[its-hackers] "ITS" pronunciation

Lars Brinkhoff lars at nocrew.org
Tue Sep 14 20:14:53 CEST 2021


Jack Haverty wrote:
> I don't remember any pronunciation other than "its" being used at
> all.   Never "eye-tee-ess".

Thanks, I think that's really interesting!  ITS (forced pun intended)
the operating system that keeps delivering juicy tidbits.

> I recall asking what "its" meant and hearing the plausible story that
> it represented a play on words as a competitor to the "official" MIT
> timesharing utility - CTSS, the Compatible Time Sharing System.  ITS
> was created as the "Incompatible Time Sharing system".

I think it's fairly well established that Tom Knight invented this name.
In AI memos from early 1967, it's referred to as the generic "time-
sharing system", or just TS.  The first mention by name I have found is
in AI memo 146 from October that year: "PICPAC is a PDP-6 program to be
used for manipulating picures of real-world scenes. It operates under
ITS (Incompatible Time-Sharing System)".



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