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VME (Virtual Machine Environment) is a mainframe operating system developed by the UK company International Computers Limited (ICL, now part of the Fujitsu group). Originally developed in the 1970s (as VME/B, later VME 2900) to drive ICL's then new 2900 Series mainframes, the operating system is now known as OpenVME incorporating a Unix subsystem, and runs on ICL Series 39 and Trimetra[1] mainframe computers.



The development program for the New Range system started on the merger of ICT and English Electric, and one of the fundamental decisions was that it would feature a brand new operating system. A number of different feasibility and design studies were carried out within ICL, the three most notable being:

  • VME/B (originally System B), targeted at large processors such as the 2970/2980 and developed in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire and West Gorton, Manchester
  • VME/K (originally System T), targeted at the mid-range systems such as the 2960 and developed at Bracknell after the original design for these small processors, System D, was dropped
  • VME/T, which was never actually launched, but warrants a mention as it was conceived to support "fault tolerance", and predated the efforts of the successful American startup company Tandem Computers in this area.

The chief architect of VME/B was Brian Warboys, who subsequently became professor of software engineering at the University of Manchester. A number of influences can be seen in its design, for example Multics and ICL's earlier George 3 operating system; however it was essentially designed from scratch.

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