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Gnosis Design Documentation


This documentation describes the design and implementation of the KeyKOS operating system. Though largely of historical value, Agorics has made this information available because it records early ideas that still influence the current direction of Agorics. It also demonstrates the value of ongoing system documentation. This document served as the design tool for Gnosis, a capability based operating system, whose construction began about 1975 at Tymshare. Development continued for several years at KeyLogic under the name "KeyKOS".

It is perhaps of great interest because it was a capability system that was developed to a state wherein complex applications could be built on it. Several such applications are still running today. Some of the documentation here is very specific to the IBM 370 hardware for which the system was built.

There is a patent (4,584,639) on the factory mechanism described here.

This document was once in IBM's script markup language using hierarchial macros to indicate its structure when printed. Subsequently it was adapted to Doug Engelbart's early hypertext system called NLS and later Augment. It then moved to Alan Bomberger's Thinker hypertext system which has many of Augment's functions. Thinker can export HTML files. A program is used to divide these files into hunks convenient for HTTP. Some paragraphs constitute just one link. These were added to limit the maximum size of an HTML file. The data accessed by these links is merely a deeper level of nesting in the original Augment or Thinker version. Other links were transcribed from links in the original material.

Notice of Copyrighted Material

Work presented here is copyrighted material belonging to KeyLogic, Inc. (Copyright © 1981, KeyLogic, Inc.) It is provided at the Agorics, Inc. web site with permission from officers of KeyLogic. While KeyLogic, Inc. reserves all copyrights, the information contained in this document is to be considered public information and is available for use without restriction. KeyLogic disclaims any warranty as to the utility, accuracy or effectiveness of the information contained in this document and specifically disclaims any liability for consequential damages that may result directly or indirectly from use of the information in this document.

This page last updated 20 July 2001