[SIGCIS-Members] CAL Timesharing System (1968-1971)

Paul McJones paul at mcjones.org
Fri Sep 15 13:46:31 PDT 2023

The Computer History Museum recently acquired a set of original records (memos, manuals, source code, etc., with a full digital copy) for the CAL Timesharing System:

Records of the CAL Timesharing System, Acquisition 2022.0154, Computer History Museum.

CAL TSS was developed by a half-dozen programmers over about three years. It was operated for about two years on one system, serving a user community in the dozens. Funding ran out just as full functionality was achieved. The archives at the Computer History Museum as well as fairly extensive administrative records from the Office of the Chancellor at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library make the project a possible topic for future studies in timesharing system development circa 1970.

This paper summarizes the project history and serves as an introduction to the records at CHM:

Paul McJones and David Redell.
History of the CAL Timesharing System.
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 45, no. 3, Jul-Sep 2023.

Abstract: The CAL Timesharing System (CAL TSS) was developed at the University of California at Berkeley between 1968 and 1971 to provide interactive computing for research and instruction. It ran on a mainframe computer, the Control Data Corporation 6400, and was one of the earliest systems to use capabilities for protection. Using our memories, archival records, and files preserved by McJones that are part of a donation to the Computer History Museum, we discuss the origin of the project, development of the software, and the brief experience using the system before it was shut down in May 1972.

I worked on the system as an undergraduate (as did Dave as a graduate student) at Berkeley; I collected the records and donated them to CHM.

Paul McJones
paul at mcjones.org

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