IBM System/1

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Sun Jul 16 19:21:35 2000

William Donzelli <> wrote:
> Yes, but over a very long time. The IBM minis came out of the S/360
> family in the late 1960s. IBM had a very low end S/360 intended for small
> businesses, which unfortunately, was not really a S/360 (big
> incopatibilities, like half the registers!). IBM decided to split the
> product off, as it was selling, and proved that the business minicomputer
> was a real thing.

The 360/20. It's seems unlike to me that it was really the inspiration for
the minicomputer families. They had already build minicomputer-class
machines in the past (e.g., 650, 1401, 1620/1710), and were fairly
successful with them. I think what caused them to scale up their efforts
was more a matter that the perceived they were losing a lot of market
share to DEC (and other minicomputer vendors).

> They decided to come up with a new design, the S/3, in
> the very early 1970s. It too was a good seller,

There were some intermediate stops along the way, such as the 1130/1800,
and the System/7.

One of the most interesting things about Series/3 was that they invented
a new punched card format for it.

> and led to other models
> further down the line - S/32, S/34, S/38, then S/36 (note that some of
> these machines are wildly different, but made for the same market). The
> last two were used, along with some ideas from a project called "FS", to
> make the AS/400 in the mid-1980s.

The evolution was sort of:

   S/3 ---> S/32 ---> S/34 ------------> S/36 ------\
>--> AS/400
   FS ----------------------------> S/38 ---------------/

S/38 was almost completely different from any prior shipped IBM system,
and probably not all that similar to FS (which was to be a mainframe system).
But it did inherit the "single level store" concept from FS.

> While many hackers complain and dislike AS/400s, they really are very
> interesting, well built machines (but very unhackable - one of the big
> problems for us.).

I recently acquired one, and wish I had time to test the "unhackable" part.

The newer machines are based on the PowerPC architecture (with some
extensions), and may be more "hackable" than the old CISC machines.
Received on Sun Jul 16 2000 - 19:21:35 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:57 BST