The CDC 6000 series was a family of mainframe computers designed by Seymour Cray and James E. Thornton and manufactured by Control Data Corporation in the 1960s. The computers in the series were extremely fast for their time and considered to be the first supercomputers.
This document is a short guide for those interested in exploring the 6500's interactive command environment.
(Note: The author worked briefly with a CDC NOS computer 30 years ago, but all information below is based on study of the referenced manuals and experimentation on LCM's 6500. The author apologizes for any inaccuracies and welcomes corrections and improvement suggestions.)
[CONNECTED TO MUX6676 LINE 1] 16/08/24. 20.43.27. LIVING COMPUTER MUSEUM 6500. NOS 1.3-485/11. USER NUMBER XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX ← 2. PASSWORD XXXXXXXX ← 3. PORT : 5, TTY RECOVER /SYSTEM:
The 6500's Network Operating System (NOS) time-sharing system, the Interactive Facility (IAF), includes a number of subsystems, similar to applications on other computer systems, to provide various functions to the user. Subsystems can be selected explicitly by command (see below), or automatically when you select a primary file.
Although the Null subsystem provides a general-purpose environment with file and system utilities, in most cases you can move directly between subsystems as needed without going through the Null subsystem.
| ||Messaging with other users connected to the 6500.|
| ||Interactive BASIC language programming environment.|
| ||Create and run batch jobs for non-interactive programs.|
| ||Execute previously compiled programs.|
| ||Interactive Fortran language programming environment. Uses FORTRAN Version 5 compiler.|
| ||Interactive Fortran language programming environment. Uses FORTRAN Extended Version 4 compiler.|
| ||A general-purpose environment for working with files and system status and settings (although most general commands are available in other subsystems as well).|
A basic understanding of the 6500 file system is necessary to use most IAF comands.
File names my be up to seven alphanumeric (upper-case) characters and may not begin with a numeric character. The following file names are reserved by the system:
| ||List your permanent files. The second form generates a detailed list.|
| ||Prints users terminal port number, current subsystem, primary file. The second form lists user's local files|
| ||Create a new file with the current subsystem and select as your primary file.|
| ||Select existing permanent file as primary. Change subsystems if file type is different from current primary file.|
| ||List primary file contents. The second form omits printing the system header.|
| || Use
| || Save contents of primary file as permanent file (creates permanent file). May need to use
The second form saves the primary file named old in a new permanent file named new.
| || Replace permanent file with current contents of primary file. May need to use
| ||Compress multiple logical records in local file into single logical record.|
| ||Delete a permanent file|
| ||Change the name of a permanent file|
The BASIC, FTNTS, and FORTRAN subsystems provide environments for interactively creating, modifying, debugging, and running programs:
| ||Enter the BASIC subsystem. Uses the BASIC programming language interpreter.|
| ||Enter the FTNTS subsystem. Uses the FORTRAN Extended Version 4 compiler.|
| ||Enter the FORTRAN subsystem. Uses the FORTRAN Version 5 compiler.|
The tree subsystems provide a development environment similar to the original Dartmouth BASIC and versions of Microsoft BASIC for microcomputers and early PCs.
For all subsystems, program source code is stored in indirect access files. The file's subsystem flag, set when first created, indicates the file's source programming language (and compiler version for Fortran source files).
Create new source files, list and select existing source files, view contents, and save changes to source files using the file commands documented above.
Each programming subsystem includes a simple editing function for entering and modifying program source code in the primary file as follows:
|To add a source code line:|
|Type a new line sequence number followed by a space and then a program statement. Source code lines will be stored and compiled/executed in the order of line sequence numbers, so lines can be entered in any order.|
|To modify a source code line:|
|Type line sequence number of the program statement to be changed followed by a space and the modified program statement.|
|To delete a source code line:|
|Type the line sequence number followed immediately by the
GOTOand other statements.
| || Enter automatic line sequence number mode. Enter program source statements in sequence after the system-generated line numbers. Exit the mode by pressing “Esc” key followed by
| ||Renumber the source code lines in the primary file, maintaining the original sequence. In BASIC subsystem, target line numbers of GOTO and other statements are adjusted appropriately.|
| || For the BASIC subsystem, runs the primary file program. The second form omits printing of the system header.
The third form is required to compile and run programs in the FTNTS subsystem. (The “MI” argument sets the compiler field length. As of this writing it is unknown if value 12625 is valid for all programs.)
Note: As of this wiriting, the author has not yet succeeded in compiling nor running a program with the FORTRAN subsystem.
Although the programming subsystems include basic functionality for entering and modifying program source code in the primary file, the NOS Text Editor program (
EDIT) provides both advanced editing functions and the ability to edit other local files besides the primary file.
| ||Edit the primary file with Text Editor. The second form is for editing other local files.|
| ||Exit Text Editor|
Use the ACCESS subsystem to communicate with other users connected to the 6500.
|Enter the ACCESS subsystem|
| ||Find connected user's terminal port number|
| ||Send message to user.|
| ||List user's activity log.|
| ||Change user password from old to new|
| ||End user session and disconnect|
| ||End user session and return to log-in screen|
Share permanent files with other 6500 users.
| || Give access mode mode to file to all 6500 users.
| ||Give access mode mode to file to user. Default mode is read.|
| ||List permanent files in user's catalog for which you have been granted access permission.|
| ||Open permanent file file in user's catalog (must have been granted access permission).|
In order to transfer data to or from the 6500, your best option is to copy and paste. If your having trouble pasting in programs, you may want to try using TeraTerm with after altering the line delay under Setup → Additonal settings → Copy and Paste → Paste delay per line at about 250ms.
The author would like to make the following improvements to this document: