Multics ("Multiplexed Information and Computing Service") is an influential early
time-sharing In computing, time-sharing is the sharing of a computing resource among many users at the same time by means of multiprogramming and computer multitasking, multi-tasking.DEC Timesharing (1965), by Peter Clark, The DEC Professional, Volume 1, Num ...
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common daemon (computing), services for computer programs. Time-sharing operating systems scheduler (computing), schedule tasks for ef ...
based on the concept of a single-level memory.Dennis M. Ritchie, "The Evolution of the Unix Time-sharing System", Communications of the ACM, Vol. 17, 1984, pp. 365-375. Nathan Gregory writes that Multics "has influenced all modern operating systems since, from microcomputers to mainframes." Initial planning and development for Multics started in 1964, in
Cambridge, Massachusetts Cambridge ( ) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As part of the Greater Boston, Boston metropolitan area, the cities population of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 U.S. census was 118,403, making it the fourth most ...
. Originally it was a cooperative project led by MIT ( Project MAC with Fernando Corbató) along with
General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate founded in 1892, and incorporated in New York state and headquartered in Boston Boston (), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, state capital a ...
Bell Labs Nokia Bell Labs, originally named Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984), then AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), is an American industrial research and scientific development company A com ...
. It was developed on the GE 645 computer, which was specially designed for it; the first one was delivered to MIT in January 1967. GE offered their earlier 635 systems with an early timesharing system known as "Mark I" and intended to offer the 645 with Multics as a larger successor. Bell withdrew from the project in 1969 as it became clear it would not deliver a working system in the short term. Shortly thereafter, GE decided to exit the computer industry entirely and sold the division to
Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American public company, publicly traded, multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It primarily operates in four are ...
in 1970. Honeywell offered Multics commercially, but with limited success. Multics has numerous features intended to ensure high availability so that it would support a computing utility similar to the
telephone A telephone is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be easily heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into ele ...
electricity Electricity is the set of physics, physical Phenomenon, phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge. Electricity is related to magnetism, both being part of the phenomenon of electromagne ...
utilities A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service (often also providing a service using that infrastructure). Public utilities are subject to forms of State ownership, publ ...
. Modular hardware structure and software architecture are used to achieve this. The system can grow in size by simply adding more of the appropriate resource, be it computing power, main memory, or disk storage. Separate access control lists on every file provide flexible information sharing, but complete privacy when needed. Multics has a number of standard mechanisms to allow engineers to analyze the performance of the system, as well as a number of adaptive performance optimization mechanisms. Due to its many novel and valuable ideas, Multics has had a significant influence on
computer science Computer science is the study of computation, automation, and information. Computer science spans theoretical disciplines (such as algorithms, theory of computation, information theory, and automation) to Applied science, practical discipli ...
despite its faults. Its most lasting effect on the computer industry was to inspire the creation of
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of Computer multitasking, multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Corporation, AT&T Unix, whose development started in 1969 at the Bell Labs research center ...
, which was developed at Bell to allow their Multics team to continue their research using smaller machines, first a PDP-7 and ultimately the
PDP-11 The PDP-11 is a series of 16-bit computing, 16-bit minicomputers sold by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) from 1970 into the 1990s, one of a set of products in the Programmed Data Processor (PDP) series. In total, around 600,000 PDP-11s of all ...

