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The Newcastle Connection: A Software Subsystem for Constructing Distributed UNIX Systems

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian RandellORCiD



The Newcastle connection is a software subsystem that can be added to each of a set of physically interconnected UNIX or UNIX look-alike systems, so as to construct a distributed system which is functionally indistinguisable at both the user and the program level from a conventional single-processor UNIX system. The techniques used are applicable to a variety and multiplicity of both local and wide area networks, and enable all issues of interprocessor communication, network protocols, etc., to be hidden. A brief account is given of experience with such distributed systems, the first of which was constructed in 1982 using a set of PDP11s running UNIX Version 7, and connected by a Cambridge Ring - since this date the Connection has been used to construct distributed systems based on various other computers and versions of UNIX, both at Newcastle and elsewhere. The final sections compare our scheme to various precursor schemes and discuss its potential relevance to other operating systems.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Randell B

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Computing Laboratory Technical Report Series

Year: 1984

Pages: 26

Report Number: 194

Institution: Computing Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne