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System/360: A Retrospective View

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129506D
Original Publication Date: 1986-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

BOB O. EVANS: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

[Figure containing following caption omitted: ©; 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Categories and Subject Descriptors: C.0 [General]; K.1 [The Computer Industry]; K.2 [History of Computing] hardware, IBM System/360, people, software, systems. General Terms: Design, Management. Additional Key Words and Phrases: compatibility. Author's Address: Hambrecht & Quist, 235 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104. ©; 1986 AFIPS 0164-1239/86/020155-179$01.00/00]

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

System/360: A Retrospective View

BOB O. EVANS

  (Image Omitted: © 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Categories and Subject Descriptors: C.0 [General]; K.1 [The Computer Industry]; K.2 [History of Computing] hardware, IBM System/360, people, software, systems. General Terms: Design, Management. Additional Key Words and Phrases: compatibility. Author's Address: Hambrecht & Quist, 235 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA

94104. © 1986 AFIPS 0164-1239/86/020155-179

System/360: A Retrospective View

BOB O. EVANS

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Editor's Note: In January 1983 (Vol. 5, No. 1) the Annals published the SPREAD report, the 1961 IBM task group recommendations for IBM's future processor products that led to the System/360. Bob O. Evans was among the participants in a 1982 discussion of the SPREAD report, also published in that issue, and he wrote an introduction for us.

In the current article, adapted from a lecture he gave at the Computer Museum on November 10, 1983, Evans summarizes the events, organizations, product lines, and motivations that led to the System/360, IBM's major shift to compatible processors, peripherals, and software for both business and scientific applications. A version of this article was published in the Computer Museum Report (Number 9, Summer 1984). Some of this IBM history has been detailed in the Annals previously; see special issues on the 701 (Vol. 5, No. 2) and 650 (Vol. 8, No. 1) and articles by Bashe, Hurd, McPherson et al., Phelps, etc.; also see the recent volume by Bashe et al., IBM's Early Computers (MIT Press, 1985). We are pleased to have the author's personal view of the principles involved in the System/360, the environment during its development, some of the problems encountered, and the consequences of the 360, both for IBM and for the information processing industry.

Prologue

This personal review of events that led to one of the most significant decisions in modern business, IBM's undertaking of the product line that became the System/360, begins with a few preludes. Small steps themselves, each added force to the conditions that eventually led to the decision to produce a completely new, unified IBM product line that portended substantial potential, but also put the corporation at high risk.

IEEE Computer Society, Apr 01, 1986 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume...