Multics:: /muhl'tiks/ N. [from "MULTiplexed Information And Computing Service"] An Early (late 1960s) Timesharing Operating System Co-designed By A Consortium Including MIT

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:Multics:: /muhl'tiks/ n. [from "MULTiplexed Information and
Computing Service"] An early (late 1960s) timesharing operating
system co-designed by a consortium including MIT, GE, and Bell
Laboratories. Multics was very innovative for its time --- among
other things, it introduced the idea of treating all devices
uniformly as special files. All the members but GE eventually
pulled out after determining that {second-system effect} had
bloated Multics to the point of practical unusability (the
`lean' predecessor in question was {CTSS}). Honeywell
commercialized Multics after buying out GE's computer group, but it
was never very successful (among other things, on some versions one
was commonly required to enter a password to log out). One of the
developers left in the lurch by the project's breakup was Ken
Thompson, a circumstance which led directly to the birth of
{{UNIX}}. For this and other reasons, aspects of the Multics
design remain a topic of occasional debate among hackers. See also
{brain-damaged} and {GCOS}.
-- The AI Hackers Dictionary