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#5: January 26, 2012: news from the MTS archiving / preservation / resurrection project

posted Jan 26, 2012, 7:04 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Jan 26, 2012, 7:05 PM ]
To: mts-interest@umich.edu
From: Jeff Ogden
Date: January 26, 2012 9:50:24 PM EST
Subject: news from the MTS archiving / preservation / resurrection project

It has been 14 months since the last update to this group and there are a number of MTS related developments to report.


*  The MTS presence on Wikipedia continues to expand. The main MTS article has been pretty stable, but a new article on CONFER was added in May of last year. This makes a total of at least six MTS related articles: MTS; MTS system architecture; CONFER; MAD, MAD/I, and GOM; MICRO, and UBC PLUS.

*  Thanks to contributions from many of you the MTS Archive site has continued to expand:

              *  The MTS Bibliography has many more entries and a better balance of UM and non-UM material.

              *  It looks as if UBC has been making materials available online because the MTS Bibliography includes links to several items that weren't available online a year ago.

              *  The Discussion section now includes fairly complete information about how each of the MTS sites came to run MTS.
MTS Lecture 1 is available in the Documents section as both a PDF and an HTML file. There is also an updated version of the diagram from Lecture 1 that brings things up to about 1987.   We'll need some help from someone knowledgable about the RM to bring the diagram up to 1996 or 2012.

              *  Thanks to Jim Simmons, all 12 issues of the WSU Computer Comics are available as PDFs in the Documents section.

              *  There are many more photos and a couple of videos in the Images section.

              *  More contributions are always welcome.

*  PDF versions of the MTS Volumes and other documentation were made available at the BitSavers.org PDF Archive on 11 January 2011 and at U-M's Deep Blue digital archive on 1 March 2011.

*  And over 250 MTS related items are available as "full view" documents in the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  The Hathi Trust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries that is building a reliable and increasingly comprehensive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by a number of academic institutions. Beyond the 23 MTS Volumes the items include introductory, tutorial, and step-by-step documents; many U-M Computing Center Newsletters, CC Memos, the proceedings for the first two MTS Workshops at UBC in 1974 and UQV in 1975; and a number of publications from units outside the U-M Computing Center including documentation for MIDAS, OSIRIS, TEXTEDIT, the Merit Network, and others.

*  On 20 July 2011 the U-M gave its support and permission to a project to make the MTS distribution materials and an IPLable version of MTS freely available to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 3.0).

*  On 22 December 2011 the source, object, and documentation from MTS distributions D1.0 (1968) through D6.0 (1988) were made available in the Bitsavers.org Software Archive and on 8 January 2012 these materials, packaged slightly differently, were made available from U-M's Deep Blue digital archive.

*  On 24 December 2011, just 38 hours after the MTS distribution materials first became available, MTS D6.0 had been restored from simulated tape and was running under the open source Hercules System/370 Emulator. This was done by someone who had little or no prior knowledge of MTS! Details are available as part of the "MTS Today" discussion on the MTS Archive. Several more people have reported success running MTS under Hercules since then. Hercules runs under Windows, Mac OS, and various flavors of Unix. MTS D6.0 from 1988 included the DMGR with a cache in either real or expanded storage, a PDP that would page to file system disks and expanded storage, a HASP that would use file system based spool files, and S/370-XA support. The Resource Manager was included, but had not yet replaced HASP for traditional batch processing (*PRINT*, *PUNCH*, *BATCH*). 31-bit addressing support was limited to the supervisor and while user programs could switch to 31-bit addressing mode, that didn't really do them much good until post-D6.0 versions of MTS.

*  On 18 January 2012 a new version of MTS, D6.0A, was made available for download. It is based on the D6.0 version of MTS  from 1988 with various fixes and updates to make operation under Hercules in 2012 smoother. D6.0A is delivered as a simulated 3380 disk drive which eliminates the need to restore MTS to disk from simulated magnetic tapes. There is a README-D6.0A.txt file with a description of the materials included, step-by-step instructions for running MTS under Hercules, a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers, and a template Hercules configuration file (hercules.cnf). The README-D6.0A.txt file and the d6.0A.zip archive are available from the MTS Archive.

*  There is a surprisingly active Yahoo e-mail group, H390-MTS, where discussions about running MTS under Hercules take place.

*  Work is getting started to retroactively create MTS distribution D7.0. The "new" distribution will be a version of MTS from 1996 before MTS was shutdown at U-M.

*  Due to copyright and licensing restrictions, distributions didn't include all of the programs that were available for use under MTS. We are starting to seek permission to include as many of these now pretty old programs as we can. A few at least have been released into the public domain or been made available under some sort of free license. The other challenge in this area is finding the old object code for these programs, since they were not included on the distributions. We are afraid that some of these programs may have been lost.

*  There is interest from a few people on the H390-MTS e-mail list in adding an emulated HIM control unit to Hercules.

Help wanted:

*  We'd very much like to get more information for the MTS Archive or the MTS Wikipedia articles. In particular one area that could be expanded are the descriptions of the networking activities at sites other than U-M (UBCNet, NuNet, …). If you know of any write-ups or if you are willing to write something yourself, place contact us at the e-mail address given below.

*  It would also be good to include more stories about and photographs of the people who were involved in developing, maintaining, operating, and using MTS. There is a start in the MTS Archive in the People section as well as in the Images section, but there is a lot more that could and should be added.  There is some rough draft information in the two discussions, "Who were the developers?" and "Who were the directors?" on the MTS Archive site. Your help is needed to expand this information.

*  If any of you have saved old copies of say the *PLC code or other source or object code for similar programs that weren't included in the regular MTS distributions, please contact us at the e-mail address below.

*  As we work to make the D7.0 (1996) version of MTS available, we could use some help from someone more knowledgable about the Resource Manager than we are.  If you are interested, please contact us at the e-mail address below.

*  And we are looking for people knowledgable about the UBC HIM to help the volunteers that want to add HIM emulation to Hercules. You don't have to write any code unless you want to. We are really looking for people to answer questions and provide general guidance. Again, contact us at the e-mail address below or join the H390-MTS Yahoo group.

And finally:

*  Please pass this note on to others who may be interested or send their e-mail addresses to mts-comments@umich.edu and we'll add them to the list.  There is a list of the people who are receiving this update at the end of this message.

*  If you don't want to be bothered with this sort of e-mail in the future, just let us know and we promise to stop sending them.

*  It was suggested that we create a proper e-mail list for communications about MTS and the e-mail group mts-interest@umich.edu is a step in that direction. If you received this message, you are on the list. Anyone can send to the group, but it is moderated to let us sort out spam and junk mail.  The list of group members is private.

*  Previous versions of these MTS updates are available at:  http://archive.michigan-terminal-system.org/discussions/e-mail-archive-1.

*  Send questions and comments to:  mts-comments@umich.edu

  -Jeff  Ogden (W163) jeff.ogden@umich.edu
  -Mike Alexander (MTA)  mta@umich.edu
  -Gavin Eadie (CL14, W267, GAV) gavin.eadie@umich.edu
  -Tom Valerio (W237) tvalerio@umich.edu 


The initial 124 recipients of this update:

  [list omitted]