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Revision Date Username Comment
1003 Oct 2013 - 15:54norqu036? 
924 Apr 2013 - 10:58NicLewis 
823 Apr 2013 - 10:54NicLewis 
727 Mar 2013 - 09:48NicLewis 
613 Mar 2013 - 09:12NicLewis 
507 Mar 2013 - 15:12NicLewis 
407 Mar 2013 - 11:17NicLewis 
307 Mar 2013 - 08:44NicLewis 
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Announced in 1964, and released in 1965, the System/360 (S/360) was a successful family of IBM mainframe computers that remained in production until 1978. The System/360 marked a change in IBM system development strategy. Rather than maintain production multiple lines of non-intercompatible computers, IBM offered the S/360 as a single series of machines, each model differentiated only by size, performance, and connected peripherals, but all using the same instruction set. This allowed customers the ability to chose an S/360 model that suited their needs, without the concern of outgrowing their computer, and being forced to move to another, non-compatible platform. Although the S/360 was released after the introduction of integrated circuits, IBM opted for a custom hybrid circuit design, incorporating integrated circuits with glass transistors and diodes on a multi-layered circuit board module.(1)(2)

Although IBM originally intended for the S/360 line to utilize a single batch-oriented operating system, the memory limitations of lower-end machines, and the time to develop the full-featured OS, led to the development of multiple operating systems for the S/360 line. Smaller S/360 units, typically those with less than 256KB of memory, used either Basic Operating System/360 (BOS/360), Disk Operating System/360 (DOS/360), or a few other special implementations. The larger models ran Operating System/360 (OS/360), which supported multiprogramming (to reduce the time the CPU had to wait for I/O operations), supported a wide array of memory and CPU capabilities, and supported a multitude of customer applications, making OS/360 one of the largest software projects of its time. The OS/360 project experienced numerous bugs, and overruns in both time and cost. At the time of its announcement, IBM planned to release a time-sharing variant of the S/360's operating system to compete with Multics, but the project experienced setbacks in development, and the project was ultimately replaced with other time-sharing systems in the 1970s.(3)(4)

Despite initial delays in production, and hardware and software reliability issues at launch, the S/360 was successful in commercial, government, military, and academic applications, with special variants of the S/360 entering service with NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration. After experiencing difficulties developing its own intercompatible family of computers, the Soviet Union developed functional equivalents of the S/360, called the "Unified System," to take advantage of the existing library of software for the OS/360 platform.(5)(6)

Additional Resources:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c0_Lzb1CJw: 2004 Computer History Museum lecture and panel discussion on the 40th anniversary of IBM S/360.


1 , 4 , 5 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System/360

2 : http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/mainframe/mainframe_PR360.html: 1964 IBM System/360 announcement.

3 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_IBM_mainframe_operating_systems#OS.2F360

6 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ES_EVM

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Topic revision: r7 - 27 Mar 2013 - 09:48:02 - NicLewis
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