For *PLC

posted Apr 3, 2012, 12:35 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Apr 3, 2012, 12:38 PM ]
The long and short of this is that we were unable to find anyone currently at Cornell to take an interest in the question of giving permission to include an object code only version of *PLC as part of MTS.  We were able to get an OK from Steve Worona and Dick Conway, retired staff from Cornell who were involved in the development of PL/C many years ago and involved in senior IT administrative positions at Cornell after that.

The details are outlined in the messages that follow.

  -Jeff Ogden, 3 April 2012



From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: PL/C
Date: February 25, 2011 11:59:03 PM EST
To: Steve Worona

Steve .. I'm involved in the preservation of our old timesharing system MTS.

  http://archive.michigan-terminal-system.org/

     As news of this project filters out, it's raising some questions regarding whether we might still have copies of old software that has been lost from other places.  One of these is PL/C. which runs in MTS, and I'm told that you had done some looking for the source of this at Cornell without locating it.  I know that we do have a runnable, compiled version of PL/C on the MTS tapes, but not the source code.  It may be, however, that we have the source on backup tapes, but I'll have to wait for a few weeks till the right person gets back to town to check that.

If we do find the source, we'll need to make sure that Cornell (who, I assume would have an interest in the intellectual property) is OK with making it available to interested parties, either directly, or by sending a copy to Cornell so they can re-distribute it.  The interest is from hobbyists running antique software on IBM System 360/370/3090 emulators; one of whom, Peter Flass, says he talked to you about PL/C in this context some time back.

If we find this code, do you think Cornell will still have an interest in it?  If so, can you offer a suggestion about who to talk to there?

Hope all is well with you .. best, Gav

__________________________________________________________________________

From: Steve Worona
Subject: Re: PL/C
Date: March 1, 2011 6:05:24 PM EST
To: Gavin Eadie

Well, gee, two names out of the past, yours and PL/C. Nice to see
both. Lemme see if I can figure out who's in a position at Cornell to
make a statement about disposition. Steve
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Gavin Eadie <gavin@umich.edu>
Subject: Re: PL/C
Date: February 28, 2012 3:13:03 PM EST
To: Steve Worona

Steve ..

If you found a person and replied, I've lost that message -- could you refresh it?

If you didn't find someone, the story has heated up, news at: http://archive.michigan-terminal-system.org !  We're now distributing MTS and we have actually found object code for PL/C which we can run.  We're reluctant to let this out of our hands till we've made a good effort to get permission to do so.  If we can't find anyone who might care after all these years, we'll probably seek forgiveness, rather than permission, and let it loose -- it's probably the only extant working PL/C compiler left in the world .. Best, Gav
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: Re: PL/C?
Date: February 28, 2012 4:07:24 PM EST
To: Jeff Ogden
Cc: mts-comments@umich.edu

I IM'd Steve Worona.

3:47
Gavin Eadie

Question from last year re: PL/C .. Did you ever find anyone at Cornell who would have an interest in it?  As you know we're bringing MTS back to life and we've actually found a runnable PL/C object deck [more ...]

That raises the stakes in getting someone to say it's OK to re-distibute.  Do you have any contacts at Cornell I could pester??
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3:47
Steve Worona

No, I did some checking, but no one who's still around has any connections.

Oh, permission to redistribute; hmmmm. Didn't MTS already have that?
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3:49
Gavin Eadie

Yes, it did have that, but this is slightly different — we're trying very hard to make sure we can get permission from owner / authors / etc in this slightly different context.

We just got the Waterloo compilers OK by someone there.
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3:50
Steve Worona

Do you have a boilerplate request, like, here's who we are, here's what we want to do, can we have permission?
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3:53
Gavin Eadie

I believe we do.
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3:54
Steve Worona

Send me a copy and I'll run it by some folks who might be in a position to say they're in a position to say OK [redundancy intentional].
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3:55
Gavin Eadie

will do .. what's a good email address for you now?
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3:55
Steve Worona

SLW1@cornell.edu
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3:56
Gavin Eadie

Thanks very much, Steve.  I hope all is well with you, I hadn't been tracking my CSG buddies closely, so a belated congrats on retirement.  All the best, Gav
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Jeff, do you already have something we could send him, or should I concoct a request? .. Gav
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: PL/C compiler release request
Date: February 28, 2012 6:22:16 PM EST
To: Steve Worona

Steve, this from Jeff tonight ...

I'm not at all sure I'm directing this note to the correct place, but I am hoping you can point me in the right direction. I am looking for information on the current status of the PL/C programming language compiler that was originally developed at Cornell University in the early 1970s.

I am a retired staff member from the academic Computing Center at the University of Michigan. I've been working with several of my former colleges to preserve and make the Michigan Terminal System (MTS) available to the public. MTS is the virtual memory time-sharing operating system for the IBM S/360-67, S/370, and compatible mainframe computers that was developed and used at U-M and several other universities from 1967 to 1999.  In July 2011 U-M made our effort a project of its Office for the Vice President for Research and gave permission for MTS to be made widely available.  In late December 2011 we released the MTS source and object code distributions from 1968 through 1988. We were pleasantly surprised when several individuals with no previous knowledge of MTS successfully used this material to run MTS using the Hercules S/370 emulator under Mac OSX, Windows, and Unix/Linux just a few days after the material became available. We are now working to make the version of MTS that was in use at U-M in 1996 available and to make the distributions more complete.

The Cornell PL/C compiler was available under MTS, but was not included in MTS distributions due to licensing restrictions.  We would like to include an object code version of PL/C (sadly, we no longer have the PL/C source code) in the version of MTS we are making available, but to do that we need to get permission from the current rights holder or confirm that the compiler has been released into the public domain or is available under a public license.

