Network Working Group J. Pickens
Request for Comments: 519 Computer Systems Laboratory -- UCSB
NIC: 16818 June 1973 Resource Evaluation
In the spirit of RFC # 369, Evaluation of ARPANET resources, a new
test group was organized at UCSB to take a detailed look at specific
network resources and develop initial site dependent and function
dependent MINIMAN's (Concise User Manuals). As the group was again
composed of novices, initial effort revolved about basic procedural
indoctrination. In the period between January and March 1973 a
number of resources were investigated with varying degrees of
success, as to availability, proper usage, sample problem solutions,
and access to help and documentation. Included in this paper are a
summary of the projects undertaken, initial suggestions at MINIMAN
composition, and suggestions for future test groups. As these groups
are attempting to perform a useful function for the ARPANET
community, comments and suggestions are requested. Copies of the
reports described herein are available on request from the Computer
Systems Laboratory at UCSB.
Resources Investigated by the Group
APL was investigated primarily at MULTICS. UCSD was also
scheduled for evaluation but not carried out. APL at MULTICS was
used to solve a few trivial problems. Most effort revolved about
the difficult task of obtaining any available documentation. The
octal codes for APL characters were obtained and mapped into the
OLS keyboard. A side goal of the project, the comparison of APL
with OLS, was begun but progressed very little.
Basic was investigated at a number of TENEX sites. Differences
between sites were pointed out and necessary file manipulation
commands were documented. An integration problem was written at
one site, sent via FTP to another site, and then run again to show
comparative execution times and compatability. Non-PDP/10 sites
were investigated but no report was submitted.
IBM's Time Sharing option was exercised at UCLA-CCN. Interesting
results were obtained regarding cost and execution time.
Available commands were documented and a PL/1 program was written
This, the most successful of the projects, involved documentation
of help, file manipulation, and MACSYMA access and an original
research project in resource sharing. A recursive problem in
pattern recognition and a triple integration were solved to
demonstrate MACSYMA generated expressions into user programs on
the OLS. More information on this project is forthcoming.
V. Local User Guide
A first pass network users manual was completed for UCSB users.
In it are described console access and settings, character
mappings, current servers, users and TIPs, and error conditions.
Following minor revisions this guide will be distributed to local
VI. Local IMLAC Access to Network
Access to network graphics programs was attempted with a local
IMLAC. Due to the non-uniformity of network IMLACs very little
success was obtained. However, a program to access SRI-ARC's NLS
was compiled and loaded from NIC and attempts were made to iron
out the bugs. In addition a project was begun to maintain an
IMLAC library and compiler locally for network usage. As in the
other projects, basic operating procedures were documented.
VII. Harvard Graphics
Several attempts were made to learn of availability of graphics
access to organic molecule synthesis programs but no response
could be generated. This project was eventually abandoned.
As mentioned in a previous report, concise manuals are needed for
network resources so that uniniated users may gain basic familiarity
with foreign systems. In addition, manuals which describe specific
network wide functions, such as Fortran compilors, are needed if
resource sharing is to become a real trait of the ARPANET. For the
resources evaluated, each group member submitted two reports
analagous to the two types of MINIMANS needed in the network. The
headings and format of the reports will be included here to stimulate
future discussion on MINIMAN composition.
REPORT # 1: Online Help for [a specific host computer]
I. Connection, Login, and Optimal TELNET Settings
II. Help Files
III. Job Status
IV. Time of Day
V. Time/Money Used/Left
VI. Interpersonal Communications
A. Console Linking
B. Location of Users
C. Mail Facilities
D. Access to Operator and/or Consultants
VII. Warnings or Unfriendly User Behavior
VIII. Useful References and Documentation
REPORT #2: How to Use [a specific resource]
I. Table of Contents
II. Access and Usage (or How to Start and Stop)
III. Editing Commands and File Structures
IV. Documentation, Location, and Cost
V. Sample Solutions and Significant Problems
A. Special Characters and Terminal Settings
B. Similarities and Differences from Site to Site
Future Test Groups
A number of projects are envisioned for future resource evaluators
1. Complete evaluation of APL at MULTICS and UCSD with comparison to
the On-Line System (OLS).
2. Investigate BASIC in depth, network wide.
3. Evaluate other symbolic manipulation programs such as REDUCE.
4. Summarize all games available in the network.
5. Find and evaluate specific application programs such as ZOG or the
weather data base at CCA.
The projects undertaken will be determined in part by local
interests. But a serious effort is being made for reports to
accompany each evaluation.
Good results have been obtained from the two test groups thus far.
Although composed of novices, as far as network familiarity is
concerned, the groups have been able to produce data and reports
which benefit the network community. The reports run the gambit from
poor to excellent, but even the poorer ones have generated results by
motivating more knowledgeable system personnel to find time to write
the report in the "right" way. All data and reports compiled by
these groups are available to interested network users. In addition,
any information or documentation or manuals which might fit into the
framework of the MINIMAN is requested from the network community. As
this information begins to be collected, the network may truly start
to become a resource sharing network.
[ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
[ into the online RFC archives by Nasser M. Akhtar 2/98 ]