ⓘ GEORGE, operating system. GEORGE was the name given to a series of operating systems released by International Computers and Tabulators in the 1960s, for the IC ..


ⓘ GEORGE (operating system)

GEORGE was the name given to a series of operating systems released by International Computers and Tabulators in the 1960s, for the ICT 1900 series of computers. These included GEORGE 1, GEORGE 2, GEORGE 3, and GEORGE 4.

Initially the 1900 series machines, like the Ferranti-Packard 6000 on which they were based, ran a simple operating system known as executive which allowed the system operator to load and run programs from a Teletype Model 33 ASR based system console.

In December 1964 ICT set up an Operating Systems Branch to develop a new operating system for the 1906/7. The branch was initially staffed with people being released by the end of work on the OMP operating system for the Ferranti Orion. The initial design of the new system, named George after George E. Felton head of the Basic Programming Division, was based on ideas from the Orion and the spooling system of the Atlas computer.

In public it was claimed that George stood for GEneral ORGanisational Environment, but contemporary sources say that was a backronym.

In July 1965 a team from ICT was present at a seminar at NPL describing the CTSS operating system developed for MITs Project MAC. They decided that the ICT would need to provide multi-access facilities, known to ICT as MOP, "Multiple Online Processing". In November 1965 H. P. Goodman, head of the Operating Systems Branch attended the Fall Joint Computer Conference in Las Vegas where plans for Multics were initially described. Some of the Multics features discussed influenced future development of George, notably the tree structured filestore.

Towards the end of 1965 ICT marketing requested that a simpler operating system be made available quickly, especially for the smaller members of the range. It was decided that two smaller systems, known as George 1 and George 2 be released rapidly, and the larger operating system was renamed George 3.


1. GEORGE 1 & 2

George 1 was a simple batch processing system, Job descriptions were read from cards or paper tape which controlled the loading and running of programs, either loaded from cards or paper tape or magnetic tape. The job control language allowed definition of the peripherals and files to be used and handling of exception conditions. The job description would be checked for errors before the job was run. George used the trusted program facilities provided by executive to run the user programs.

George 2 added the concept of off line peripheral handling spooling. Several different modules, running in parallel, allowed overlapping of input, processing and output operations:

  • A central module executed the user programs, taking input from the temporary input files and writing program output to temporary files.
  • An output module wrote the temporary output files to physical printers and punches.
  • Jobs were read from cards or paper tape to temporary files on magnetic disk or tape by an input module.
  • A module was also available for entering jobs from remote job entry stations, the output of the job could be printed on the remote printer.

If the installation was large enough multiple copies of the central module could be run, allowing multiple jobs to be processed in parallel.

The George 2 job control language allowed use of stored macros with conditional facilities.

George 2 provided no file system, the system and user programs relied on the facilities provided by executive. Files on disk were accessed by unique 12 character names and no security other than a "do not erase" bit was provided.

MINIMOP could be run simultaneously with GEORGE 2 on the same machine, to provide on-line time-sharing facilities.


1.1. GEORGE 1 & 2 Example George 2 batch job

Here is a, somewhat artificial, example batch for George 2:

The batch starts with a job description which specifies a job name, the account code used by George for billing and a user name: JOB PLAN4JOB,30174,BRIAN The job first loads the program #XPLT from a disk file named PROGRAM COMP XPLT is the assembler. The document SOURCE is used as input to #XPLT on a virtual card reader CR0. IN EDPROGRAM COMP LOAD #XPLT IN CR0SOURCE ENTER 1 If #XPLT finishes with the message HALT OK then the job continues at label 1A, otherwise the job displays COMPILATION ERRORS and jumps to 5END. AT HALTED OK,GO TO 1A DISPLAY COMPILATION ERRORS GO TO 5END At label 1A the program #XPCK is loaded and run with an in-line document available on its virtual card reader. XPCK is the linker, or "consolidator" in ICL terminology. The in-line document is the text between the line IN CR0/JD and the terminator *. 1A IN EDPROGRAM COMP LOAD #XPCK IN CR0/JD *IN EDSEMICOMPILED *OUT EDPROGRAM TEST *LIST* ENTER 1 AT DELETED HH,GO TO 2A DISPLAY CONSOLIDATION ERRORS GO TO 5END If #XPCK finishes without error then the program #HWLD is run. 2A IN EDPROGRAM TEST LOAD #HWLD ENTER 0 5END END **** After the job a source document is read in, this will be used as input to the job. DOC SOURCE PROGHWLD STEERLIST,OBJECT OUTESEMICOMPILED0) WSFHWLD PLANCR #PRO HWLD40/TEST #LOW MESS 12HHELLO WORLD #PRO #ENT 0 DISTY 11/MESS DEL 2HOK #END ENDPROG **** Finally the end of batch is signaled. At this point all the jobs in the batch will be run in order. All output from the batch will be printed on the system printer. END BATCH

