Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Remembering RAMAC

Filed under
Hardware

Today's iPod-toting hipsters have no idea how much they owe to an unremarkable little building in downtown San Jose.

It was there, at 99 Notre Dame Ave., nearly 50 years ago, that a small band of IBM engineers developed the RAMAC, the first system for storing data on magnetic disks. The refrigerator-size beast was a technological breakthrough, and it's considered by most to be the forerunner of today's hard drives.

The invention of this bulky assembly of 50 spinning platters is being honored tonight by a worldwide engineering association as a ``milestone moment'' in engineering. It's an honor that could further help efforts to create a museum honoring the innovation performed at the former IBM lab.

``This recognition moves it from being viewed as a piece of machinery to a revolutionary computer system,'' said Al Hoagland, director of the Institute for Information Storage Technology and a professor of electrical engineering at Santa Clara University.

In computing circles, the RAMAC's reputation is already well-established.

Before the advent of magnetic disk storage, computers stored their information on rolls of magnetic tape or coded punch cards. Retrieving information could take hours or days. And banks and other companies often processed their data just once a week.

``It was a radical innovation,'' said Hoagland, who worked for IBM for 28 years. Transactions that might take days to process before could now be accomplished in minutes, Hoagland said.

Today, just a few of the original RAMACs are known to exist. One sits outside Hoagland's office on the third floor of the engineering building at Santa Clara University. On loan from IBM, the machine is being restored by students.

Hoagland hopes to have a fully functional RAMAC by next year, in time for the 50th anniversary of its unveiling by IBM.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

A Fedora 22 beta walk-through

The new Fedora, with its GNOME 3.16 interface, is an interesting, powerful Linux desktop. Read more Also: Web software center for Fedora Red Hat's Cross-Selling and Product Development Will Power Long-Term Growth Red Hat Updates Open Source Developer and Admin Tools

Unix and Personal Computers: Reinterpreting the Origins of Linux

So, to sum up: What Linus Torvalds, along with plenty of other hackers in the 1980s and early 1990s, wanted was a Unix-like operating system that was free to use on the affordable personal computers they owned. Access to source code was not the issue, because that was already available—through platforms such as Minix or, if they really had cash to shell out, by obtaining a source license for AT&T Unix. Therefore, the notion that early Linux programmers were motivated primarily by the ideology that software source code should be open because that is a better way to write it, or because it is simply the right thing to do, is false. Read more Also: Anti-Systemd People

Kubuntu 15.04 With Plasma 5.3 - A Totally Different Kubuntu

The latest version of Kubuntu, 15.04, aka Vivid Vervet was released last week and it's available for free download. With this release it has become the first major distro to ship Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment. There are chances that some users may still have bad memories of Kubuntu. It's true. Back in 2011 when Ubuntu made a switch to Unity, I started looking for alternatives as their desktop environment was not suited for me. I started trying KDE-based distros and Kubuntu was among the top choices. However my experience with the distro was mixed. It was buggy, bloated and GTK apps would look ugly in it. That's when I found openSUSE and settled down with it. Read more More on KDE:

  • KActivities powered recent media in Plasma Media Center
    As you may have already read the blog post from Eike Hein about Building on new pillars: Activities and KPeople in Plasma 5.3, activities can provide the useful information about the recent applications and resources used by them.
  • kreenshot-editor is incubating
    Now, kreenshot-editor is a new Qt-based project that was inspired by Greenshot’s image editor. It is hosted on KDE playground. It focuses on the image editing task, can be invoked from command line and should also provide a resuable editor component which could be integrated into other screencapture tools. The current code is already separated into an image editor widget and the main application.
  • Spring break for the KDE system monitor

64-bit STB SoC supports 4K video and Android TV

Marvell announced an “Ultra” version of its Android-focused Armada 1500 STB SoC that advances to a 64-bit, quad-core Cortex-A53 foundation for 4K delivery. The Armada 1500 Ultra (88DE3218) is designed to “enable PayTV operators and set-top box (STB) manufacturers to cost-effectively deliver small form factor devices with feature-rich 4K entertainment and gaming services,” says Armada. As with earlier Armada 1500 system-on-chips, it’s primarily focused on Android, with specific support for Android TV Read more