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Author Topic: B-series software  (Read 10508 times)
kdianis
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« on: February 06, 2009, 06:38:12 pm »

The Archives section of this site has several articles that mention B-series software. Where does this name come from? Was there an A-series? In my 25 years of programming using NEAT/3 and NEATVS I never found the answer.
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n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2009, 03:44:28 am »

Hi! Kdianis,

I remember that it might be the Basic series software, so-called 'B-series software',
if my memory is correct.

Have a nice weekend,
Katsuhiko, from Japan
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Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 04:10:31 pm »

Hello! all,

I remember the installed B-series operating systems pattern in Japan, as follows:

1. The pure B1 executive with software overlay area.
    The B1 executive is loaded by the boot which is located from the 2200H address by the COT boot
    that is read into the 00A0H address by pressing the LOAD button on a console. The B1 executive
    includes the software overlay caller, the ISR (Interrupt Services Routine) handler, the application
    program dispatcher, the Link-list handler and the multi-buffer handler. We, the software specialist,
    used to analyze the theoretical procedure of the B1 executive. I appreciate the artifacts by the
    software architects of the B-series.
2. The pure B2 executive with software overlay area.
    The B2 executive is loaded by the B2 initializer which is one of the software overlay of the B-series.
    The B2 executive runs in the Century 615-200 and includes the basic functions of the B1 executive
    and the realtime processing feature that is the task management, the memory management and the
    inter-task communication management. The S2 executive which is the reduced memory size of the B2
    is only for the Century 615-100 computer and can handle the single task processing.
3. The B2 and B1 executives on parallel operating in the Century 615-200 computer.
    This configuration is used for the MICR Sorter/Reader, NCR 671-101, in order to process the filing to
    the disk unit simultaneously.
4. The B3 executive with the B1 executive on partitional operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
5. The B3 executive with the B1 and B2 executives on partitional operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
6. The B4 executive with the B1 executive on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
7. The B4 executive with the B1 and B2 executives on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
8. The TOX executive with the B1 executive on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-350 computer.
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Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
uglytuna
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 06:22:47 am »

This is a very good question.  I would also like to know the answer to that one.

B1 was the "Batch" OS (Operating System) and ran on all Century models.

B2 was the "On-Line" OS.  It ran on the Century 200, usually with 64K memory.  It supported a 621 multiplexor for multi-tasked real-time communications with on-line terminals such as bank teller terminals during the day.  Then at night, the customer would run their batch applications by booting up the B1 OS.

B3 was the fixed partition "Multiprogramming" OS.  It ran on the Century 200, usually with 128K memory and used a "privileged " BAR/LAR register to maintain software address space integrity for each partition.  It was normally configured with one or two partitions running B1 set up for 32K each, and one partition running B2 set up for 64K.  This allowed our customers to run their batch jobs during the day along with their on-line application.  It was written by Herb Mick and his team of developers, and supported by myself, Dave Roberts, and Craig Ritter out of the 741 Building in Dayton.

B4 was the dynamic partition "Multiprogramming" OS (which I also supported).  It ran on the Century 300, and used Job Control Language (JCL) to dynamically create the partitions.

Herb Fish
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n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 08:36:55 am »

Hi! All,

Again, I am continuing to inroduce my experiece in NCR Japan, as follows:
3. The B2 and B1 executives on parallel operating in the Century 615-200 computer.
    This configuration is used for the MICR Sorter/Reader, NCR 671-101, in order to process the filing to
    the disk unit simultaneously.
    Yes, the B2 executive is not only dedicated to the on-line processing services, but also serving to handle the dual concurrent operation
    with the B1 executive for the Batch type application into the appropriate beginning address to be originated by the NEAT/3 Level II
    instruction, 'ORIGIN', if my memory is not indicating the 'ME' fault.
    When I was a trainee of the system analyst baby, I got an order from my trainer to check whether the sorting handler as the Class-1
    verify routine under the B1 executive that can not handle the preempt operation to give the prior processing, although the NCR Japan
    had decided to implement by the B2 executive.
    Really, The B1 based MICR Sorter/Reader handling application used to cause the sorting mechanism to make the status into
    'Too late to open the gate' so often. Because the B1 executive can not switch the processing, during the verify-1 routine to retry
    the disk I/O procedure, by another verify-1 routine to wish to issue the I/O command to a different device.
    I remember another disadvantage of the B1 executive that can not search the interrupt request through the HASP feature of the
    Century 615-200 that makes the scanning method efficiently by the queue list of the interrupt request. Thus, the B1 executive needed
    the time consuming search.
4. The B3 executive with the B1 executive on partitional operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
    I do not know any installed sites of the B3 executive on the Century 615-200 computer in Japan. I will soon introduce my surprise
    when I looked at the versatile processing of the multiprogramming with the very nice HCI (Human Computer Interface) through
    the CRT based console device of the Century 615-300, like the NCR 8250 computer.

