ITS /I-T-S/ N. 1. Incompatible Time-sharing System, An Influential Though Highly Idiosyncratic Operating System Written For PDP-6s And PDP-10s At MIT And Long Used At The MIT AI Lab.

HomeFortune CookiesJargon File

ITS /I-T-S/ n.

1. Incompatible Time-sharing System,
an influential though highly idiosyncratic operating system written
for PDP-6s and PDP-10s at MIT and long used at the MIT AI Lab.
Much AI-hacker jargon derives from ITS folklore, and to have been
`an ITS hacker' qualifies one instantly as an old-timer of the
most venerable sort. ITS pioneered many important innovations,
including transparent file sharing between machines and
terminal-independent I/O. After about 1982, most actual work was
shifted to newer machines, with the remaining ITS boxes run
essentially as a hobby and service to the hacker community. The
shutdown of the lab's last ITS machine in May 1990 marked the end
of an era and sent old-time hackers into mourning nationwide (see
high moby). 2. A mythical image of operating-system
perfection worshiped by a bizarre, fervent retro-cult of old-time
hackers and ex-users (see troglodyte, sense 2). ITS
worshipers manage somehow to continue believing that an OS
maintained by assembly-language hand-hacking that supported only
monocase 6-character filenames in one directory per account remains
superior to today's state of commercial art (their venom against
Unix is particularly intense). See also holy wars,