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

From: Fred Cisin <>
Date: Thu Sep 18 14:13:00 2003

On Thu, 18 Sep 2003, Gunther Schadow wrote:
> So, let's clarify the terminology: what's a mainframe anyway?
> Webster's is particularly unhelpful:
> 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 :-) :-)

ANY performance spec based definition is a moving target.
By some old definitions, my current wristwatch (Matsucom) is a mainframe.
Even any definition based on characteristics is a crapshoot. Do you want
to exclude a machine because it uses a DIFFERENT technology?

PRICE is more stable, but still has a few exceptions, such as
gold plated jewel encrusted calculators, and usually fails to take into
account Moore's law (which has brought a lot of the prices down)

An unpopular set of definitions that has a few exceptions, but has help up
fairly well over time:
"A microcomputer is one that you can pick up and carry."
"A minicoputer requires a handtruck." (casters, anyone?)
"A mainframe requires a forklift and a union moving crew." (several
regulars here have proven exceptions to THAT!)
Received on Thu Sep 18 2003 - 14:13:00 BST

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