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gcos


gcos


  3  definitions  found 
 
  From  Jargon  File  (4.2.3,  23  NOV  2000)  [jargon]: 
 
  GCOS  /jee'kohs/  n.  A  {quick-and-dirty}  {clone}  of  System/360 
  DOS  that  emerged  from  GE  around  1970;  originally  called  GECOS  (the 
  General  Electric  Comprehensive  Operating  System).  Later  kluged  to  support 
  primitive  timesharing  and  transaction  processing.  After  the  buyout  of 
  GE's  computer  division  by  Honeywell  the  name  was  changed  to  General 
  Comprehensive  Operating  System  (GCOS).  Other  OS  groups  at  Honeywell 
  began  referring  to  it  as  `God's  Chosen  Operating  System',  allegedly  in 
  reaction  to  the  GCOS  crowd's  uninformed  and  snotty  attitude  about  the 
  superiority  of  their  product.  All  this  might  be  of  zero  interest,  except 
  for  two  facts:  (1)  The  GCOS  people  won  the  political  war,  and  this  led 
  in  the  orphaning  and  eventual  death  of  Honeywell  {{Multics}},  and  (2) 
  GECOS/GCOS  left  one  permanent  mark  on  Unix.  Some  early  Unix  systems 
  at  Bell  Labs  used  GCOS  machines  for  print  spooling  and  various  other 
  services;  the  field  added  to  `/etc/passwd'  to  carry  GCOS  ID  information 
  was  called  the  `GECOS  field'  and  survives  today  as  the  `pw_gecos' 
  member  used  for  the  user's  full  name  and  other  human-ID  information. 
  GCOS  later  played  a  major  role  in  keeping  Honeywell  a  dismal  also-ran 
  in  the  mainframe  market,  and  was  itself  mostly  ditched  for  Unix  in  the 
  late  1980s  when  Honeywell  began  to  retire  its  aging  {big  iron}  designs. 
 
 
 
  From  The  Free  On-line  Dictionary  of  Computing  (13  Mar  01)  [foldoc]: 
 
  GCOS 
 
    /jee'kohs/  An  {operating  system}  developed 
  by  {General  Electric}  from  1962;  originally  called  GECOS  (the 
  General  Electric  Comprehensive  Operating  System). 
 
  The  GECOS-II  operating  system  was  developed  by  {General 
  Electric}  for  the  36-bit  {GE-635}  in  1962-1964.  Contrary  to 
  rumour,  GECOS  was  not  cloned  from  {System/360}  [{DOS/360}?]  - 
  the  GE-635  architecture  was  very  different  from  the  {IBM  360} 
  and  GECOS  was  more  ambitious  than  DOS/360. 
 
  GE  Information  Service  Divsion  developed  a  large  special 
  multi-computer  system  that  was  not  publicised  because  they  did 
  not  wish  {time  sharing}  customers  to  challenge  their  bills. 
  Although  GE  ISD  was  marketing  {DTSS}  -  the  first  commercial 
  time  sharing  system  -  GE  Computer  Division  had  no  license  from 
  Dartmouth  and  GE-ISD  to  market  it  to  external  customers,  so 
  they  designed  a  time-sharing  system  to  sell  as  a  standard  part 
  of  GECOS-III,  which  replaced  GECOS-II  in  1967.  GECOS  TSS  was 
  more  general  purpose  than  DTSS,  it  was  more  a  programmer's 
  tool  (program  editing,  e-mail  on  a  single  system)  than  a  BASIC 
  TSS. 
 
  The  {GE-645},  a  modified  635  built  by  the  same  people,  was 
  selected  by  {MIT}  and  {Bell}  for  the  {Multics}  project. 
  Multics'  infancy  was  as  painful  as  any  infancy.  Bell  pulled 
  out  in  1969  and  later  produced  {Unix}. 
 
  After  the  buy-out  of  GE's  computer  division  by  {Honeywell}, 
  GECOS-III  was  renamed  GCOS-3  (General  Comprehensive  Operating 
  System).  Other  OS  groups  at  Honeywell  began  referring  to  it 
  as  "God's  Chosen  Operating  System",  allegedly  in  reaction  to 
  the  GCOS  crowd's  uninformed  and  snotty  attitude  about  the 
  superiority  of  their  product.  [Can  anyone  confirm  this?] 
  GCOS  won  and  this  led  in  the  orphaning  and  eventual  death  of 
  Honeywell  {Multics}. 
 
