So what's the definition of a "mainframe" (Re: at&t mainframe)

From: Gunther Schadow <>
Date: Thu Sep 18 08:53:00 2003

R. D. Davis wrote:

> Let's just say that some 3Bxxxx systems are not at all small, but I
> would guess that they're still classified as minicomputers, not
> mainframes... depending upon one's definition of mainframe.

So, let's clarify the terminology: what's a mainframe anyway?

Webster's is particularly unhelpful:

Main Entry: main?frame
Pronunciation: 'mAn-"frAm
Function: noun
Date: circa 1964
: a computer with its cabinet and internal circuits; also : a large fast
computer that can handle multiple tasks concurrently

haha, so my Laptop is a mainframe :-) :-)

What they're missing is that the term "mainframe" is sometimes
applied to Oscilloscopes that come with many open slots where
you plug in special circuitry. So, a mainframe to me is a
system that consists of backplane and lots of modules, particularly
CPU modules. That would make all the VAXen takeaway VAXstations
to be mainframes.

Another definition could be: "mainframe is a large IBM computer"
whereas "big VAXen are always called 'minicomputer', even a complete
VAX 9000 system." (Whereas pre VAX computers are not computers
at all, but 'programmed data processor', but I digress :-)

Received on Thu Sep 18 2003 - 08:53:00 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:36:26 BST