The Spooler

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The Spooler was a systems software operating system package that provided spooling facilities for the IBM System/370 running DOS/VS, DOS/VSE environment, and IBM System/360 running DOS/360 or retrofitted with modified DOS/360, such as TCSC's EDOS. Other venders offering The Spooler as part of their OS were Amdahl, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Magnuson, and RCA.

The product[edit]

The Spooler was an operating system enhancement available for DOS, DOS/VS, DOS/VSE, and came packaged with some third party DOS-based operating systems.

It 'spooled' (queued) printer and card data, freeing programs from being dependent upon the speed of printers or punched card equipment.[1]

The Spooler competed with IBM's POWER and SDI's GRASP. Like GRASP, The Spooler could reside in an independent 'Fn' partition.



The product ran under several DOS-related platforms:


Hardware platforms included:

Several other venders either offered The Spooler as part of their OS or certified compatibility:


The Spooler was sold by DataCorp of Virginia, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The marketing manager and chief salesman was Chaz Frank. Although their target audience was North America, initial sales were in the American South.

For overseas sales, DataCorp engaged in both mail order and local vendors. The product was also embedded in third party operating system packages.


The Spooler was originally developed at Carolina Steel in Greensboro, North Carolina by Don Stoneman, with the assistance of Harry Parrish and Charlie Rice. The program went into production in 1975.

Upon commercialization in 1976, development moved to DataCorp of Virginia, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, under the direction of Leigh Lundin.

Source of controversy[edit]

DataCorp's original intention had been to continue development at a major banking data center they owned in Harrisonburg. However, their application programmers reported they did not have the expertise in-house.

DataCorp, already in talks with independent developer, Leigh Lundin, for his Fx package, contracted with him to take over The Spooler. Three weeks later, after receiving the supposed source code, Lundin reported it had been encrypted and stripped of references and internal notes.

DataCorp attempted negotiations with the original developer and pursued legal avenues, without fruition. Computer Associates stepped into the struggle, but failed to exploit it. The result was that DataCorp legally owned the rights to the package and had a growing customer base, but they also had bug reports and no viable source code.

Their independent developer had vested time decoding and decrypting the original package to build a legal case. When DataCorp realized they were in an untenable position, Lundin proposed building decryption tools to reconstruct the packages. Within months, he had re-engineered the package and begun development of new versions.

DataCorp, fighting off a second takeover attempt by CA, felt less comfortable than ever and, by the early 1980s, discontinued development.


The Spooler required a dedicated partition. With DOS having only three partitions and DOS/VS seven, giving up a partition to The Spooler placed a crimp in practicability.

Leigh Lundin designed Fx, a pseudo-partition that relieved the user from relinquishing a working partition. Fx appeared in the DOS/VS version of SDI's Grasp as F0.


  1. ^ Lundin, Leigh; Stoneman, Don (1977). The Spooler User Guide (2 ed.). Harrisonburg: DataCorp of Virginia.