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11 May 1998

Multics Humor at ENWGS

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Robert Matern has preserved these examples of the humor at the US Navy's Naval War Games Multics sites.

Doctor Kriegspiel

Here's a Dr.Kriegspiel Cartoon (a cartoon series specifically for ENWGS drawn by Bill Cooper of Pacer Systems - one of our IV&V testers on ENWGS). Depicted in this image is what happened when a debug halt occurred during a wargame; the players SCREAM, a programmer (in the image, it's our own chain-smoking Nick Grimes of CSC) dials-in to the process and invokes the debugger, and hopefully he's able to restart the process. Each player is depicted with a standard NWGS two-screen station... a Sanders G7 and a VIP7802... the debug terminal is a VIP7802. The "doors" shown led to the restricted area (the computer room) where the Multics host was located.

Doctor Kriegspiel #1 (1986)

In the second cartoon, the console in frame 6 is the Sanders G7 four-color graphic display with a VIP7802 alongside it.

The small text: "Hi, Boys and Girls! Welcome to Cartoon Violence Hour!"

Doctor Kriegspiel #2 (1985)

The origin of the ENWGS slang for User Friendly...

LUV (Less User Vicious). As in: We jus' LUV this stuff!

Release 2.0 introduced the new 286/386 class workstations, and the old (ICCU PDP-11/03 SBC with Sanders G7 Graphics and VIP7802) workstations were dropped. Also new was the TCD (Tactical Control Directive) Subsystem, an OPS-5 type language that allowed automation of force behavior and tactics. TCDs were developed by Jon Buser, Dr. Joe Sowers, and several others at SDF (Moorestown, NJ) using the Multics Reduction Compiler. They're still a part of ENWGS... having been re-implemented using LEX and YACC on HP-UX.

I LUV that ELVIS message! <g>

Doctor Kriegspiel #3 (release 2.0 from 1987)


ENWGS Party Directions

The following were the directions to an ENWGS CSC staff Christmas Party in 1987, written by the Site Manager Mike Suman (who no longer lives at this address)...

  find_party_ee: procedure;
  begin;

  if time =< 121800 DEC 87
  and if
  residence = (Newport, Middletown, Westport)
  set turn = R
  and obtain_tokens_ee
  residence = (North_Kingstown, Narragansett, Warwick)
  set turn = L
  residence = Jamestown then goto crossing Capstan_Street
  end if
  intercept route 138
  proceed to Jamestown
  when condition_of_arrival = stop_light
  if
  turn = R then call right_turn_ee
  turn = L then call left_turn_ee
  end if
  proceed north on North_Road for miles = 1 and 112
  crossing Capstan_Street then call slow_down_ee
  when condition of arrival =
  West_Reach_Drive call left_turn_ee
  first_street_to_right call right_turn_ee
  first_house_on_right then
  if exists space_in_driveway call right_turn_ee
  else call park_on_street_ee
  then ambulate 130_West_Reach_Drive(Two story Colonial)
  if time =< 122000 Dec 87 then call resume_travel_
  138 West
  1 North
  4 North
  approaching nursing_home_on_right call left_lane_ee
  when condition_of_arrival = 2nd_stop_light_on_route_4
  call left_turn_ee; call follow_signs_ee
  Lafayette_Road call right_turn_ee
  Hatchery_Road call left_turn_ee
  Long_Lane call slow_down_ee
  when condition_of_arrival = second_mailbox_on_left
  if party_stay >= end call left_turn_ee
  if party_stay < end call park_on_street_ee
  ambulate 594_Hatchery_Road call tip_doorman_ee
  if condition_of_arrival = null_pointer modem 295-2114
  if time >= party_stop execute check_blood_alcohol_level_ee
  if  level < .10000000000 call drive_home_ee
  if  level > .10000000000 call Taxi_ee else
  call wife_drive_home_ee else
  call big_bucks_to_host_for_sleep_over__ee
  return
  end find_party_ee

The authors of this procedure are not (and hope to never be) programmers, therefore there are probably many compile errors - however since the primary users are programmers and therefore have difficulty understanding English, we feel compelled to make an attempt at programming.

Robert Matern adds: BTW, just for information, the suffix on find_party_ee was part of the Government's naming conventions for ENWGS software. The last two letters designate the scope of a logical name. For example: _is means internal static, _es was external static, and _ee means external entry - in other words, a callable entrypoint. This helped to differentiate ENWGS code from Multics code in the KST, in stack traces, and within the debugger environment.


SHAKESPEARIAN MULTICS

  Ah, another daye hath bit ye olde dust.
  What cometh on the morrow?
  Mayhap bugs, those insidious wretches,
  Scuttling from 'neath olde lystings.
  Or the Spectre of a Crash, 0 glorious Pain.

  We are possessed of Daemons, great and small,
  Who watch our daily processes, bumping at a whim
  Those who hoard not their bits and bytes.
  Our lives trickle away down the queue,
  To be lost forever in the labyrinth of Rings,
  Looping blindly down the corridors of Time.
  The objects of our lives are not free,
  But are tightly bound
  To the Root of the World.

  And yet, such is our quota.
  We are all terminally ill
  And virtually mad.

Robert Matern writes: Don't know who wrote the Shakespearian Multics. We got it from Dave Eastman or Peter Ames (our Honeywell hardware reps), if I recall correctly... about 1987 or so...


TOP TEN REASONS WE'LL MISS THE HONEYWELL

When ENWGS was getting rid of Multics in favor of UNIX systems, this list was posted:

TOP TEN REASONS WE'LL MISS THE HONEYWELL

10. LOW, LOW INTEREST RATE ON MY HONEYWELL MASTERCARD.

9. GOTTEN USED TO THE SOUND OF DUELING CPU'S.

8. CLICKING OF THOUSANDS OF RELAYS DROWNED OUT NOISY LINE PRINTERS.

7. EXCEPT FOR THE STEAM AND OIL LEAKS, IT'S A PRETTY GOOD COMPUTER.

6. ON COLD MORNINGS, IT COULD BE JUMP STARTED WITH A LAPTOP.

5. SEEING OUR BREATH IN THE COMPUTER ROOM.

4. BLUE SMOKE FROM THE EXHAUST DROVE THE DMV NUTS.

3. SATANIC MESSAGES IN THE OBJECT CODE.

2. RATS UNDER THE DECKPLATES THE SIZE OF SCHNAUZERS.

...AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON WE'LL MISS THE HONEYWELL...

1. MIPS? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING MIPS!

from the last month of operation of the NWC system in 1996.


If you liked this, try the Multics Humor page.

Last modified: 9/17/98