you couldn't exceed. We were VERY careful about not accidentally coding infinite loops. There was a room full of VT100 terminals that we used, but if you needed hard copy, you had to trudge across campus to the building where the burst printer lived.

Pretty legendary system at the University of Michigan. The old timers still talk about all the time.

Hmm, as I recall, about half of my programming classes required me to write programs to run on MTS. 'Course, we studied IBM mainframe assembly language in one class...

In my time there, I knew sysadmins who retrocomputed MTS in VMs for fun.

MTS is historically very important. The original version, for the IBM 360/67, was the first OS to support virtual machines. The 360/67 was the first machine with protection hardware to support a hypervisor. All IBM S/370s and later got that hardware because MTS proved its usefulness.

IBM got hypervisors right. You could run another copy of the OS under itself. The virtual machine looks just like the real machine to a program. And yes, it nests; VM under VM under VM... is possible.

I have fond memories of MTS. While it was clunky in many ways, it was generally adequate and occasionally turned out to have features more advanced than contemporaries. For example, the ability to limit access to a file by "program key" (PKEY) as well as by user/project was a far superior alternative to setuid. (I learned about this in 1985 or so; not sure when the feature appeared.)

Ah, the good old days. Perusing the previous user's history on an Ontel terminal, chatting through MERIT concentrators, and good old MTS. I don't miss the punch cards of my first year, though.

You can run MTS yourself today using Hercules under Windows, Mac OS X, or Unix. See: http://archive.michigan-terminal-system.org/

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