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The Alto-Dolphin-Dorado Briefing Blurb
A Glossary of Terms, Subsystems, Directories, and Files
(and acronyms, protocols, and other trivia)
ADL keyboardADL is a acronym for the Advanced Development Laboratory, a part of PARC located in Southern California. This organization came up with the ADL keyboard as an inexpensive alternative to Microswitch keyboards, and they were used on the first few builds of Alto II’s. They have extra columns of function keys separated from the primary keys on both sides; the feel of an ADL keyboard is unique.
AdobeA program for submitting, collecting, and managing AR’s. Subsumes the functionality of the former ARSubmit.
AlpineA project within CSL to build a transactional file server for use by data base systems to be built within Cedar and the hypothetical Cedar universal file system. A follow-on to Juniper.
AltoIf you don’t know by now...
AltoFontGuide.PressA file that tells all about the existing families of display screen raster fonts, and describes how they are organized as different subdirectories on [Ivy]<AltoFonts>.
APCIn the armed forces, an acronym for Armored Personnel Carrier; used to refer to the massive cabinet designed to housebreak a Dorado. No one seems to know what the acronym really stands for in the Dorado case: Armored Personal Computer, or Armored Processor Carrier are two possibilities.
ARAcronym for Action Request: a report of a bug or a request for a new feature. AR’s are part of mechanism developed within SDD for handling feedback from users of programs to their implementors. AR’s are only relevant for software produced by SDD.
ARSubmitNetwork-bootable program for submitting AR’s (widely reviled).
ASDAcronym for Advanced Systems Department, which was once a part of XBS, but was disbanded some time ago.
bankA unit of measurement of primary storage, equal to 64K 16-bits words, or equivalently, 128K bytes. An Alto II has four banks, while Dorados have at least eight.
barA generally thin, generally rectangular, generally invisible region of the screen in which certain generally display-related actions occur, e.g., the scroll bar, the line-select bar.
Bayhill Another name for Building 96, occupied by part of SDD. The Bayhill building is located on Hillview just before it runs into Arastradero.
BCPLA system programming language used as the basis for many Alto facilities. Also, the compiler for that language.
BFSAn acronym for Basic File System; the contents of a disk or partition used by the Alto world. Also a standard software package for low-level management of an Alto file system.
BITBLT(pronounced "bit-blit"). A complex Alto instruction used for moving and possibly modifying a rectangular bitmap. The "BLT" part is an acronym for BLock Transfer.
bitmapGenerally refers to a representation of a graphical entity as a sequence of bits directly representing image intensity at the points of a raster. The Alto display hardware and microcode process what is essentially a bitmap of the image to be displayed. At PARC, bitmaps are normally stored in word-aligned, pure row-major order.
BoardwalkAnother name for Building 35, the main building of PARC (mostly heard in the conversation of residents of PARC-place).
bootShort for "bootstrap", which is in turn short for "bootstrap load". Refers to the process of loading and starting a program on a machine whose main memory has undefined contents.
boot buttonThe small button behind an Alto keyboard used (sometimes in conjunction with the keyboard) to boot some program into execution. One of several such small buttons on a Dolphin or Dorado.
boot serverA computer on the network that provides a retrieval service for certain stand-alone programs. See NetExec.
bootlightsA screen pattern resembling a city skyline. Occurs occasionally when some erroneous unanticipated condition arises, e.g., getting a parity error in a BCPL program on a disk that doesn’t have Swat.
Bravo.runAn integrated text editor and document formatting program that runs on the Alto; a vital program that nevertheless is no longer maintained or supported.
BravoBug.runA program used when Bravo crashes to replay the editing actions up to the point of the crash, and/or to report the problem. (For some time, Bravo has been receiving only such maintenance as is truly unavoidable, so ignore the reporting function.)
BravoX.runA successor to Bravo written in Butte with somewhat greater functionality and a somewhat richer interface. Warning!: BravoX source files are stored in a weird and wonderful format that almost NO programs other than BravoX can handle. Also, BravoX runs, at the moment, only on Alto II’s and (perhaps?) Dolphins.
bug awardRefers to a relatively recent custom within CSL and ISL, wherein those brave souls responsible for ferreting out the cruelest and most intricate bugs in critically important systems are rewarded for their efforts by being presented with a cute little bug-shaped sticker that they can then display on their office nameplate or elsewhere (the rough equivalent of a gold star).
Building 32A part of PARC, located on Hanover Street, north of Page Mill. Also called PARC-place.
Building 34A part of PARC, located on Hillview, just across Coyote Hill from the Building 35, the home of the ICL.
Building 35The main building of PARC, located at the intersection of Coyote Hill and Hillview. The site of the cafeteria. Occasionally called Boardwalk (to contrast it with PARC-place).
