Public Access Multics

Bask in the glory of classic Multics ALM, APL, BASIC, BCPL, C, COBOL, EXEC_COM, Fortran, MacLISP, MIX, Pascal, PL/I, and RDC programming languages and the Emacs, TECO, QEDX, TED, and EDM text editors. Play games.  Exchange messages, email, and participate in Multics Forum meetings.  Experience real timesharing — as a public utility.

What is Multics?

Multics, the Multiplexed Information and Computing Service, is the quintessential interactive time-sharing mainframe operating system, running on 36-bit General Electric GE-645, Honeywell 6180, Honeywell Series 60 Level 68 (Level 68/DPS, DPS-68) and Honeywell-Bull DPS-8/M hardware.

Multics began in 1965 as a pioneering research project, a joint effort of the best and brightest minds in academia, government, and industry.

Without exaggeration, one could say Multics was the Project Apollo of operating system development.

Virtually every operating system from 1965 forward was heavily influenced by Multics. Nearly every feature associated with modern computing — the hierarchical file system, interprocess communication, single-level storage, dynamic linking, high-availability, dynamic reconfiguration, ACL-based access control, multilevel isolation, and even the relational database — are Multics innovations.

Despite networking not being "baked-in" to the original design, the modular structure of the system allowed rapid development and deployment of communication and network technologies including serial links, modem dialin/dialout, HASP/RJE, BSC, TCP/IP, NCP, X.25, CHAOS, and DSA.

MIT Multics was the sixth system to join the Internet  (ARPAnet)  in September of 1971.

Unlike most research projects, the Multics system graduated from academia, becoming an acclaimed commercial product of Honeywell (later Bull), and finding success in education, government, and industry. Multics sites included MIT, the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Pentagon, NSA, the Canadian Department of National Defense, Bell Canada, Ford, General Motors, the University of Calgary, and Oakland University.

Many Multics sites were on the cutting edge of computing, pushing the limits of technology, expanding their installations with additional novel hardware. Multics was at the heart of early massively-parallel processing and vector supercomputing installations, integrating and interfacing with systems like the Goodyear STARAN, the first commercial massively parallel system, and the famous Cray-1 & Cray X-MP machines.

BAN.AI Public Access Multics hopes to fulfill the role envisioned by the Multics50 initiative of "a practical, living exhibit of one of the most influential contributions to computer science".

By providing the BAN.AI Public Access Multics service, we hope to challenge misconceptions and myths by providing access to an actively developed, maintained, and functional example of a Multics production system, operating in the intended role of a computing utility — not a mere historic artifact.

The Multics50 initiative noted the "overall body of knowledge for Multics … primarily consists of the papers, reports, and books written for the Multics of 1965 - 1972. A second generation hardware platform was operational in 1972 and the software matured as well.

You can use the link above to browse, or the form below to search our Multics library.

Free Anonymous Guest Access
No Logins or Passwords Needed

It is recommended users connect using communication/terminal emulation software to via Mosh or SSH2. This gives you the best experience and will ensure that your browser will not override any control or modifier keys.

We are connected to encrypted mesh networks via cjdns/hyperboria [fc71:dc:5e5e:7fad:db77:11d1:9323:7b09] and Yggdrasil [201:85d7:5968:d14a:9aca:fe9e:37ed:5ea4]. We recommend the use of Mosh for mesh network connections.

We are also connected to HECnet, the global hobbyist DECnet network, as node 1.770, node name BANAI. You can use any CTERM or DTERM compatible client (such as "SET HOST" on a VMS or RSX system) to connect from another HECnet node.

You can access the system right now via our web clients in most modern browsers.

Be aware most on-screen keyboards do not provide full access to function or modifier keys, which may hinder the use of Emacs or sending Control-C. Even with a physical keyboard, many browsers may not let you send Control-Q.

If you have problems with the web clients above, you can try our experimental novncxterm service as a workaround, which provides a full xterm session via VNC, with access to the modifier keys in a floating panel.

It can take 30 seconds or more to launch the novncxterm system, so please be patient. All web clients are non-persistent — if you are disconnected or experience an error, you need to restart your connection again.

Request your full Multics User Account

A full account provides users with access to persistent, permanent storage, and the ability to fully participate in messaging and forums.

All resources are provided free of charge, as a public service, on a best effort basis. NO SLA, NO WARRANTY. Users should expect unannounced maintenance and updates. Everything subject to change. Updated: 2019-FEB-23