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autodecrement deferred?[edit]

I thought this was not copied from the PDP 11 addressing modes. - Denimadept (talk) 07:12, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

PRIME Computer reference[edit]

From the article:

'"VAX" is originally an acronym for virtual address extension, both because the VAX was seen as a 32-bit extension of the older 16-bit PDP-11 and because it was (after Prime Computer) an early adopter of virtual memory to manage this larger address space.'

Why do we call out Prime here? There's nothing special about Prime. Lots of computers had virtual memory, and using it to manage an increase of address space is nothing new. The PDP-6/10 family went from 18 to 22 bit physical addresses and 23 bit virtual addresses as well and used several different forms of virtual memory to manage it. All existed before Prime. IBM had similar developments before Prime.

The reference to Prime should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:02, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

My guess is that they were talking specifically about machines considered "minicomputers" or "superminicomputers"; there were definitely machines and OSes that did paged or segmented virtual memory before the VAX, such as the GE 645 under Multics, the IBM System/360 Model 67 under TSS/360/CP/CMS/etc., the Burroughs B5000 under MCP, etc.
But Prime wasn't the first minicomputer company to offer virtual memory; apparently Norsk Data's Nord-1 had it in 1969. Guy Harris (talk) 20:52, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I vaguely remember that PRIME was considered special because it had the first 32-bit minicomputer. John Sauter (talk) 21:11, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
The Nord-5 article claims, albeit without a reference, that it "is believed to be the first 32-bit minicomputer". Guy Harris (talk) 21:27, 11 August 2014 (UTC)


I think we really should say something about the widespread use of the plural form 'vaxen', as it was (and to an extent still is) quite widespread, and has also been quite infuential on computer/geek culture (e.g. talking about 'UNIX boxen' as plural for 'UNIX box').

You only have to read this talk page to see the plural used twice. Unfortunately I'm not sure quite what we can say about it. I'm sure getting references to its use will be easy. But anyone know where and how this form came to be? Roybadami (talk) 22:00, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure it's up to Wikipedia to document slang. The official word from DEC - and I can probably find references for this; there was an official announcement about it - was that "VAX" is a name of a type of computer; hence it is not a noun, more like an adjective. Hence "VAX computer" is the singular, and "VAX computers" is the plural form. Jeh (talk) 23:55, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, that's largely down to the trademark lawyers. It's the same reason that, at least back when MIT cared about the trademark, we weren't supposed to talk about X (or X Windows), but instead were supposed to talk about the X Window System. Doesn't have much bearing on how people talk about this stuff in the real world. I think the word "VAXen" is widespread enough -- and was influential enough both on the cuture of the time and on the culture that followed (e.g. "UNIX boxen") that it deserves a mention. [Sorry for slow motion reply] Roybadami (talk) 23:03, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
As I've said in a few other discussions, Wikipedia is not the Urban Dictionary. And as many, many editors will tell you, we need more than a personal impression of widespread usage. I have no objection to the term's inclusion as long as good reliable sources are cited to support the claim. (RSs might include, for example, use of the term "VAXen" in the bodies of articles at recognized news sites or magazine articles; it would not include readers' comments to same, as those are "user-contributed content", not normally subject to editorial review.) In that case though the fact that this was an unofficial term, never used by DEC, needs to be added. Jeh (talk) 23:21, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Read My MIPS, No More VAXS[edit]

The VAX was the first really good virtual machine, being designed from the ground up. TOPS-10 did a kind of VA but it was next to useless, being an after thought. The IBM-370 was the end of the line for the RTS and RA. The VAX killer 390 kept it in business more by customer loyalty and killer contracts. (talk) 00:48, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

In the hope of making sense of this, I must ask what you mean by VA, RTS and RA. John Sauter (talk) 03:29, 18 June 2015 (UTC)