In a real application the job would probably use a stored macro and be much simpler, this example has been written out longhand in an effort to show some of the features of the JCL.


2. GEORGE 3 & 4

GEORGE 3 was the main version of the operating system series for the larger machines of the 1900 series. Initially it was released for the 1906/7; eventually it was made available for models down to the 1902T. In contrast to George 1 & 2 which ran as user-mode programs under executive, George 3 was a full operating system, leaving only low-level peripheral and interrupt handling to a cut-down version of executive.

George 3 was implemented as a small memory-resident part and a collection of chapters overlays which were loaded into and removed from memory as needed. Chapters were strictly location-independent, allowing best use of memory. Internally George used cooperative multitasking; context switches could take place at any chapter change call from one chapter to another, or at other specified places in the code. User-level code was run using preemptive multitasking; context switches were forced on I/O operations or clock ticks.

George was written in a special assembler, GIN George INput, which had richer conditional compilation and macro facilities than the standard PLAN assembler. Macros were heavily used by the code to reduce the effort of programming such a large system in assembly language. In later versions the macro features of GIN were used to add structured programming features to the code. Writing the system was estimated to have taken 75 programmer-years of effort.


2.1. GEORGE 3 & 4 Job control

George 3 was a mixed batch and online system. Jobs could be run from cards or tape in the same manner as George 2, or interactively from MOP Multiple Online Processing terminals, either simple Teletype Model 33 ASR terminals or block mode VDU terminals.

The job control language was the same on terminals or in batch jobs and included conditional operations and macro operations. In contrast to Unix systems the job control language was part of the operating system rather than being a user level shell process.

A job could only have one program loaded in to memory at a time, but one job could start other jobs to run concurrently, if system resources and site policy would permit. The system would swap user programs out of memory while they were waiting for input or output if other activities required memory to run.


2.2. GEORGE 3 & 4 File store

George 3 provided a tree structured file store, inspired in part by Multics.

Every user of the system had a home directory with as many sub directories as needed under it. A users home directory could be accessed directly, for example the directory for user JOHN could be referred to as:JOHN, or by a full path, for example if JOHN was in the computer science department his home directory might be:MANAGER.USERS.COMPSCI.JOHN.

Access control lists were used for security, a user could permit or deny any user or group of users access to his files or directories.

File data storage was two-level: files could be either currently on disk, or, if the system was low on disk space they could be automatically relegated to magnetic tape. If an attempt was made to access a currently off line file the job would be suspended and the operators requested to load the appropriate tape. When the tape was made available the file would be brought back to disk and the job resumed.


2.3. GEORGE 3 & 4 George 4

Starting with the 1904A, a paging unit was available for larger 1900 processors and George 4 was written to take advantage of it. George 4 remained compatible with George 3.

George 4 introduced the concept of a sparse program, a program that had an addressing space larger than its allocated memory and read-only pure data and code regions. New versions of the consolidator linker and compilers were provided to use these facilities.

The source code of George 3 and 4 were the same; conditional compilation facilities of the GIN assembler were used to select which version of the system was being compiled.

As the 1900 paging feature was not emulated by the 2900 series machines used by later George installations, George 4 fell out of use before George 3.


2.4. GEORGE 3 & 4 Example batch job

The job is modelled on the George 2 job above, and like that job is somewhat artificial as in real use most of the work would be done by a pre-stored macro command.

The job would be read in from a card or paper tape reader. With minor changes removal of the first "JB" command it could be stored in a file and run from an interactive MOP terminal.