Building 37A part of PARC, located on Hanover Street, north of Page Mill, and just south of PARC-place. The site of the CSL Electronic Model Shop.
Building 96A part of OPD, located where Hillview runs into Arastradero; also called the Bayhill building. Current home of some parts of SDD.
ButteA new compiler for BCPL that outputs Mesa-style byte codes instead of Nova assembly code; also, the byte codes themselves, and the microcode that implements them.
byte codeLisp, Mesa, Smalltalk, and Butte at PARC compile into directly executable languages that are stack oriented, and whose op codes are usually one byte long. Such an instruction is called a byte code. These byte codes are in turn interpreted by special microcode.
CabernetA particular Alto mail server that is part of the Grapevine distributed transport mechanism, located in CSL.
CascadeSee PreCascade.
CedarA large project in CSL to build a programming environment for essentially all of CSL’s future applications. Cedar is also the name of the programming language upon which this Cedar system is built, a variant of Mesa augmented by garbage collection and run-time types. The design of the Cedar environment was strongly influenced by the programming environment and services in Interlisp.
CedarGraphicsA subroutine package of graphic primitives that forms an important part of Cedar. Its design was heavily influenced by the results of experimental systems written in JaM.
CenterPunchAn old name for Hornet.
ChardonnayAn Alto mail server that is part of the Grapevine distributed transport mechanism.
ChatA subsystem that permits teletype-like, interactive access to a remote computer on the network. Used also to refer to a facility resembling that provided by this subsystem, e.g., FTP is said to have a Chat window. Chat is mainly used to communicate with Maxc and IFS servers.
ChipmunkA D-machine program for interactively creating and editing integrated circuit designs. Chipmunk makes use of a color display in addition to the normal black-and-white one. It is a successor to Icarus.
ChollaA Laurel-based process control program being written for ICL with help from CSL.
clickA manipulation of a mouse button. Pushing and releasing a mouse button several times in quick succession is sometimes called a ``double-click’’, ``triple-click’’, etc. as appropriate.
clientA program (rather than a person) that avails itself of the services of another program or system. Laurel is a client of Grapevine. See user.
CloverA Dover located in CSL.
CloverFonts.PressA file that lists by family name, face, size, and rotation all of the fonts in Clover’s font dictionary; available on [Ivy]<Fonts>. To see the characters themselves, check out the book located on top of Clover called CloverCharacters.Press.
CoCoPilotA world-swap debugger for CoPilot.
Com.cmA file used by the Alto Executive to store the current command being executed. See
configA source file that tells the Mesa Binder how to assemble modules into a complete system.
CoPilotA world-swap debugger for Pilot.
CopyDisk.runA stand-alone program used to transfer a BFS, that is, the entire contents of a disk or partition. May be used between computers or on a single computer with multiple disk drives.
CSLAcronym for Computer Science Laboratory, a part of the Systems Center of PARC, located on the second floor of Building 35.
CSL NotebookA mechanism for distributing, indexing, and generally sharing the documentary output of folk in CSL.
D-machineA supergeneric name, referring to any of the current machines within Xerox that implement the PrincOps architecture: Dandelions, Dolphins, and Dorados are the primary D-machines.
DaisyA Dover located in the Bayhill building.
DandelionThe (former?) name of the processor that is in the Star products; an example of a D-machine.
deadEither not currently operational (said of a piece of hardware), or operational but not currently undergoing continued development and support (said of bodies of software).
DealerThe name of CSL’s weekly meeting, occurring on Wednesday afternoons from 1:15 until 2:45 (or so); also used to refer to the person speaking at that meeting. Giving such a presentation is referred to as ``giving a Dealer’’ or sometimes ``Dealing’’.
DDS.runAcronym for Descriptive Directory System. An Alto subsystem providing more sophisticated manipulation of the file system than is available with the Executive. See also Neptune, which is a poor man’s DDS: it provides most of the functionality but uses less disk space and time.
DfFilesA collection of programs for describing and automatically retrieving and building complicated Mesa systems. Built by Eric Schmidt as a forerunner of real system models, DfFiles primarily addresses the problems engendered by our current feudal and highly non-universal collection of file systems. See [Ivy]<CedarLib>DfFiles>DfFiles.Bravo or ditto.Press.
dirtballA small, perhaps struggling outsider; not in the major or even the minor leagues. For example, ``Xerox is not a dirtball company’’. The author is uncertain to what degree this term is derogatory.
DiskDescriptorA file that contains the disk allocation information used by the Alto file system.
DLISPA version of Interlisp running on Maxc that communicates with some fancy display manipulation facilities on the Alto; largely supplanted and not to be confused with Interlisp D.
