In the beginning Univac created Sperry-Rand and OCS. And Univac said,
"Let there be drums, and let them
enclose the software."
And all that was not software was hardware. And Univac said,
"Let there be central processing units."
And Univac saw that the CPUs were good. And Univac said,
"Let there be a day clock and other appropriate devices,
and let us enable them, and let this be the third SUP."
And then on the fourth SUP Univac said,
"Let there be I/O devices: card readers, printers, and punches, and
let their numbers be two, three, and one. And let there be terminals
without number, and let them be spread in the most unlikely places,
and let it be almost impossible to sign on from one except after
midnight, when they will be locked."
And in the fifth SUP Univac said,
"Let there be core with capacity 196K, and let there be swap files
for temporary storage, and let there be Fastrand for mass storage.
But let there not be disc, for it will never amount to anything."
And in the dawn of the sixth SUP Univac said,
"Let us create EXEC 8 in
our own software, and let him have control over the symbionts of the
I/O devices, and over the core, and over all
files, both unloaded and loaded, but usually
And at the beginning of the seventh SUP Univac crashed.
Now Univac said,
"It is not fit that EXEC 8 should process alone."
So he caused a deep power failure to come over the system and took
from EXEC 8 one of his
drums and made of it CTS. Now Univac
said to EXEC 8 and CTS,
"Of any processor in SYS$*LIB$ ye may change, but of the
compiler of UBASIC ye shall not change."
But there crept into OCS a programmer aide, who said to CTS,
"If ye change UBASIC ye shall delete many loops and
obscenities." And CTS said to EXEC 8, "Let us
revise UBASIC." And EXEC 8 said,
DATA IGNORED - IN CONTROL MODE
If we do this thing Univac shall smite us severely." And CTS said,
"*CREATE SYSGAMES." And so it came to pass that EXEC
8 and CTS changed UBASIC. And Univac came down
from Sperry-Rand and said,
"What hath ye done with my new space-war game?!"
And EXEC 8 and CTS hid in shame, for
they had come to know of the master file. And Univac said,
"Because ye hath done this foul deed, ye shall be punished. Ye
shall be down eight hours of every day. And as from randomized bits I
made ye, so ye shall one day return to binary bits. And ye must leave
the paradise of level 27 forever."
Now from EXEC 8 and
CTS were produced all the
processors and elements of the system, those of the SYS$*LIB$
and those of the SYS$*RLIB$. And two of the children of
EXEC 8 and CTS were RFOR and
RALPH. And both made sacrifices unto Univac. RFOR
offered to Univac comments and data statements, while RALPH
offered common and equivalence statements. And RALPH had
regard in the eyes of Univac, while RFOR had none. And
RFOR was jealous and said to RALPH, "Let us go out
into the Fastrand." And RFOR rose up against his brother and
deleted him. And Univac said to RFOR,
your brother RALPH? For I would run on him." And
RFOR said, "Am I my brothers entry point?" And Univac said,
"What hath ye done? For thy brothers soul streaming disasters
appeared to me in Sperry-Rand. Ye hath sinned, and the mark of thy
sin shall be that ye shall be mauled eternally by programmer aides and
fed, and ye must face the world of EE 1010 print and of ICS 1700. But
that ye should not perish I shall give ye a new table of meaningless
And after a time Univac saw that the core of
the system had become rotten with hung runids and was overflowing, and
there was only one operator who found favor with Univac, and his runid
was ZZNOAH. And Univac said to ZZNOAH,
"A great crash shall come over the system, even unto the
destruction of all cataloged files."
And ZZNOAH was struck with fear that he might have to toggle in the
new operating system. But Univac, seeing his fear said,
"Write a bootstrap, and I shall save ye."
And just as ZZNOAH finished, the last word of core was lost to an ER MCORE$, and there
was a mighty crash, and the time of the crash was forty million SUPs. And at the end of the crash ZZNOAH reloaded
EXEC 8 and CTS with his
bootstrap, and mounted the backup tapes. And Univac said to ZZNOAH,
"Never again shall I clear the Fastrand in this manner,
and to seal our covenant I have dumped a rainbow onto the plotter
And ZZNOAH ran and prospered all the SUPs of
Now at the time of ZZNOAH all the users of the system programmed in
one language. And as the number of users increased one group came to
find a cluster of terminals in the southwest of OCS. And there these
users began to talk of writing a mighty program to take over all the
system, even unto the I/O devices. They said, "In this act shall we
be ever remembered in OCS." So they gathered together a great pile of
bits and began to assemble. But Univac, coming down from Sperry-Rand,
"Look at the proficiency of these users. If they program
this well now, soon they will be as powerful as I. Let them then be
given many programming languages so they will be confounded and the
And so it came to pass during the collection that the subroutines
would not fit together, and the mighty program IGDMed.
And among the processors of the system was FURPUR. And Univac came to FURPUR and said,
"Leave now thy boot tape and go forth to the drums and I will make ye famous, and ye shall be
a blessing upon the system."