As with the George 2 example the job starts with a JOB command all built-in commands had a long form and a two letter abbreviation, here "JB" is the abbreviation for "JOB". The JOB command gives a job name, the user to bill for the job,:BRIAN, and the terminator for the job, "####". JB PLAN4JOB,:BRIAN,T#### WHENEVER WE a command fails with error the job will continue at label 5CE for error recovery. The MAXSIZE MZ of memory used by this job will be 20K words. WE COMERR,GO 5CE MZ 20K The CREATE CE command is used to make a file, in this case a temporary workfile, "!". The INPUT IN command then copies all text up to the terminator, "////" into the workfile. CE! IN!,T//// PROGHWLD STEERLIST,OBJECT OUTESEMICOMPILED WSFHWLD PLANCR #PRO HWLD40/TEST #LOW MESS 12HHELLO WORLD #PRO #ENT 0 DISTY 11/MESS DEL 2HOK #END ENDPROG //// The LOAD LO command loads PROGRAM XPLT the assembler from the directory:LIB, it is then started by the RESUME RM command. If the run does not HALT with the output LD the job continues at label 1F for error handling. LO:LIB.PROGRAM XPLT RM IF NOT HALLD,GO 1F The ASSIGN AS command is used to connect virtual card reader unit 0 to the workfile created above, which is then erased by the ERASE ER command. The erase will be delayed until the file is closed. AS *CR0,! ER! A new workfile is created and the virtual line printer unit 0 assigned to it. CE! AS *LP0,! When PROGRAM XPLT is run it will try to open the disk file in the OUTE directive, We want it to use a temporary workfile so we ask George to MONITOR the open, stopping execution and allowing us to provide the workfile: MN ON, OPEN The program in memory PROGRAM XPLT is started at location 21. EN 1 IF NOT MONITOROPEN, GO 1F A new, direct access, workfile is created with 128 word buckets and an initial size of 40K words. The virtual disk channel *DA2 is assigned to it. The program is RESUMED. CE!*DA,BUCK1,KWOR40 AS *DA2,!WRITE RM If it HALTs with the output OK the job continues at label 1A, if not an error message is displayed and the job exits. IF HALOK,GO 1A 1F DP 0,COMPILATION ERRORS GO 5EX The DELETE DL command deletes the assembler from memory. 1A DL Yet another workfile is created to hold the instructions for the linker. As the linker instructions must end with a line "****" the default terminator is used for the INPUT command. CE! IN! *IN EDSEMICOMPILED *OUT EDPROGRAM TEST *LIST **** The linker,:LIB.PROGRAM XPCK is loaded and initialised. LO:LIB.PROGRAM XPCK RM IF NOT HALLD,GO 2F The virtual card reader is attached to the workfile holding the linker instructions, which is then erased. AS *CR0,! ER! The virtual lineprinter is then assigned in append mode to the last but one workfile created and not yet erased. The LISTFILE LF command is used to print the file on the system printer the listing will start when the file is closed. The file is then erased the erase will be delayed until the listing is finished. The virtual disk channel *DA1 is assigned to the top workfile holding the assembler output and yet another workfile is created for the linker. AS *LP0,!1APPEND LF!1,*LP,PA ER!1 AS *DA1,! ER! CE!*DA,BUCK1,KWOR10 AS *DA13,!WRITE ER! A file is created to hold the linker output and attached to virtual disk channel *DA14. The linker is then started at location 21 and if it finishes with the message HH the job continues at label 2A, otherwise an error message is displayed and the job exits. CE PROGRAM HWLD*DA,BUCK1,KWOR5 AS *DA14,PROGRAM HWLDWRITE EN 1 IF DELHH,GO 2A 2F DP 0,CONSOLIDATION ERRORS GO 5EX At label 2A the program written by the linker is loaded into memory and run starting at location 20, a success message is displayed and the job exits. 2A LO PROGRAM HWLD EN 0 DP 0,JOB COMPLETED GO 5EX If any command failed the WHENEVER command given at the start of the job will force a jump to label 5CE which displays an error message and exits. 5CE DP 0,COMMAND ERROR IN JOB When the job gets to label 5EX if it has a currently loaded program it is deleted from memory and the ENDJOB EJ command terminates the job. 5EX IF COR,DL EJ ALL The end of the job is signalled by the terminator string defined by the JOB command. ####


2.5. GEORGE 3 & 4 Example MOP session

All user input is shown in lower case. All output from George is in upper case.