DLSAcronym for Data Line Scanner: an Alto equipped with lots of modems plus other hardware and microcode to allow dialing into and out of the Internet.
DMT.bootAcronym for Display Memory Tester. A memory diagnostic for the Alto. DMT is automatically booted from the network by the Alto Executive after the Alto has been idle for about 20 minutes. DMT accepts various commands; try pushing the "S" key, and also try typing shift-swat. Designing cursors for DMT is a popular sport: send your suggestion as a list of 16 octal numbers to David Boggs (Boggs.PA), along with a suggested title line and an indication of whether you want to be credited by name.
DOCA Cedar concept and collection of programs for giving flexible active views of various forms of structured data, text or otherwise. DOCs were once called documents.
DolphinGeneric name for a personal computer once called the D0.
DoradoGeneric name for a high-performance personal computer designed by CSL.
DoverGeneric name for a type of 384 bpi laser-scan printer built on the Xerox 7000 xerographic engine and connected to an Alto by means of a Orbit interface. Successor to EARS. Dovers are normally driven by Spruce.
DragonGeneric name of a new, custom-chip processor being designed by a team in CSL; it is hoped that the Dragon will satisfy our ambitions to have ``a Dorado in a shoe box’’.
Draw.runAn Alto subsystem that permits interactive construction of pictures composed of lines, curves, and text; not a very solid system. Draw users may be interested to note that a program ReDraw exists that converts Draw source files into Press files that will print without the jaggies on a Dover.
Dumper.bootA file used for desperation debugging. Dumps (most of) the current core image to Swatee for subsequent inspection by a debugger.
DWIMAcronym for Do What I Mean: a facility intended to make LISP do what you mean, not what you say.
EARSAcronym for Ether Alto Research SLOT. An obsolete prototype laser-scan printer built on the Xerox 7000 xerographic engine and equipped with a hardware character generator. (Interesting to some as an example of a third level acronym: the S in EARS stands for SLOT, and the L in SLOT stands for LASER, and LASER itself is an acronym!)
Electronic Model Shop An arm of CSL located on Hanover street in Building 37; this group of folks do small-scale production runs of computer equipment for CSL. Frequently called the Garage.
EmPress.runAn Alto subsystem used to convert text files to Press format and ship them to a Press printer server.
EOSAcronym for Electro-Optical Systems; a part of Xerox located in Pasadena.
ErnestineAn Alto server that allows you to dial up and read your mail while it is sitting in your Grapevine mailbox; primarily useful when, due to travel or whatever, your personal computer and Laurel are unavailable.
EthernetThe communication line connecting several Altos (or other computers with compatible interfaces) together. Strictly speaking, an Ethernet is a single, continuous piece of co-axial cable, but the term is sometimes applied to the entire network accessible through the cooperation of Gateways (which is more correctly called an InterNet). Every Ethernet within an InterNet has a unique identifying number. Ethernets come in two flavors: the original Ethernet, now called the Experimental Ethernet, was built within PARC and runs at 3 MBits/sec. The Ethernet that has been proposed as a communication standard is a re-engineering that runs at 10 MBits/sec. All of the Ethernets currently within PARC are of the earlier, 3 MBits/sec variety.
Executive.runA distinguished Alto subsystem that provides simple commands to inspect and manipulate the file system directory, and to initiate other subsystems.
file extensionThe portion of a file name that appears following a period (possibly null). By convention, a number of extensions are reserved to indicate the type of data in the file, though not all subsystems are consistent in their defaulting of extensions. Some commonly encountered extensions are:
~an Executive command (not really an extension)
Alto screen font
Mesa object program module
BCPL source program module
an entire file system gathered into a file
program invokable by booting
BCPL object program module
text file containing Bravo formatting information
Executive command file
Mesa source that describes how to combine modules
description of a config including path names for files
dump file (i.e., several logical files stored as one)
Swat error message file
executable (Mesa) program
new format Alto screen font
special flavor of .bcd that can be run within Laurel
history of certain program actions
Laurel mail file
Laurel table-of-contents file
Mesa source program module
Press file
executable (BCPL) program,
SIL source file for a drawing
Smalltalk source program text
Mesa symbol table (for debugging)
BCPL symbol table (for debugging)
TEX source text
font metric information, for use with TEX
ts, typescript
typescript file (log of interaction)
file serverA computer on the network that provides a file storage and retrieval service. MAXC, IFS, and Juniper are three different types of file servers, though they provide related facilities.
FLG(pronounced "flug"). A switch (usually in Lisp programs) that customizes a program’s behavior to an individual user’s working habits.
fog indexA measure of prose obscurity. Units are years of education required for understanding.
fontAn assortment of characters all of one size and style; more precisely, a mapping from a set of character codes to a consistent collection of graphic images.
