Museum DataArt. Coils with OS 6.1 for EC computers
Another copy from our collection is magnetic tapes with an operating system for a series of Soviet computers on the EU computer .
The idea of a universal approach to the development of computer technology was discussed at the USSR Ministry of Radio Industry in the mid-1960s. In 1968, the design of the Ryad series began, which implied the creation of a computer with a unified architecture and modeled capacity for the customer.
The beginning of the development of the “Series” was preceded by a fundamental discussion about the future path of designing Soviet computers. It culminated in a report by the "chief programmer" of the USSR, academician Anatoly Dorodnitsyn, who proposed to take the system architecture of IBM System 360 machines as a basis. Dorodnitsyn considered the availability of a sufficient amount of already working software to be a decisive factor.
In total, four number series “Ryad” were designed, which included about 30 cars. All of them were produced or were planned for release under the EU designation - "One Series". The
machines were equipped with a cloned version of the IBM OS / 360 operating system. Its adaptation and Russification went hard. More often than not, everything was limited to comments in the accompanying documentation, which by the beginning of the 1980s had already accumulated about 100 volumes. Commands and text fields most often remained English, the purpose of many utilities and subprograms was not always clear.
Mathematician Grigory Tseytin in the article “The Results of Development of the EU OS (User Notes)”summarizes the two decades of the evolution of the operating system, lists a number of achievements and draws attention to the problems that he had to face. The overall result, unfortunately, is bleak: “it is possible, and sometimes it is necessary to master individual samples of foreign software, but you cannot take the path of constant following them.”
The scientific director of the creation of the Soviet operating system based on IBM developments was Mikhail Shura-Bura, who in 1978 received the USSR State Prize in the field of technology.
The “Patriarch of Soviet programming” Mikhail Shura-Bura became the prototype of Roman Oyra-Oyra - the character of the story of the Strugatsky brothers “Monday starts on Saturday”
The former director of NICEVT, the parent company for the development of the EU series, Victor Przhiyalkovsky, said that OS 6.1 became the most popular. It began to be developed in 1978 and was presented at the exhibition of the EU and Small Computer Systems, which took place at VDNH in 1979. This system was installed on all machines of the second generation of EC computers; under this OS, programming capabilities were implemented on Fortran, Kobol, PL / 1.
As follows from the information on the sticker placed on our tape, OS 6.1 version 01 with changes 4 should be written on it. This is a later modified version of the system that supported hot backup and task distribution in two and three-machine computer complexes.
According to the recollections of system programmers, the OS was placed on one coil, tapes with additional libraries, a DBMS and other additions could be attached to it. It depended on the system on which the OS was supposed to be installed.
Judging by the other coils that came into our collection along with the one shown in the photo, it was most likely intended for the computing center of the State Hydrological Institute.
The coils themselves were made in the German Democratic Republic at the ORWO plant in Wolfen, near Leipzig. Before World War II, it was part of the AGFA Corporation, where processes for the manufacture of color films and photo printing were developed. After the surrender of Germany and its division into four occupation zones, the US military handed over the film factory to representatives of the USSR, having previously withdrawn patents and documentation - they were transferred to Kodak and Illford Photo. Soviet specialists dismantled and sent part of the plant to the USSR, but they did not begin to take out all the equipment. Soon the plant returned to work and continued production of film, and a little later began to produce magnetic tapes.
The magnetic tapes that were used for the EC computer had nine tracks. This made it possible to write and read information by byte. The ninth track was intended to record a parity bit or control bit. Width - 12.7 mm (that is, half an inch, they abandoned inch tapes in the mid-1970s). The nominal density of information recording is 32 bits per 1 mm. For other computers of that time, other standards were applied, and this one, like the architecture of the EU computer, was borrowed from IBM.
EC-1020 computer at the Department of Applied Mathematics, Physics and Mathematics, Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, mid-1980s Magnetic tape drives are visible in the background. Photo source
Rewind half-inch tapes was carried out on an empty reel (to reel-to-reel). In accordance with GOST, the read / write speed was approximately 2 m / s, which at a recording density of 32 bits per 1 mm and eight data tracks gave a download speed of 64 kbytes / s. For reading, magnetic tape drives from a number of peripheral devices of the EU computer were used — for example, the EU-5010, which weighed 450 kg.
Layout of the tracks and recording areas of the coil
It is clear that today a very limited circle of users stores information on magnetic tapes. However, for example, using CERN saved them by storing about 200 Petabytes of data received from the Large Hadron Collider. Magnetic tape turned out to be almost three times cheaper than hard drives, in addition, it has natural protection against unauthorized access - data from it cannot be read remotely.