Novel ideas

Multics implements a single-level store for data access, discarding the clear distinction between files (called ''segments'' in Multics) and '' process
memory Memory is the faculty of the mind by which data or information is Encoding (memory), encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If Foresight (psycholo ...
''. The memory of a process consists solely of segments that were mapped into its
address space In computing, an address space defines a range of discrete addresses, each of which may correspond to a network host, peripheral device, disk sector, a computer data storage, memory cell or other logical or physical entity. For software programs t ...
. To read or write to them, the process simply uses normal
central processing unit A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just Processor (computing), processor, is the electronic circuitry that executes Instruction (computing), instructions comprising a computer program. The CPU per ...
(CPU) instructions, and the operating system takes care of making sure that all the modifications were saved to disk. In
POSIX The Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) is a family of standardization, standards specified by the IEEE Computer Society for maintaining compatibility between operating systems. POSIX defines both the system- and user-level application p ...
terminology, it is as if every file were mmap()ed; however, in Multics there is no concept of ''process memory'', separate from the memory used to hold mapped-in files, as
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of Computer multitasking, multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Corporation, AT&T Unix, whose development started in 1969 at the Bell Labs research center ...
has. ''All'' memory in the system is part of ''some'' segment, which appears in the
file system In computing, file system or filesystem (often abbreviated to fs) is a method and data structure that the operating system uses to control how data is Computer data storage, stored and retrieved. Without a file system, data placed in a storage me ...
; this includes the temporary scratch memory of the process, its kernel stack, etc. Segments are limited to 256 kilowords, just over 1  MB, because Multics hardware had 18-bit word addresses for the content of a segment. Larger files are "multisegment files" and are handled differently. The 256kW limit was rarely encountered in practice, because at the time, one megabyte of memory was prohibitively expensive. Another major new idea of Multics was
dynamic linking In computing, a dynamic linker is the part of an operating system that Loader (computing), loads and Linker (computing), links the shared libraries needed by an executable when it is executed (at "Run time (program lifecycle phase), run time"), by ...
, in which a running process can make external routines available by adding the segments containing them to its address space. This allows applications to always use the latest version of any external routine, since those routines are kept in other segments, which are dynamically linked only when a process first attempts to begin execution in them. Since different processes can use different search rules, different users can end up using different versions of external routines. Equally importantly, with the appropriate settings in the Multics security facilities, the code in the other segment can gain access to data structures maintained in a different process. Dynamic linking in Multics does not require special Dynamic-link libraries (DLLs); a program can dynamically link to any executable segment to which it has access rights. Thus, to interact with an application running in part as a daemon (in another process), a user's process simply performs a normal procedure-call instruction to a code segment to which it had dynamically linked (a code segment that implemented some operation associated with the daemon). The code in that segment can then modify data maintained and used in the daemon. When the action necessary to commence the request is completed, a simple procedure return instruction returns control of the user's process to the user's code. Multics also supports extremely aggressive on-line reconfiguration:
central processing unit A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just Processor (computing), processor, is the electronic circuitry that executes Instruction (computing), instructions comprising a computer program. The CPU per ...
s, memory banks, disk drives, etc. can be added and removed while the system continues operating. At the MIT system, where most early software development was done, it was common practice to split the
multiprocessor Multiprocessing is the use of two or more CPU, central processing units (CPUs) within a single computer system. The term also refers to the ability of a system to support more than one processor or the ability to allocate tasks between them. Ther ...
system into two separate systems during off-hours by incrementally removing enough components to form a second working system, leaving the rest still running for the original logged-in users. System software development testing could be done on the second system, then the components of the second system were added back to the main user system, without ever having shut it down. Multics supports multiple CPUs; it is one of the earliest multiprocessor systems. Multics is the first major operating system to be designed as a secure system from the outset. Despite this, early versions of Multics were compromised repeatedly. This led to further work that makes the system more secure, and prefigured modern
security engineering Security engineering is the process of incorporating security controls into an information system so that the controls become an integral part of the system’s operational capabilities. It is similar to other systems engineering activities in tha ...
techniques. Break-ins became very rare once the second-generation hardware base was adopted; it has hardware support for ring-oriented security, a multilevel refinement of the concept of master mode. A US Air Force tiger team project tested Multics security in 1973 under the codeword ZARF. On 28 May 1997, the American National Security Agency declassified this use of the codeword ZARF. Multics is the first operating system to provide a hierarchical file system, and file names can be of almost arbitrary length and syntax. A given file or directory can have multiple names (typically a long and short form), and symbolic links between directories are also supported. Multics is the first to use the now-standard concept of per- process stacks in the
kernel Kernel may refer to: Computing * Kernel (operating system), the central component of most operating systems * Kernel (image processing), a matrix used for image convolution * Compute kernel, in GPGPU programming * Kernel method, in machine learnin ...
, with a separate stack for each security ring. It is also the first to have a command processor implemented as ordinary user code – an idea later used in the
Unix shell A Unix shell is a command-line Interpreter (computing), interpreter or shell (computing), shell that provides a command line user interface for Unix-like operating systems. The shell is both an interactive command language and a scripting langua ...
. It is also one of the first written in a high-level language (Multics
PL/I PL/I (Programming Language One, pronounced and sometimes written PL/1) is a Procedural programming, procedural, imperative programming, imperative computer programming language developed and published by IBM. It is designed for scientific, eng ...
),R. A. Freiburghouse
"The Multics PL/1 Compiler"
General Electric Company, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1969.
after the
Burroughs MCP The MCP (Master Control Program) is the operating system of the Burroughs Corporation, Burroughs small, medium and large systems, including the Unisys Clearpath/MCP systems. MCP was originally written in 1961 in Executive Systems Problem Oriented ...
system written in ESPOL, an expanded version of
ALGOL Algol , designated Beta Persei (β Persei, abbreviated Beta Per, β Per), known colloquially as the Demon Star, is a bright multiple star in the constellation of Perseus (constellation), Perseus and one of the fir ...
. The deployment of Multics into secure computing environments also spurred the development of innovative supporting applications. In 1975, Morrie Gasser of MITRE Corporation developed a pronounceable random word generator to address password requirements of installations such as the Air Force Data Services Center (AFDSC) processing classified information. To avoid guessable passwords, the AFDSC decided to assign passwords but concluded the manual assignment required too much administrative overhead. Thus, a random word generator was researched and then developed in
PL/I PL/I (Programming Language One, pronounced and sometimes written PL/1) is a Procedural programming, procedural, imperative programming, imperative computer programming language developed and published by IBM. It is designed for scientific, eng ...
. Instead of being based on
phonemes In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West M ...
, the system employed phonemic segments (second order approximations of English) and other rules to enhance pronounceability and randomness, which was statistically modeled against other approaches. A descendant of this generator was added to Multics during Project Guardian.