Fonts.widthsA file containing character-width information for a large number of fonts. Used by many programs that do text formatting while producing Press files. The standard source is [Ivy]<Fonts>Fonts.Widths.
FTP.runAcronym for File Transfer Protocol (or Program). An Alto program that provides a convenient user interface to the file transfer protocol, enabling the transfer of files between co-operating computers on the Internet.
GarageA nickname for the Electronic Model Shop, a part of CSL.
GatewayA computer serving as a forwarding link between separate Ethernets. Gateways may also perform certain server functions, such as name lookup.
GrapevineThe distributed electronic message transport system; it has a set of protocols all its own, and provides various server functions such as authentication.
GriffinA Mesa illustration program, a successor to Draw. Excellent on filled areas, and handles color. Griffin was the source of many of the pretty pictures hanging near Lilac.
group(when referring to Grapevine) A set of R-names. The standard interpretation of a group is a distribution list. For example, CSL↑.PA is the group of all people in CSL, in case they all should get copies of a message. Groups can also be used for other purposes, such as access control. The R-names that constitute a group are called its members. In addition, a group has friends and owners: a friend is someone who may add or delete herself from the group, while an owner may add or delete anyone from the group.
GuibasA unit of complexity of mathematical arguments, defined to be Leo’s maximum sustainable hair-level. For practical purposes, the milliGuibas is a more reasonable unit.
HardyA Tool that provides the functionality of Laurel in the PreCascade environment: a client of Grapevine.
HornetGeneric name for a family of 300 bpi laser-scanned printers, built on top of 2600 copiers.
IbisAn IFS server in SDD/Palo Alto.
IcarusAn Alto-based program for creating and editing integrated circuit designs graphically and interactively.
IdunAn IFS server in SDD/Palo Alto: the home file server of the Pilot group.
ICLAcronym for Integrated Circuit Laboratory, a part of the Science Center of PARC, located in Building 34.
IFSAcronym for Interim File System. An Alto-based file server. Several distinct IFS servers exist on various Ethernets, including Ivy, Ibis, Iris, Idun, Igor, Phylum, XEOS, Erie, and about 15 others.
IgorAn IFS server in SDD/Palo Alto: the home file server of the Mesa group. This name should be pronounced ``Eye-gore’’, as in the movie Young Frankenstein.
ISLAcronym for Imaging Sciences Laboratory, a part of the Systems Center of PARC, and located on the second floor of Building 35.
InscriptsA mechanism for keeping track of user input to a program in a general way (key strokes, mouse clicks, and the like), for use within Cedar.
installA term applied to the Alto Operating System and a number of subsystems (notably Bravo), referring to a procedure whereby certain configuration options are established. Frequently, what is really going on is that the program being installed is salting away somewhere the current hard disk addresses of the pages of important files, so that later access to those files can avoid the tedious operations of looking up the file in a directory and chaining through disk headers to get to the right place within the file.
InterlispA dialect of Lisp with a large library of facilities and a 15-pound reference manual. Interlisp D is a dialect of Interlisp that is being developed for use on D-machines by people at PARC-place.
InterPressA printing file format standard that is being developed: a second cut at the same issues addressed by Press format.
IrisAn IFS server in SDD/Palo Alto, which serves as the official source of released Pilots.
IvyAn IFS server in PARC, used by CSL and ISL.
[Ivy]<AltoFonts>A directory on which screen fonts for the Alto are stored (extension .AL). Subdirectories are used on this directory to distinguish various families of display screen fonts that have accumulated over the years.
[Ivy]<BasicDisks>A directory on which the standard starting configurations for Alto disks are stored, as files with extension ``.bfs’’. The normal way to initialize a new Alto pack is to use CopyDisk to retrieve one of these disk images.
[Ivy]<Cedar>The source of actual Cedar code and documentation.
[Ivy]<CedarLib>A library of packages for use within Cedar.
[Ivy]<Fonts>A directory containing various documents of printing interest, including Fonts.widths. You might be interested in CloverFonts.Press, and/or AltoFontGuide.Press.
[Ivy]<Mesa>A directory on which Mesa programs (source and object) and documentation are stored. Additional facilities of interest to Mesa programmers may also be found on <MesaLib>.
[Ivy]<MesaLib>A directory on which Mesa utilities and packages (source, object and documentation) are stored. Standard Mesa programming facilities may be found on <Mesa>.
[Ivy]<Pilot>Doc>The home of the memo SettingUpPilot.
[Ivy]<APilot>A directory that is periodically reinitialized as a complete copy of [Idun]<APilot#0>, where "#" is the most recent pilot release (currently #=6).
jaggiesThe annoying sharp corners visible when curves are imaged on a raster device without sufficient resolution.