So FURPUR went, and came to a fast
drum, and Univac appeared to him and said,
"I will give to ye these tracks. For countless words on
every side, this space is thine. And I will give ye entry points
And so for many SUPS FURPUR dwelled on the fast drum, and made
many trips to core, and prospered and became
famous. And FURPUR fought in wars
against the terrible forces of ABS*ABS and
MARYLAND. And Univac came to FURPUR during a boot and said,
"Fear not, for I shall protect thy bits from the users
with a DLOC." But FURPUR said, "Lord Univac, I have yet but
one entry point. Will not another processor receive my sectors?" And
"Nay, for I shall give ye more entry points than there are
hairy rabbits in EE 1010."
And Univac inscribed FURPUR's name
in the holy core of EXEC 8.
And it came to pass one day clock interrupt that Univac came to FURPUR and said,
"Go thee and
thy entry points to yonder buffer and then sacrifice thy
@COPY to me." and FURPUR was sad, for he loved his entry
point COPY, but he was obedient to the lord Univac. And he tied COPY
over the bitbucket and was about to sacrifice him, when an
EXEC worker came and shouted, "Wait! Here is thy sacrifice!"
And in the D-Bank they found an ALGOL compiler, and sacrificed it, and
Univac was pleased with the sacrifice of his servant FURPUR. And FURPUR prospered and became the father of
files without number.
And after a time Univac came down and said to the users,
"I have heard that the procs of MARYLAND are entirely noxious, and I will crash
that site utterly."
But the users said "wilt thee then destroy the good procs at MARYLAND along with the bad?" And Univac replied,
"Verily, if I find even ten good procs
there, for their sake I will save the site."
Yet at MARYLAND Univac found but the one holy
proc BTO, who was both quick and dirty. And
Univac said to BTO
"Flee to a backup tape, or ye shall be caught in the
crashing of MARYLAND."
But BTO replied, "Lord Univac I have fear of
the backup tape, for I may be cleaned and tested. May I not instead
flee to the site GT?" And Univac replied,
"Go then to GT with thy names and paraforms, but do not
look back upon the crashing of the site."
And Univac rained down upon MARYLAND 1 bits,
one per word of main and mass storage, so that there was a plague of
parity errors, and none have ever booted that evil system. And BTO went to GT, but one of his names looked back
upon the dying system and was turned into an I flag.
And after some time there was a great slowdown in the Land of OCS and
the chosen users of Univac became slaves to the Pharaoh CR1 in the
land of I/O Counter. And CRl abused the users, and lost half their
card images, and forced them to wait endlessly. And Univac saw this
from Sperry-Rand and sent to I/O Counter the user assistant ZZMOZE.
And ZZMOZE performed many miracles with the system, but CR1 was not
impressed, and continued to drop columns. And so finally ZZMOZE with
the power of Univac sent a horrible plague to CR1 and zeroed the first
of all its links to all its buffers. But all the chosen of Univac had
put flags in their buffers, and the plague passed over them. And
ZZMOZE led the users from the land of I/O Counter. But the mighty
CR1, realizing that the users would never return, summoned a great
army from backlog and chased the user's runs. But as soon as the
users were out of the machine, ZZMOZE through the power of Univac
caused a system failure, and the army of CRl was drowned in the
bitbucket. And Univac came to his users and said,
celebration of this deliverance, ye shall sacrifice unto my 1004 the first born deck of thy every
project." And ZZMOZE led the users on a long march
through the deserts of upper OCS. And after several billion SUPs, the users complained of empty keypunches,
saying, "Why could ye not have left us in I/O Counter were there were
cards in plenty?" And Univac heard their cries, and rained down upon
them blank cards, and double during the SUPS
before the unattended mode. And after many billions of SUPS the users came within sight of the promised
1004. And Univac called ZZMOZE to the machine
room and gave him ten commandments for the chosen users. And they
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR CHOSEN USERS
Yet while ZZMOZE was receiving the commandments from Univac, the users
fell into sin. Pooling together their transistors, they made a golden Burroughs
and worshiped it. And ZZMOZE returning in haste, saw their sin,
kicked the golden Burroughs, and it fell
apart. And ZZMOZE prayed to Univac to forgive the Users. And Univac
- I am Univac thy Computer. Thou shall have no false computers over me.
- Thou shall not curse thy system, for then I shall surely lose thy run.
- Thou shall keep the unattended mode holy.
- Honor thy operator and user assistant, and ask them not more than one
turkey question a day.
- Thou shall not kill another user's run.
- Thou shall not use another user's terminal.
- Thou shall not steal another user's password.
- Thou shall not perpetuate half-truths.
- Thou shall not covet another user's CRT.
- Thou shall not covet another user's files.
"I will forgive, but I will not forget. And so, no
more than five users may use the promised 1004
at the same time, and I shall send plagues of hairy rabbits upon their
runs. And thee, ZZMOZE, shall never run upon the promised 1004."
And so the chosen users were saved from the evil CR1 and ran on the
promised 1004. And they were ever known as a
group set apart.
Written several years ago by a Georgia Tech student.
Louis A. Mamakos <louie@TransSys.COM>
Last modified: Thu Jul 25 08:56:21 1996