Project history

In 1964, Multics was developed initially for the GE-645 mainframe, a 36-bit system. GE's computer business, including Multics, was taken over by Honeywell in 1970; around 1973, Multics is supported on the Honeywell 6180 machines, which included security improvements including hardware support for protection rings.
Bell Labs Nokia Bell Labs, originally named Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984), then AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), is an American industrial research and scientific development company A com ...
pulled out of the project in 1969; some of the people who had worked on it there went on to create the
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of Computer multitasking, multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Corporation, AT&T Unix, whose development started in 1969 at the Bell Labs research center ...
system. Multics development continued at MIT and General Electric. At MIT in 1975, use of Multics was declining and did not recover by 1976 to prior levels. Finally by slashing prices, MIT managed to lure users back to Multics in 1978. Honeywell continued system development until 1985. About 80 multimillion-dollar sites were installed, at universities, industry, and government sites. The French university system had several installations in the early 1980s. After Honeywell stopped supporting Multics, users migrated to other systems like Unix. In 1985, Multics was issued certification as a B2 level secure operating system using the Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria from the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) a division of the
NSA The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collectio ...
, the first operating system evaluated to this level. Multics was distributed from 1975 to 2000 by
Groupe Bull Bull SAS (also known as Groupe Bull, Bull Information Systems, or simply Bull) is a French computer company (law), company headquarters, headquartered in Les Clayes-sous-Bois, in the western suburbs of Paris. The company has also been known at var ...
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
, and by Bull HN Information Systems Inc. in the United States. In 2006, Bull SAS released the source code of Multics versions MR10.2, MR11.0, MR12.0, MR12.1, MR12.2, MR12.3, MR12.4 & MR12.5 under a
free software Free software or libre software is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, no ...
license. The last known Multics installation running natively on Honeywell hardware was shut down on October 30, 2000, at the Canadian Department of National Defence in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Current status

In 2006 Bull HN released the source code for MR12.5, the final 1992 Multics release, to MIT. Most of the system is now available as
free software Free software or libre software is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, no ...
with the exception of some optional pieces such as
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is a framework for organizing the set of communication protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks according to functional criteria. The foundational protocols in the suit ...
. In 2014, Multics was successfully run on current hardware using an emulator. The 1.0 release of the emulator is available . Release 12.6f of Multics accompanies the 1.0 release of the emulator, and adds a few new features, including command line recall and editing using the video system.


