So you think anyone will want this 'timesharing' stuff?

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Flashback to the days when the mainframe is king, punch cards are the standard medium for programs, and timesharing terminals are a huge boon for programmer productivity, according to a pilot fish who was there.

"Timesharing was available only during scheduled hours, and not available during peak production times at night or weekends," fish says.

"But in order to complete testing for a special project, I needed timesharing to be made available during non-scheduled hours, along with access to the CPU and tape drives for three consecutive weekends."

The project is very important to fish's boss, so there's no problem getting the resources allocated. But then another programmer, who's working over the weekend, finds out that timesharing is available.

He starts submitting batches of programs to be compiled. But because the resources have been set up on a special standalone basis for fish, batch processing isn't available for the other programmer.

And on Monday there's a howl raised by the rest of the programmers.

"This was the era of terminal bays and queuing up to be able to get timesharing time," says fish. "To keep getting our dedicated time as the project progressed, we got permission for a modified environment during off-shift hours with a few timesharing terminals, so they wouldn't cause undue performance issues with production jobs.

"This worked for about three days -- until some programmers found out that timesharing was available during off-shift, and wanted to get some time for themselves. And the next day there was a howl raised by the programmers."

Finally fish's project nears completion, and he again schedules resource allocation for a CPU and tape drives for consecutive weekends.

Remembering the previous howls over timesharing terminal usage, this time he requests a single terminal in the computer room to accomplish his work. The first weekend's work proceeds smoothly, and user feedback is positive.

The second weekend, fish is accompanied by his boss. There are some issues in loading data, and the standalone time has to be extended beyond the agreed-upon hours -- which isn't hard to get approved, since fish's boss is right there.

"That extension should have been no issue," fish says. "But the applications group had also been granted timesharing time that weekend.

"And the next day there was a howl raised by the programmers..."

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