JaMAcronym for John (Warnock) and Martin (Newell). An interactive language with a simple, stack-oriented execution model and equipped with lots for graphic operations as primitives; implemented in Mesa.
JuniperAn Alto-based distributed file system, built within CSL.
JuntaA technique for eliminating layers of the Alto Operating System that are not required by a particular subsystem.
KanjiA Dover in Building 34.
KBAAcronym for Knowledge-Based Assistance. Refers to a former project in CSL.
KRLAcronym for Knowledge Representation Language. Refers to a former project in CSL.
LampsonA unit of speech rate. 1 Lampson is defined as Butler’s maximum sustained speed. For practical applications, the milliLampson is a more appropriate unit.
LaurelAn Alto-based, display-oriented program that provides access to the facilities of Grapevine.
LeafA page-level file access protocol supported by some IFS’s.
level i system(for i B [1..3]). A terminology for classifying (software) systems according to their intended user community:
1implementors only
implementors and friendly users
naive users
LibrarianA Tajo program for check-in/check-out of the modules of a large Mesa system, used in SDD; also, a server for this program.
LilacA Puffin located in CSL, right next to Clover.
logical volumeA portion of a physical volume that is being used to support a Pilot environment: the Pilot equivalent of a partition.
LRGAcronym for Learning Research Group, a part of the Science Center of PARC.
MaggieA tape server; that is, a machine on the Internet with tape drives that it will let a requesting machine use.
MagicAcronym for Multiple Analyses of the Geometry of Integrated Circuits. A system for dealing with VLSI designs: printing them, converting them among formats, examining them with various programs.
MakeConfigA program that reads Mesa configs and bcds and produces a collection of commands that will compile and bind the many modules of a system in the correct manner to build a consistent system. For documentation, see [Ivy]<CedarLib>MakeConfig>MakeConfig.Press and ditto.bravo.
MarionA Librarian server in SDD/Palo Alto.
Markup.runA (dead) Alto subsystem for editing Press files.
MAXCAcronym for Multi-Access Xerox Computer (pronounced "Max"). A locally produced computer that is functionally similar to the DEC PDP-10. At one time, there were two MAXC’s, named Maxc1 and Maxc2, but Maxc1 has gone away forever. From now on, ``Maxc1’’, ``Maxc2’’, and ``Maxc’’ are all names for the same machine, which used to be called Maxc2.
[Maxc]<Alto>A directory on which standard Alto (BCPL) programs and subsystems are stored. Only object code files (extension .BR) and runnable files (extension .RUN) are stored here; source files and documentation are stored on [Maxc]<AltoSource> and [Maxc]<AltoDocs>, respectively.
[Maxc]<AltoDocs>A directory on which documentation for Alto programs is stored. Common extensions are .PRESS (for files directly printable by Press or Spruce), and .TTY (plain text). See [Maxc]<AltoSource> and [Maxc]<Alto> for corresponding source and object files.
[Maxc]<AltoSource>A directory on which source versions of standard Alto programs are stored. Corresponding object versions and documentation are stored on <Alto> and <AltoDocs>, respectively.
[Maxc]<Forms> A directory containing files that are usable as templates (in Bravo) for various kinds of documents (e.g., memos, letters, reports).
[Maxc]<Printing>A directory containing printing and graphics programs.
[Maxc]<PrintingDocs>A directory containing documentation related to printing and graphics facilities such as Press files and font file formats.
[Maxc]<Secretary>A directory containing standard distribution lists for use with SNDMSG.
[Maxc]<SubSys>A directory containing standard TENEX subsystems.
MokelumneA former release of Pilot.
MenloA Dover located in ISL.
menuA collection of text strings or icons on a display screen generally used to represent a set of possible actions.
MesaA PASCAL-like, strongly typed, system programming language developed by CSL and SDD.
MesaNetExecA Mesa implementation of the NetExec; valuable because it knows how to load Othello.
MetaFontA font-designing language built by Don Knuth at Stanford, and used to generate fonts for use with TEX. Metafont is available as MF.Sav on Maxc.
Microswitch keyboard Microswitch is a company that make keyboards. The standard Alto keyboard, also in use at PARC on Dolphins and Dorados, is made by Microswitch. In contrast, see ADL keyboard.
MIGAn acronym for Master Image Generator: a high-resolution laser-scanning printer, based on a photographic process. The MIG-1 can run up to 2000 bpi, while the slightly different MIG-3 runs at about 800 bpi.
MockingbirdA music system that runs on a Dorado with an attached audio synthesizer and its keyboard. The goal of Mockingbird is to relieve the serious composer of some of the clerical burden of writing out scores for music as it being composed.