  Honeywell  also  decided  to  launch  a  new  product  line  called 
  Level64,  and  later  DPS-7.  It  was  decided  to  mainatin,  at 
  least  temporarily,  the  36-bit  machine  as  top  of  the  line 
  because  GCOS-3  was  so  successfull  in  the  1970s.  The  plan  in 
  1972-1973  was  that  GCOS-3  and  Multics  should  converge.  This 
  plan  was  killed  by  Honeywell  management  in  1973  for  lack  of 
  resources  and  the  inability  of  Multics,  lacking  {databases} 
  and  {transaction  processing},  to  act  as  a  business  operating 
  system  without  a  substantial  reinvestment. 
 
  The  name  GCOS"  was  extended  to  all  Honeywell-marketed  product 
  lines  and  GCOS-64,  a  completely  different  32-bit  operating 
  system,  significanctly  inspired  by  Multics,  was  designed  in 
  France  and  Boston.  GCOS-62,  another  different  32-bit  low-end 
  DOS  level  was  designed  in  Italy.  GCOS-61  represented  a  new 
  version  of  a  small  system  made  in  France  and  the  new  DPS-6 
  16-bit  {minicomputer}  line  got  GCOS-6. 
 
  When  the  intended  merge  between  GCOS-3  and  Multics  failed,  the 
  Phoenix  designers  had  in  mind  a  big  upgrade  of  the 
  architecture  to  introduce  {segmentation}  and  {capabilities}. 
  GCOS-3  was  renamed  GCOS-8,  well  before  it  started  to  use  the 
  new  features  which  were  introduced  in  next  generation 
  hardware. 
 
  The  GCOS  licenses  were  sold  to  the  Japanese  companies  {NEC} 
  and  {Toshiba}  who  developed  the  Honeywell  products,  including 
  GCOS,  much  further,  surpassing  the  {IBM  3090}  and  {IBM  390}. 
 
  When  Honeywell  decided  in  1984  to  get  its  top  of  the  range 
  machines  from  NEC,  they  considered  running  Multics  on  them  but 
  the  Multics  market  was  considered  too  small  Due  to  the 
  difficulty  of  porting  the  ancient  Multics  code  they  considered 
  modifying  the  NEC  hardware  to  support  the  Multics  compilers. 
 
  GCOS3  featured  a  good  {Codasyl}  {database}  called  IDS 
  (Integrated  Data  Store)  that  was  the  model  for  the  more 
  successful  {IDMS}. 
 
  Several  versions  of  transaction  processing  were  designed  for 
  GCOS-3  and  GCOS-8.  An  early  attempt  at  TP  for  GCOS-3,  not 
  taken  up  in  Europe,  assumed  that  as  in  {Unix},  a  new  process 
  should  be  started  to  handle  each  transaction.  IBM  customers 
  required  a  more  efficient  model  where  multiplexed  {threads} 
  wait  for  messages  and  can  share  resources.  Those  features 
  were  implemented  as  subsystems. 
 
  GCOS-3  soon  acquired  a  proper  {TP  monitor}  called  Transaction 
  Driven  System  (TDS).  TDS  was  essentially  a  Honeywell 
  development.  It  later  evolved  into  TP8  on  GCOS-8.  TDS  and 
  its  developments  were  commercially  successful  and  predated  IBM 
  {CICS},  which  had  a  very  similar  architecture. 
 
  GCOS-6  and  GCOS-4  (ex-GCOS-62)  were  superseded  by  {Motorola 
  68000}-based  {minicomputers}  running  {Unix}  and  the  product 
  lines  were  discontinued. 
 
  In  the  late  1980s  Bull  took  over  Honeywell  and  Bull's 
  management  choose  Unix,  probably  with  the  intent  to  move  out 
  of  hardware  into  {middleware}.  Bull  killed  the  Boston 
  proposal  to  port  Multics  to  a  platform  derived  from  DPS-6. 
  Very  few  customers  rushed  to  convert  from  GCOS  to  Unix  and  new 
  machines  (of  CMOS  technology)  are  still  to  be  introduced  in 
  1997  with  GCOS-8.  GCOS  played  a  major  role  in  keeping 
  Honeywell  a  dismal  also-ran  in  the  {mainframe}  market. 
 
  Some  early  Unix  systems  at  {Bell  Labs}  used  GCOS  machines  for 
  print  spooling  and  various  other  services.  The  field  added  to 
  "/etc/passwd"  to  carry  GCOS  ID  information  was  called  the 
  "{GECOS  field}"  and  survives  today  as  the  "pw_gecos"  member 
  used  for  the  user's  full  name  and  other  human-ID  information. 
 
  [{Jargon  File}] 
 
  (1998-04-23) 
 
 
 
  From  V.E.R.A.  --  Virtual  Entity  of  Relevant  Acronyms  13  March  2001  [vera]: 
 
  GCOS 
  General  Comprehensive  Operating  System  (Honeywell,  OS)