TRIPOS

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TRIPOS (TRIvial Portable Operating System) is a computer operating system. Development started in 1976 at the Computer Laboratory of Cambridge University and it was headed by Dr. Martin Richards. The first version appeared in January 1978 and it originally ran on a PDP-11. Later it was ported to the Computer Automation LSI4 and the Data General Nova. Work on a Motorola 68000 version started in 1981 at the University of Bath. MetaComCo acquired the rights to the 68000 version and continued development until TRIPOS was chosen by Commodore Amiga in March 1985 to form part of an operating system for their new computer.

Contents

Influences on the Amiga computer

In July 1985, the Amiga was introduced, incorporating TRIPOS in the AmigaDOS module of AmigaOS. AmigaDOS included a command line interface and the Amiga File System. The entire AmigaDOS module was originally written in BCPL (an ancestor of the C programming language), the same language used to write TRIPOS.

Features

TRIPOS provided features such as pre-emptive multi-tasking (using strict-priority scheduling), a hierarchical file system and multiple command line interpreters.

The most important TRIPOS concepts have been the non-memory-management approach (meaning no checks are performed to stop programs from using unallocated memory) and message passing by means of passing pointers instead of copying message contents. Those two concepts together allowed for sending and receiving over 1250 packets per second on a 10 MHz Motorola 68010 CPU.

Most of TRIPOS was implemented in BCPL. The kernel and device drivers were implemented in assembly language.

TRIPOS was ported to a number of machines, including the Data General Nova 2, the Computer Automation LSI4, plus Motorola 68000 and Intel 8086- based hardware. It included support for the Cambridge Ring local area network. More recently, Martin Richards produced a port of TRIPOS to run under Linux, using BCPL Cintcode.

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