MTypeAnother early product of the system modelling effort: for information, see [Ivy]<CedarLib>MType>MType.Press or ditto.bravo.
name lookupIn the context of network communications, the process of mapping a string of characters to a network address. Also, the protocol that defines the mechanism for performing such a mapping.
name lookup serverA computer that implements the name lookup protocol.
NeptuneAn Alto subsystem providing more sophisticated manipulation of the file system than is available with the Executive. See also DDS, which provides still more bells and whistles at the expense of time and space.
NetExec.bootA mini-Executive usable without a disk and obtainable directly from the Ethernet (from a boot server). The NetExec makes available a number of useful stand-alone programs, including CopyDisk, Scavenger, FTP, a number of diagnostics, and lots of neat games.
network addressA pair of numbers <network number, host number> that uniquely identifies any computer in an Internet.
NurseryA large room in CSL, across from the Commons; so named because it was to be where new printers would be nursed to life, and also where fresh blood (summer interns and the like) would be housed. Does this mean that Bob Taylor thinks of graduate students as infants? I don’t think so; course, I could be wrong... The funny windows were intended to make it convenient to hold demonstrations in the Nursery with some of the audience on the outside, looking in.
OISAn acronym for Office Information Systems: a name for a concept, a type of product, and (perhaps) a market, not a particular organization.
OPDAn acronym for Office Products Division, of which SDD is a part.
OrbitA high performance image generator designed to merge source rasters into a raster output stream for a SLOT printer (e.g., Dover). So named because it ORs bits into buffers.
OSAcronym for Operating System. Generally used to refer to the Alto Operating System, which is stored in the file Sys.boot. Rarely used locally to refer to the operating system of the same name that runs on IBM 360/370 computers.
OthelloA network-bootable Pilot utility, good for initializing logical volumes and the like.
page (on a disk)A unit of length: an Alto page is 512 bytes, while an IFS page is 2048 bytes.
PARCAcronym for Palo Alto Research Center.
PARC-placeAnother name for Building 32, located on Hanover.
partitionA chunk of a large local disk that is being used to emulate the largest system disk that the Alto OS allows. A Dorado has five partitions, while a Dolphin has two. Partitions are numbered starting at 1; the phrase ``partition 0’’ refers to the current default partition. The current partition is use is determined by the contents of some registers that belong to the disk microcode. You can change these registers with the ``partition.~’’ command available in the Executive and in the NetExec. A (14-sector) partition has 22,736 Alto pages (11.6 MBtyes). It took a little adroit shoehorning to fit two full partitions onto a Dolphin’s disk: it turns out that a Shugart 4000 has just one too few cylinders to squeeze in two full partitions. So we have to ask the heads to seek off the end of the advertised disk (on the inside, it happens), and put one more cylinder in there! Ah, the joys of hardware hacking...
PasMesaA program that more or less compiles Pascal source into Mesa source, and hence assists in importing Pascal programs into our environment; developed in CSL.
path nameA complete description of a directory or subdirectory on which files may be stored—everything you need to know to get the file except the file name. A path name consists of a machine name in square brackets followed by a directory name in angle brackets, optionally followed by one or more subdirectory names, each followed by a right angle bracket.
PenguinGeneric name for a type of 384 bpi laser-scan printer built on the Xerox 5400 xerographic engine, and connected to an Alto by means of an Orbit interface. Penguins have better solid-area development than Dovers, and can also print two-sided. They are normally driven with Spruce.
PhylumAn IFS in PARC-place.
physical volumeThe name for a disk pack in Pilot.
PIEAcronym for Personal Information Environment. Implemented in Smalltalk, PIE uses a description language to support the interactive development of programs, and to support the office-related tasks of document preparation, electronic mail, and database management. For more information, browse [Ivy]<PIE>.
PilotAn operating system that runs on D-machines, and was produced in SDD for use by Star and future products. Pilot is also the current base for Cedar.
PineThe page-level file access protocol used by Juniper.
plaid screenOccurs when certain kinds of memory smashes overwrite the display bitmap area or control blocks. The term "salt & pepper" refers to a different pattern of similar origin.
PlateMakerAn old name for the MIG.
PoplarAn interactive programming language system running on the Alto, an experimental system in the direction of programming by relatively inexperienced users. Useful for text manipulation applications.
PoseidonA Tool that provides the functionality of Neptune in the PreCascade environment.
PreCascadeThe current version of an interim integrated Mesa development facility based on Pilot. A future version (and a prior version, confusingly enough) will be (was) called simply Cascade. When operating in PreCascade, editing, compiling, binding, and creature comforts all happen inside of the CoPilot world. A world-swap occurs to the Pilot world only when actually trying out the program currently undergoing development.
