I submitted this via a gemini-to-HTTP portal for ease of access, the original link is at gemini://arcanesciences.com/forgotten/.
IBM/i aka AS/400 and its OS is probably the single most interesting computing platform in the world from a “there are other ways to do things” perspective.
And as for VOS, Stratus VOS machines hosted thé server side of the Habitat (aka Club Caribe) virtual world on the Quantum Link time-sharing service used by Commodore 64s. The source code for the server side (in PL/I) is available, if you want to see what Stratus code might look like: https://github.com/Museum-of-Art-and-Digital-Entertainment/habitat
A modern C program on VOS (written by yours truly, who also wrote the Forgotten Systems page) can be found at https://github.com/FrostFlower/VOSUtils/ - C using VOS features is pretty wildly different from C on UNIX. I especially like the s$parse_command function - it uses a DSL (see lines 58-66) to specify command format, automatically handles parsing of things like paths and default values, and even prompts the user if a mandatory field isn’t supplied! Another nice feature of the VOS API is that every VOS library call returns an error code, which can be passed to s$error() to get and output a nice error message (which is looked up at both the system level and the app level - the error dictionary for this app is in consolidate_record_files.tin.)
I have basically nothing bad to say about the VOS operating system, except perhaps that Stratus seems to have largely lost interest in it in recent years.
There was a thread on here the other day and VOS came up and the question was raised…how do you actually get your hands on a Stratus VOS system, to work or play or experiment? Is there a community access program? Is the only way to learn VOS to work for Stratus or a company that contracts with them? Can a normal person buy a small Stratus VOS system just for fun or is it incredibly expensive?
I don’t expect you to know the answers to these questions, of course, but I’m asking them anyway. :) I know @calvin would want me to.
They aren’t cheap (iirc licensed ftServer V systems start in the tens of k USD.) There’s no community access program as far as I’m aware. Stratus’s focus at this point is mostly non-hardware, and VOS is only part of their hardware business (the other part being Windows/Linux on ftServer.)
If you’re an experienced C programmer, VOS-related jobs come up fairly frequently and I’ve heard some VOS sites are open about training up people with a UNIX C background.
Interesting. Thank you!
This reminds me of Bret Victor’s talk: The Future of Programming, how to do we build on the great idea’s of the past if we are not aware of them?
It’s worth noting that the B5000 in the article was the direct inspiration for the Smalltalk VM and therefore indirectly for the JVM and CLR. It and the 432 were both inspirations for CHERI (though, in the case of the 432, mostly as a set of mistakes to avoid - number one was co-design your ISA and your compiler, don’t wait until tape-out to talk to the compiler team).