The user types control-A on an idle Teletype attached to George, George replies with its identification banner and prompt command. He is prompted for his password, which will be echoed as the terminal is connected in half duplex mode with local echo. The job then starts. THIS IS GEORGE 3 MARK 8.67 ON 21MAR11 21.21.23← ln:john,mopjob TYPE PASSWORD← password STARTED:JOHN,MOPJOB,21MAR11, 21.21.35 TYPE:MOP A directory is created with the MAKEDIR MK command and the current directory is changed to the new one with the DIRECTORY DY command. 21.21.35← mk hellodir 21.28.10← dy hellodir The system macro NEWCOPYIN is used to read from the tape serial number 123457. As the NEWCOPYIN macro loads a program the session becomes fully started if the system was heavily loaded it might wait at this point. 21.28.16← newcopyin 123457 21.28.32 JOB IS NOW FULLY STARTED 21.28.32 0.03 CORE GIVEN 4736 WAITING FOR MT 123457 Apparently the system operator couldnt find the tape and used the CANTDO command to refuse to load it, the NEWCOPYIN fails. ERROR IN PARAMETER 2 IN OL IN NEWCOPYIN: MT 123457 CORRECTLY IDENTIFI ED BUT NOT AVAILABLE DISPLAY: ERROR IN NEWCOPYIN. MACRO ABANDONED 21.28.58 FREE *CR0, 0 TRANSFERS 21.28.58 0.05 DELETED,CLOCKED 0.00 0.05:DELETED END OF MACRO The user tries again with the correct serial number this time. When the tape becomes available he is prompted for the file to load. The list of files is terminated by "****". 21.28.58← newcopyin 123456 21.32.21 0.06 CORE GIVEN 4736 WAITING FOR MT 123456 21.32.34 USED U31 AS *MT0, MT 123456,HELLOTAPE0/0) ← hello,hello/plan ← **** 21.32.52 FREE *CR0, 2 TRANSFERS DISPLAY: 1 PARAMETER ACCEPTED DISPLAY 0.08: MONITOR DISPLAY: INPUT TAPE * 123456. DISPLAY 0.08: MONITOR 21.32.52 FREE *FH0, 1 TRANSFERS 21.32.52 FREE U31.8 TRANSFERS 0.10:DELETED: OK 21.32.52 0.10 DELETED,CLOCKED 0.00 END OF MACRO The file has been loaded from tape. The LISTFILE LF command is used to examine its contents 21.32.52← lf hello #PRO HWLD40/TEST #LOW MESS 12HHELLO WRLD #PRO #ENT 0 DISTY 11/MESS DEL 2HOK #END There seems to be an error, so the user uses the EDIT ED command to fix it. The editor subcommand TC is used to position to the line containing "WRLD", the R command replaces "WRLD" by "WORLD", then the E command writes out the file. 21.33.01← ed hello EDITOR IS READY 0.0← tc/wrld/ 2.0← r/wrld/world/ 2.29← e The system macro PLANCOMP is used to compile the file HELLO/PLAN to PROGRAM HELO 21.43.46← plancomp *cr hello/plan,*idhelo FILES ALREADY ONLINE LIB.SUBGROUPS-RS1/V3:LIB.PROGRAM XPCK1/V12K:LIB.PROGRAM XPLT1/V8C 21.43.58 0.58 CORE GIVEN 18944 0.58:HALTED: LD DISPLAY: START JOB HELO, OPEN *DA2 N CA 1641 M=#00100 FN=SEMICOMPILED 1.00: MONITOR 21.43.58 FREE *CR0, 8 TRANSFERS DISPLAY: COMP OK 84 #HELO 21.43.58 FREE *DA2, 9 TRANSFERS 1.01:DELETED: FI #XPCK 21.43.58 FREE *TR0, 7 TRANSFERS 21.43.58 FREE *LP0, 83 TRANSFERS 21.43.58 1.01 DELETED,CLOCKED 0.00 21.43.59 1.07 CORE GIVEN 11392 21.43.59 FREE *CR0, 5 TRANSFERS 21.43.59 FREE *DA14.20 TRANSFERS 21.43.59 FREE *DA1, 9 TRANSFERS 21.43.59 FREE *DA2, 2 TRANSFERS 21.43.59 FREE *DA13.7 TRANSFERS 1.07:DELETED: HH 21.43.59 FREE *LP0, 32 TRANSFERS 21.43.59 FREE *DA15.0 TRANSFERS 21.43.59 1.07 DELETED,CLOCKED 0.00 DISPLAY: PLAN COMPILATION/CONSOLIDATION OKAY END OF MACRO The newly compiled PROGRAM HELO is loaded into memory by the LOAD LD command, then started with the ENTER EN command. It displays the traditional message then deletes itself from memory. 21.43.59← lo program helo 21.44.06← en 21.44.07 1.09 CORE GIVEN 64 DISPLAY: HELLO WORLD 1.09:DELETED: OK 21.44.07 1.09 DELETED,CLOCKED 0.00 Todays arduous work being finished, the user logs out with the LOGOUT LT command. The mill time and money used and remaining are displayed. 21.44.07← lt MAXIMUM ONLINE BS USED 252 KWORDS 21.44.12 1.09 FINISHED: 0 LISTFILES BUDGET USED LEFT TIMEM 70 -97797 MONEY 35 80327 21.44.12←