PressA file format used to encode documents to be transmitted to a printer. Also, a printing server program, written in BCPL, that can print curves and raster images as well as characters and rules.
PressEdit.runA subsystem that recombines Press files on a page-by-page basis; it can also merge illustrations into documents, although requesting this is a somewhat arcane and delicate operation.
PrincOpsThe Xerox Mesa Processor Principles of Operation, essentially a description of a particular abstract machine. D-machines implement the PrincOps architecture, and Pilot was constructed to run on PrincOps machines.
printer serverA computer that provides printing services, usually for files formatted in a particular way. The term also refers to the specific software that converts such files into a representation that can be processed by a specific printer hardware interface. Spruce is an example of a printer server program.
productsThe following is a list of the most commonly encountered Xerox product numbers and their distinguishing characteristics:
800typewriter-based, word-processing terminal
860display-based, word-processing terminal
2600desktop copier
31003 sec/page copier, good solid black-area development
45001 sec/page copier, 2-sided copying
54001 sec/page copier, good resolution
57001 sec/page laser-scan printer
650020 sec/page copier, color copying
70001 sec/page copier
8000’sthe parts of Star have numbers in this range
9200offset-quality, .5 sec/page copier
9700offset-quality, .5 sec/page, laser-scan printer
PSDAcronym for Printing Systems Division.
PuffinGeneric name for a type of 384 bpi laser-scan color printer built on the Xerox 6500 xerographic engine, and normally driven by Press.
PUPAcronym for PARC Universal Packet. The structure used to transmit blocks of information (packets) on the Ethernet. Also, one such unit of information: a datagram. Bob Metcalfe once remarked that this name was chosen since all prior PARC communication protocols were ``real dogs’’.
QuakeA Dover on the first floor of Building 35.
R-NameA complete name from Grapevine’s point of view: R-names have two parts, a prefix and a registry separated by a dot, as in ``Anderson.PA’’. R-names that designate distribution lists end in an "↑", as in ``CSL↑.PA’’.
registryA concept used by Grapevine to partition the space of names. ``PA’’, ``WBST’’, and ``EOS’’ are examples of registries.
Rem.cmA file used by the Alto Executive to store commands to be interpreted after the current one has completed. See
replayRefers to a Bravo facility that permits recovery after a crash. See BravoBug.
Reticle GeneratorA version of the MIG that will print directly on masks for integrated circuits.
RockhopperA Penguin in the Bayhill building.
RubiconThe current release of Pilot.
ruleA printing term describing a rectangle whose sides are parallel to the coordinate axes; usually thin enough in one dimension or the other to be thought of as a (horizontal or vertical) line.
Scavenger.bootA program available through the NetExec that checks for damaged file structures in a BFS and tries to repair them.
Science CenterHalf of PARC; the other half is the Systems Center. The rationale behind the specifics of the division are unclear.
scrollRefers to a method of repositioning text on a display as though it were part of a long, continuous sheet of paper.
SDDAcronym for System Development Division, a part of OPD.
SettingUpPilotA memo on how to set up a Pilot world on a Dolphin and Dorado, with lots of good dope on what is really going on; available on [Ivy]<Pilot>Doc>.
SIL.runAcronym for Simple ILlustrator. An illustrator program used for logic design and drawing in general. A weird but efficient user interface; solid performance.
serverA computer dedicated to performing some collection of service functions for the communal good (e.g., a printer server).
SLOTAcronym for Scanning Laser Output Transducer.
SmalltalkAn integrated programming system based on object style and message passing, invented and developed by LRG.
SnapshotAnother early product of the system modelling effort, now mostly used to clean up partitions by means of the ``deleteall’’ option. For more data, see [Ivy]<CedarLib>Snapshot> or ditto.bravo.
solid-area developmentThe ability of a printer to produce large areas of black. Requests for large black areas on printers like Dovers, which don’t have this ability, will result in a fringe of dark gray around a sea of light gray.
SpruceA program that takes certain simple Press files (primarily text and rules), converts them to a form acceptable by an Orbit interface, and prints them.
SSLAcronym for System Science Laboratory, a former part of the Science Center of PARC. What used to be SSL now exists as a collection of ``groups’’ or ``areas’’ (of which the author does not have a very good model).
StarAn OIS product of Xerox, developed within SDD. Also referred to by various product numbers in the 8000’s. The primary professional workstation of Star is the 8010. The 8000 architecture was created in CSL.