The following is a list of programs and commands for common computing tasks that are supported by the Multics
command-line interface A command-line interpreter or command-line processor uses a command-line interface (CLI) to receive command (computing), commands from a user in the form of lines of text. This provides a means of setting parameters for the environment, invokin ...
. * apl * ceil * change_wdir (cwd) *
cobol COBOL (; an acronym An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase. Acronyms are usually formed from the initial letters of words, as in ''NATO'' (''North Atlantic Treaty Organization''), but so ...
* copy (cp) *
echo In audio signal processing and acoustics, an echo is a reflection (physics), reflection of sound that arrives at the listener with a delay after the direct sound. The delay is directly proportional to the distance of the reflecting surface from t ...
emacs Emacs , originally named EMACS (an acronym for "Editor MACroS"), is a family of text editors that are characterized by their extensibility. The manual for the most widely used variant, GNU Emacs, describes it as "the extensible, customizable, se ...
floor A floor is the bottom surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from wikt:hovel, simple dirt in a cave to many layered surfaces made with modern technology. Floors may be stone, wood, bamboo, metal or any other material that can support the ex ...
* fortran (ft) * gcos (gc) * help * home_dir (hd) * if *
list A ''list'' is any set of items in a row. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname) Organizations * List College, an undergraduate division of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America * SC Germania List, German rugby uni ...
(ls) *
login In computer security, logging in (or logging on, signing in, or signing on) is the process by which an individual gains access to a computer system by identifying and authenticating themselves. The user credentials are typically some ...
(l) * logout * ltrim *
mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcards, letter (message), letters, and parcel (package), parcels. A postal service can be private or public, though many governments place restrictions on private systems. Since the mid ...
(ml) * pascal * pl1 * print (pr) * print_wdir (pwd) *
runoff Runoff, run-off or RUNOFF may refer to: * RUNOFF, the first computer text-formatting program * Runoff or run-off, another name for bleed, printing that lies beyond the edges to which a printed sheet is trimmed * Runoff or run-off, a stock marke ...
(rf) * rtrim * sort * teco * trunc * where (wh) * who * working_dir (wd)

Retrospective observations

Peter H. Salus, author of a book covering Unix's early years, stated one position: "With Multics they tried to have a much more versatile and flexible operating system, and it failed miserably". Quoting Peter Salus. This position, however, is said to have been discredited in the computing community because many of Multics' technical innovations are used in modern commercial computing systems. The permanently resident kernel of Multics, a system derided in its day as being too large and complex, was 135 KB of code. The first MIT GE-645 had 512 kilowords of memory (2 MiB), a truly enormous amount at the time, and the kernel used a moderate portion of Multics main memory. The entire system, including the operating system and the complex
PL/I PL/I (Programming Language One, pronounced and sometimes written PL/1) is a Procedural programming, procedural, imperative programming, imperative computer programming language developed and published by IBM. It is designed for scientific, eng ...
compiler In computing, a compiler is a computer program that Translator (computing), translates computer code written in one programming language (the ''source'' language) into another language (the ''target'' language). The name "compiler" is primarily ...
, user commands, and subroutine libraries, consists of about 1500 source modules. These average roughly 200 lines of source code each, and compile to a total of roughly 4.5 MiB of procedure code, which was fairly large by the standards of the day. Multics compilers generally optimise more for
code density In computer science, an instruction set architecture (ISA), also called computer architecture, is an abstract model of a computer. A device that executes instructions described by that ISA, such as a central processing unit (CPU), is called an ' ...
than CPU performance, for example using small sub-routines called ''operators'' for short standard code sequences, which makes comparison of object code size with modern systems less useful. High code density is a good optimisation choice for Multics as a multi-user system with expensive main memory. During its commercial product history, it was often commented internally that the Honeywell Information Systems (HIS) (later Honeywell-Bull) sales and marketing staff were more familiar with and comfortable making the business case for Honeywell’s other computer line, the Honeywell Level 6 , DPS 6 running General Comprehensive Operating System , GCOS. The DPS-6 and GCOS was a well-regarded and reliable platform for inventory, accounting, word processing, and vertical market applications, such as banking, where it had a sizeable customer base. In contrast, the full potential of Multics’ flexibility for even mundane tasks was not easy to comprehend in that era and its features were generally outside the skill set of contemporary business analysts. The scope of this disconnect was concretized by an anecdote conveyed by Paul Stachour, CNO/CSC:
When American Telephone and Telegraph was changing its name to just AT&T in 1983, a staffer from Honeywell’s legal department showed up and asked a Multician if he could arrange to have the name changed in all of their computerized documents. When asked when the process could be completed, the Multician replied, "It's done." The staffer repeated that he needed ''hundreds perhaps thousands'' of documents updated. The Multician explained that he had executed a global search and replace as the staffer was speaking, and the task was in fact completed.

