Twitter thread on IBM System/360


Great thread, with nice photos too. Here’s an unrolled version:

See also previously:
The 360 - IBM’s $5 billion gamble

One computer to rule them all.

Ken better get his soldering iron out because Curious Marc has been collecting System 360 hardware, and will probably want to restore it all.

(moderator note: Transcript in PDF here)


Ken Shirriff:

IBM put a whole lot of effort into industrial design, sort of the Apple of the 1960s. There’s a whole book that discusses this: “The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design”

This is a great book, another one is “Eliot Noyes – A pioneer of design and architecture in the age of American Modernism” by Gordon Bruce.
(Eliot Noyes was IBM’s consulting director of design, who defined what precision looked like. As an architect, he brought Organic Design to the US, along with European architecs like Saarinen, and was part of the New Canaan community that defined the style that became known as the Havard Five. The definition of the design language of IBM accross a broad variety of products is IMHO probably the greatest industrial design accomplishment in the 20th century.)

I recently transferred into the mainframe department of my large financial corporation. My background is UNIX/Linux/Windows with only a little mainframe exposure in college. A lot has changed with mainframes over the years. Today’s CPUs are large clusters of POWER chips. “Tapes” are now built out of solid state disks. One thing that hasn’t changes is Job Control Language. When my colleagues begin discussing parms, genners, VolSers and dispositions I found I was missing out. But then I got my hands on the trusty IBM 370 Job Control Language book. No mainframer should be without it! Copyright 1977, this is still an excellent reference and tutorial.