StingerA Hornet located in ISL, running Press.
subdirectoryFile directories on an IFS can be divided into a hierarchical collection of subdirectories. The subdirectory names are listed from the top of the tree down to the bottom, and are separated by the single character ">". For example, the directory [Ivy]<CedarLib> has a subdirectory called MakeConfig on which files related to the MakeConfig program or stored. To refer to the file MakeConfig.Press on this subdirectory, one would write:
subsystemA program running under a specific operating system. Normally used to refer to Alto programs that run under the Alto OS, but also used to refer to PDP-10 programs that run under TENEX.
SwatA debugger used primarily for BCPL programs. Also, the key used in conjunction with the "control" and "shift" keys to invoke the debugger. Used as a verb to refer to the act of striking these keys or entering the debugger.
SwateeA file used by debugging programs (both Swat and the Mesa debugger) to hold the core image of the program being debugged. Also used as a scratch file by many Alto subsystems. Not to be deleted under any circumstances.
Sys.bootAn Alto disk file containing the executable representation of the Alto Operating System.
SysDir.The Alto file directory. Roughly speaking, this file contains the mapping from file names to starting disk locations.
SysFont.alAn Alto screen font used by the Executive and (generally) as a default by other programs. The safest way to change your SysFont is with the Delete.~ and Copy.~ commands of the Alto Executive. Simply FTP’ing a new font on top of SysFont will cause exotic behavior during the CounterJunta when FTP is finished.
system modellingA part of the Cedar project, aiming at giving programmers help is describing the structure of large systems: getting all the versions correct and the like.
Systems CenterHalf of PARC; the other half is the Science Center. The rationale behind the specifics of the division are unclear.
TajoAn environment for developing Mesa programs that exists in both Alto and Pilot versions; this environment comes complete with a consistent philosophy about many things, including how screen space should be used, which window should be listening to the keyboard at any given moment, and much more. Each facility in the Tajo environment is called a Tool, and Tajo itself was once called the Tools Environment.
TelnetA PUP-based protocol used to establish full-duplex, teletype-like communication with a remote computer. (The term is borrowed from a similar protocol used on the Arpa network.) Chat speaks this protocol.
TenexAn operating system for the DEC PDP-10 computer, which also runs on MAXC.
TEXA document compiler written by Don Knuth at Stanford; there are two implementations of TEX at PARC, one in Sail that runs on Maxc, the other in Mesa for D-machines. TEX can handle mathematical formulas, but doesn’t let you see anything like what you get.
thumbingA technique of positioning a file (usually text) to an arbitrary position, usually for viewing on a display.
TiogaA project in ISL to build an integrated editor/typesetter in Mesa.
ToolA facility available in the Tajo environment, or the program that makes that facility available. For example, one speaks of the ``File Tool’’, which can perform file transfers for you.
Tools EnvironmentFormer name for Tajo.
transactionA collection of reads and writes of shared data that is guaranteed to be atomic: either all of the writes happen (the transaction commits) or none of them do (it aborts). Furthermore, the reads will see consistent data in that either all of the writes made by some other transaction will be visible, or none of them will.
typescriptAn Alto file used to back-up information (usually text) appearing in a region of the display.
TwinkleA Gateway in Building 35 of PARC.
Universal File System At the moment, merely a dream: in particular, the dream that someday all of our files will live in a common system, implemented in a distributed and reliable fashion by remote servers, for which all local disks will merely be automatically-managed caches. There is some hope that this dream will be turned into reality someday by something to be built on top of Cedar and Alpine.
userA person (rather than a program) who avails herself of the services of some program or system. At the moment, the author is a user of Bravo. See client.
user.cmA file containing a number of logically distinct sections that each define certain configuration parameters (e.g., the location of a preferred printer server for a particular file format). Programs that interpret such parameters are often organized to read only at installation time (e.g., Bravo).
WaterLilyA Mesa program that does source compares: compares two text files and reports the differences. Available in both Alto/Mesa and PreCascade.
windowA display region, usually rectangular, used to view (a portion of) an image that generally exceeds the bounds of the region.
WonderA Dover on the third floor of Building 35.
world-swapThe process of writing out the complete state of a machine’s processer and memory onto a disk file, and of swapping in a different state. Most of the debuggers in our current environment work by means of world-swaps, which swap between the debugger and the program being debugged. Note that, the more memory you have, the slower a world-swap will be.
XBSAcronym for Xerox Business Systems; a former organization, XBS was subsumed by OPD.
XEOSAn IFS located at EOS.
XGPAcronym for Xerox Graphics Printer. An obsolete, CRT scanned, 200 bpi, continuous paper, xerographic printer.
XMAcronym for Extended Memory: an option on Alto II’s that allows the memory size to be increased from one to four banks.
YodaA Dover located at PARC-Place.
ZinfandelAn Alto mail server that is part of the Grapevine distributed transport mechanism.