See you later, All,
Katsuhiko

5. The B3 executive with the B1 and B2 executives on partitional operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
6. The B4 executive with the B1 executive on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
7. The B4 executive with the B1 and B2 executives on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
8. The TOX executive with the B1 executive on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-350 computer.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 08:47:47 am by n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilcy » Logged

Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
uglytuna
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2011, 01:01:10 am »

In the B-Series Operating Systems the Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) took control of the processor whenever an S3 status was received from a peripheral device indicating the termination of an INOUT (I/O) command to that peripheral.  After processing the I/O interrupt, the ISR would return control back to the program interrupted at the next command in sequence.

That process worked well for most batch peripherals such as mag tape units, disc drives, and printers.  However, as Katsuhiko pointed out, the check sorter was a different sort of beast entirely.  When the S3 came in from the MICR sorter read head, the ISR and the MICR program had to process the check and then determine which pocket to send the check before it reached that pocket or a miss-sort would occur.  The timing was critical.  A very large amount of program tuning and hardware engineering was involved to get this process to function properly.

The INOUT command and the ISR were key to the functioning of the B3 executive.  The INOUT command was a privileged command, and when issued by a program in a partition, control was trapped out to the B3 exec.  B3 would then execute the command and switch control to another partition waiting on compute time.  It did this by adding the Base Address Register and by checking the Limit Address Register (BAR/LAR) for the memory addresses in that partition.  Then, when the S3 came in from the peripheral a trap occured, computing was suspended in the active partition and the B3 ISR took control, which then returned control to the partition that issued the I/O.  In this way several partitions ran as if they were simultaneously using several processors, when in fact they were concurrently using a single processor.  Because the speeds of peripherals, being mechanical, were so much slower than the speed of the processor, it was actually a quite elegant concept and worked very well.

The main components of B3 were the Initializer, Kernel and Satellite.  The primary task of the Initializer was to create the fixed partitions.  The primary tasks of the Kernel were the ISR, privileged command processing, and processor allocation.  Because of the critical timing required to do its work, the Kernel was very tightly coded.  The primary task of the Satellite was printer spooling.

In my years of supporting the B3 OS I never saw it running on a Century 300.  It was always used on a Century 200 using a set of punched cards to initialize the B3 partitions.  Monitor NEXTDO and STOPRD cards, invoking programs or Control Strings were then read into each fixed partition to specify the processing work to be done in the partition.

B4 was developed specifically for the Century 300 and used the soft touch buttons on the CRT monitor of the Century 300 console (much like the touch screens of today).  Job Control Language (JCL) consisting of a JOB card, followed by various other JCL cards (usually specifying peripherals and spooled printers) and ending with a SPCEND card were used to dynamically invoke a variable partition.  Following the SPCEND card was the usual Monitor cards, ending with a JOBEND card.  When Monitor read the JOBEND card in the partition, control was turned over to B4 which then dissolved the partition and printed the spooled printer reports.

The Transaction Operating Executive (TOX) was written in Japan for the Century 350.  The Century 350 was sold in Japan for Sumitomo Bank.  It may have been used at other installations but I am not aware of any.

Herb Fish
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n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2011, 03:37:05 pm »

Hi! All,

4. The B3 executive with the B1 executive on partitional operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
    There is no need to add any notes regarding to the B3 style operating sites. Because Herb have completed to
    introduce the whole architecture of the multi-programming handler in the Century computer series.

5. The B3 executive with the B1 and B2 executives on partitional operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
    This operating style as a category is one of a choice to cover the capability of the general purpose computer.
    But I could not confirm this style in NCR Japan, although I have an interest in the way that the B3 handles
    the unsolicited input on the console manipulation for the B2 supported application.
6. The B4 executive with the B1 executive on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
    I had tough trouble shooting supports for a B4 installed customer. Because the B4 executive did not provide us any
    traceable information for system malfunctions, although the B4 was really an elegant operating executive under
    the best maintained computer without any needs to handle 'Verify-2 recovery' for the bad S3 response from devises.
7. The B4 executive with the B1 and B2 executives on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-300 computer.
    This category is similar to the above (5) case.
8. The TOX executive with the B1 executive on the dynamically partitioned operating in the Century 615-350 computer.
    From the view on the Realtime-UNIX, the TOX executive is similar to the Real-Time OS Kernel to manage the UNIX as one of tasks,
    and the B1 executive might be similar to the Shell for UNIX as the interpreter for commands.
    The TOX term had originally come from the phrase 'Transaction Oriented Executive'. This idea of the architecture had started
    from the NCR 315-RMC computer with the BAR/LAR functional facility and Mr. Ikuo Akiyama during mid of 1960s.
    I will introduce the short story of the birth 'TOX' in the new thread soon.

See you later,
Best regards,
Katsuhiko
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 07:23:26 am by n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse » Logged

Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
JJW
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 06:12:00 am »

As implementer of the B1 executive/kernel and designer and implementer of the B2 executive/kernel I can definitively state that "B" meant "Basic" meaning fundamental, not related to the programming language of that name. Probably reasonable for B1 but the others became more and more divorced from just providing the fundamentals but the "B" was retained.
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