Do you know the current status of PL/C and, if necessary, who would be in a position to give permission to include the PL/C object code as part of the MTS materials we make available?

More information about MTS and our efforts to preserve and make it more widely available are available at these URLs:

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Terminal_System

     http://archive.michigan-terminal-system.org/

Included below is a copy of the MTS copyright statement we are using.  I've added PL/C to the section on Proprietary Program Products toward the end of the statement. We would adjust the draft statement about PL/C as necessary to reflect the actual conditions for redistributing PL/C.

Thanks for your help.

Gavin Eadie, Jeff Ogden, Mike Alexander, et al
__________________________________________________________________________

On Mar 2, 2012, at 3:26 PM, Steve Worona wrote:

Great talking to you today. I'll let you know what I hear from Pat
McClary in Cornell's legal office.



From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: Re: My blog, FWIW
Date: March 3, 2012 9:19:16 AM EST
To: Steve Worona

.. Thanks again for your help with PL/C -- on a similar path, we got the last of the Waterloo compilers (BASIC) up and running yesterday .. Gav
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: PL/C .. small update
Date: March 2, 2012 3:13:24 PM EST
To: mts-comments@umich.edu

I talked to Steve Worona on the phone for a while today.  He's passed our request along to a friend in the Cornell University Council's office and suggested she contact someone in their equivalent of the "tech transfer" to see in there's anyone who can OK our use of PL/C.  I'm not concerned about their Council's office being involved, Steve taught "computer law" at Cornell before moving to EDUCause, and so wasn't just aiming our request at that office because he couldn't think of anywhere else to send it!

He's pretty confident that there's no actual person at Cornell who has an interest in PL/C because (and I didn't know this of him), he worked on that project as a programmer in his youth.  If his friend draws a blank, he'll suggest she provides us with a letter saying Cornell has no proprietary interest in PL/C and we can go ahead with placing it in the MTS context we've talked about.  I let Steve know that if she has any questions we'd be happy to help.  She and Steve have swapped a couple of emails already so she's actively engaged.

PS: It turns out Steve wrote an early email service for CMS in 1976, and tested it out on DVH -- small world .. Gav
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Jeff Ogden
Subject: PL/C?
Date: March 29, 2012 11:53:52 AM EDT
To: Gavin Eadie

Did you ever hear back from Steve about PL/C?

   -Jeff
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: Re: PL/C?
Date: March 29, 2012 6:59:53 PM EDT
To: Jeff Ogden

.. no, I didn't .. good point, I'll nudge him .. Gav
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Steve Worona
Subject: Fwd: Re: PL/C question
Date: March 30, 2012 7:53:04 PM EDT
To: Gavin Eadie

FYI...
Steve

--- begin forwarded text

> On Mar 29, 2012, at 8:03 PM, Steve Worona wrote:
>>
>> Any word?
>>
>>Thanks.
>>Steve
>
> From: "Patricia A. McClary"
> To: Steven L Worona
> Subject: Re: PL/C question
> Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 14:34:29 -0400
>
> Not yet.  Thanks for the reminder.

__________________________________________________________________________

From: Jeff Ogden
Subject: Re: PL/C?
Date: March 30, 2012 2:05:49 PM EDT
To: Gavin Eadie
Cc: mts-comments@umich.edu

When you hear back from Steve, if he hasn't been able to locate anyone at Cornell that is interested or willing to take responsibility for giving permission, you might tell him that as long as no one says "no" that we are considering going ahead and including PL/C without explicit permission and get his reaction to that.

My own guess is that this approach would not cause any problems. We'd want to be low-key about it, but we're low-key about everything. We would, of course, include Conrell's copyright in our list of program products. 

   -Jeff
__________________________________________________________________________

From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: Re: PL/C question
Date: April 3, 2012 12:33:53 PM EDT
To: Steve Worona

Steve ... I realize that finding anyone at Cornell who is interested in, or willing to take responsibility for, PL/C may be much more trouble than it's worth, and we have no wish to consume Pat's generously provided time beyond what is reasonable with what has to be the least important thing on her all-time to-do list.

Do you think it would be reasonable, since nobody has said "No" (nor, in all likelihood, will Pat find anyone likely to) for us include PL/C with MTS without explicit permission?  Twenty+ years ago, the University of Michigan had permission to run PL/C for the campus at large -- our request now is different in that, while we have U-Mich sponsorship for this resurrection of history, our work would be accessible to a world-wide audience.  [For all I know, that decades old agreement may have already covered our case, but we'll never find it!]

If we followed this path we would, of course, include a Cornell copyright statement in our list of program products .. Gavin

PS: I've not sent this note to Pat but, if you think she would like to be quit of this by invoking the double negative, feel free to share.
__________________________________________________________________________
.From: Steve Worona
Subject: Re: PL/C question
Date: April 3, 2012 12:41:25 PM EDT
To: Gavin Eadie

-----
At 12:33 PM -0400 4/3/12, Gavin Eadie wrote:
> Do you think it would be reasonable, since nobody has said "No"
> (nor, in all likelihood, will Pat find anyone likely to) for us
> include PL/C with MTS without explicit permission?

Yes, I do, and it's not just that no one has said no, it's that Dick Conway and I have said yes. We're the ones who would have signed off on the original MTS arrangement, which, as you say, might well have already authorized the use you plan to make. I think attaching a Cornell copyright statement would take care of any dangling threads.

Steve



From: Jeff Ogden
Subject: Fwd: PL/C question
Date: April 3, 2012 1:52:27 PM EDT
To: mts-comments@umich.edu

FYI.  We'll go ahead and include PL/C on this basis.

Gav, is there more e-mail history on this that I should include in the archives to show that we tried?

   -Jeff

[there was a good bit of e-mail history and it is what is included above. -Jeff]
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