Influence on other projects


The design and features of Multics slightly influenced the
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of Computer multitasking, multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Corporation, AT&T Unix, whose development started in 1969 at the Bell Labs research center ...
operating system, which was originally written by two Multics programmers, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. Superficial influence of Multics on Unix is evident in many areas, including the naming of some commands. But the internal design philosophy is quite different, focusing on keeping the system small and simple, and so correcting some perceived deficiencies of Multics because of its high resource demands on the limited computer hardware of the time. The name ''Unix'' (originally ''Unics'') is itself a pun on ''Multics''. The ''U'' in Unix is rumored to stand for ''wikt:uniplex, uniplexed'' as opposed to the ''wikt:multiplex, multiplexed'' of Multics, further underscoring the designers' rejections of Multics' complexity in favor of a more straightforward and workable approach for smaller computers. (Garfinkel and Abelson cite an alternative origin: Peter Neumann at Bell Labs, watching a demonstration of the prototype, suggested the pun name UNICS – pronounced "eunuchs" – as a "castrated Multics", although Dennis Ritchie is said to have denied this.) Ken Thompson, in a transcribed 2007 interview with Peter SeibelPeter Seibel. Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming. APress Publications, 2007. refers to Multics as "overdesigned and overbuilt and over everything. It was close to unusable. They [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] still claim it's a monstrous success, but it just clearly wasn't". On the influence of Multics on Unix, Thompson stated that "the things that I liked enough (about Multics) to actually take were the hierarchical file system and the shell — a separate process that you can replace with some other process". Dennis Ritchie wrote that the design of UNIX was influenced by Compatible Time-Sharing System, CTSS

Other operating systems

The Prime Computer operating system, PRIMOS, was referred to as "Multics in a shoebox" by William Poduska, a founder of the company. Poduska later moved on to found Apollo Computer, whose AEGIS and later Domain/OS operating systems, sometimes called "Multics in a matchbox", extends the Multics design to a networked graphics workstation environment. The Stratus VOS operating system of Stratus Computer (now Stratus Technologies) is very strongly influenced by Multics, and both its external user interface and internal structure bear many close resemblances to the older project. The high-reliability, availability, and security features of Multics are extended in Stratus VOS to support a new line of fault tolerant computer systems supporting secure, reliable transaction processing. Stratus VOS is the most directly-related descendant of Multics still in active development and production usage today. The protection architecture of Multics, restricting the ability of code at one level of the system to access resources at another, was adopted as the basis for the security features of International Computers Limited, ICL's ICL VME, VME operating system. The Edinburgh Multiple Access System (EMAS) draws particularly on the one-level store concept used by Multics, providing access to files only by mapping them into memory. All memory space is associated with a segment.

See also

* Time-sharing system evolution * Peter J. Denning * Jack B. Dennis * Robert Fano – director of Project MAC at MIT (1963–1968) * Robert M. Graham (computer scientist) * J. C. R. Licklider – director of Project MAC at MIT (1968–1971) * Peter G. Neumann * Elliott Organick * Louis Pouzin – introduced the term ''shell'' for the command language used in Multics * Jerome H. Saltzer * Roger R. Schell * Glenda Schroeder – implemented the first command line user interface shell (computing), shell and proposed the first email system with Pouzin and Crisman * Victor A. Vyssotsky


Further reading

The literature contains a large number of papers about Multics, and various components of it; a fairly complete list is available at th
Multics Bibliography
page and on a second, briefe

(text format). The most important and/or informative ones are listed below. * Fernando J. Corbató, F. J. Corbató, Michael Schroeder, V. A. Vyssotsky
''Introduction and Overview of the Multics System''
(AFIPS 1965) is a good introduction to the system. * F. J. Corbató, C. T. Clingen, J. H. Saltzer
''Multics – The First Seven Years''
(AFIPS, 1972) is an excellent review, written after a considerable period of use and improvement over the initial efforts. * J. J. Donovan, Stuart Madnick, S. Madnick
Operating Systems
is a fundamental read on operating systems. * J. J. Donovan
Systems Programming
is a good introduction into systems programming and operating systems.