2.6. GEORGE 3 & 4 Source code

George was distributed in a form that allowed a site to modify large parts of the system. A compilation of the system was started, then interrupted just before the end and dumped to magnetic tape. The GIN compiler allowed the compilation to be continued from this point at the user site, possibly modifying code already compiled.

Versions of George 3 before release 8 were provided in binary form. Any modifications needed to the system were made as binary patches. To simplify the process most George chapters included an empty MEND area at the end.

Starting with release 8 the source of George was distributed with the binary, both on magnetic tape and microfiche. A system of source level patches, known as MENDITS was used to modify the system and an existing chapter could be completely replaced by the new modified chapter.

The George user group set up a "MEND exchange scheme" to share interesting modifications to George. Some modifications were distributed freely, others were available for a fee. When ICL produced a new version of George they would sometimes include modifications produced by the users.

For the last released version, 8.67, most of the patches from the MEND exchange scheme were included in the standard George source, switched off by conditional compilation. They can be turned on as part of the standard process of tailoring George for a site.


2.7. GEORGE 3 & 4 Documentation

GEOrge was well documented internally in a series of looseleaf folders, distributed as an initial version plus amendments. Eventually all the original pages were replaced, so any new copy of the manuals consisted of a box of empty looseleaf folders and a pile of amendments. The first amendment was a list of contributors, and the technical reason for the amendment was described as "to keep everyone happy".


2.8. GEORGE 3 & 4 Modified Versions

A modified version of George 3 was supplied to the University of Manchester Regional Computer Centre UMRCC. This linked George 3 to a CDC Cyber machine, to which George supplied the offline I/O and Job queueing functions. Online support was supplied by both ICL and Cyber for both hardware and software. The Cyber support team worked in an office with the name "Cybermen" on the door.


2.9. GEORGE 3 & 4 Obsolescence

With the release of ICLs "new range", the 2900 series with its VME operating system George became obsolete. However, due to the legacy of investment in software for George, ICL released options to run 1900 series software, including George, on 2900 series machines, initially the Direct Machine Environment DME, later the Concurrent Machine Environment CME which allowed simultaneous running of 1900 and 2900 code on the same system.

New versions of George 3 continued to be released for the 2900. The last version was 8.67, released in 1983.

As of 2005 at least one site in Russia was still running George 3 under DME.

In November 2014 George 3 was run on a reconditioned ICL 2966 at the National Museum of Computing.


2.10. GEORGE 3 & 4 Emulation

David Holdsworth and Delwyn Holroyd obtained copies of George 3 issue tapes when the last live site in the UK, at British Steel Corporation, was being decommissioned and wrote an emulator for the 1900 hardware and executive that allows running of George on Microsoft Windows and Linux as part of a project for the Computer Conservation Society. The emulator includes an emulation of Executive and a Java emulation of an ICL7903 Communications Processor making it possible to run MOP sessions by telnetting to in this case port 2023.

George 3 Executive Emulator by David Holdsworth & Delwyn Holroyd Build: May 15 2014 Memory size: 256K Exec command: DA GEORGE3A Waiting for a console telnet connection on port 1900 ICL 7903 Communications Controller emulator by David Holdsworth & Delwyn Holroyd Build: Feb 23 2014 -? for usage info Listening for TTY connections on port 2023 - 4 available Listening for VDU connections on port 7181 - 4 available Listening for host connection on port 7903

Tests with the emulator show that George 3 is Y2K compliant.

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