Technical details

* Jerome H. Saltzer,
Introduction to Multics
' (MIT Project MAC, 1974) is a considerably longer introduction to the system, geared towards actual users. * Elliott Organick, Elliott I. Organick, ''The Multics System: An Examination of Its Structure'' (MIT Press, 1972) is the standard work on the system, although it documents an early version, and some features described therein never appeared in the actual system. * Victor A. Vyssotsky, V. A. Vyssotsky, Fernando J. Corbató, F. J. Corbató, R. M. Graham,
Structure of the Multics Supervisor
' (AFIPS 1965) describes the basic internal structure of the Multics kernel. * Jerome H. Saltzer,
Traffic Control in a Multiplexed Computer System
' (MIT Project MAC, June 1966) is the original description of the idea of switching kernel stacks; one of the classic papers of computer science. * R. C. Daley, Peter G. Neumann, P. G. Neumann,
A General Purpose File System for Secondary Storage
' (AFIPS, 1965) describes the file system, including the access control and backup mechanisms. * R. J. Feiertag, Elliott Organick, E. I. Organick,
The Multics Input/Output System
'. Describes the lower levels of the I/O implementation. * A. Bensoussan, C. T. Clingen, R. C. Daley,

', (Association for Computing Machinery, ACM SOSP, 1969) describes the Multics memory system in some detail. * Paul Green (engineer), Paul Green,
Multics Virtual Memory – Tutorial and Reflections
' is a good in-depth look at the Multics storage system. * Roger R. Schell, ''Dynamic Reconfiguration in a Modular Computer System'' (MIT Project MAC, 1971) describes the reconfiguration mechanisms.


* Paul A. Karger, Roger R. Schell,
Multics Security Evaluation: Vulnerability Analysis
' (Air Force Electronic Systems Division, 1974) describes the classic attacks on Multics security by a "tiger team". * Jerome H. Saltzer, Michael Schroeder, Michael D. Schroeder,
The Protection of Information in Computer Systems
' (Proceedings of the IEEE, September 1975) describes the fundamentals behind the first round of security upgrades; another classic paper. * Michael Schroeder, M. D. Schroeder, D. D. Clark, J. H. Saltzer, D. H. Wells.
Final Report of the Multics Kernel Design Project
' (MIT LCS, 1978) describes the security upgrades added to produce an even more improved version. * Paul A. Karger, Roger R. Schell,
Thirty Years Later: Lessons from the Multics Security Evaluation
' (IBM, 2002) is an interesting retrospective which compares actual deployed security in today's hostile environment with what was demonstrated to be possible decades ago. It concludes that Multics offered considerably stronger security than most systems commercially available in 2002.

External links
is a comprehensive site with a lot of material *



discusses numerous myths about Multics in some detail, including the myths that it failed, that it was big and slow, as well as a few understandable misapprehensions *



Includes extensive overview of other software systems influenced by Multics
Open source emulator for the GE Large Systems / Honeywell / Bull 600/6000‑series mainframe computers

Honeywell, Inc., MULTICS records, 1965–1982
Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota. Multics development records include the second MULTICS System Programmers Manual; MULTICS Technical Bulletins that describe procedures, applications, and problems, especially concerning security; and returned "Request for Comments Forms" that include technical papers and thesis proposals.
Current Multics development home page

Official historical source code archive at MIT

Various scanned Multics manuals

a critical review of, plus a capsule history of Multics. {{Authority control Multics, 1969 software AT&T computers Bell Labs Discontinued operating systems Free software operating systems General Electric mainframe computers Honeywell mainframe computers Massachusetts Institute of Technology software Time-sharing operating systems Mainframe computer software