[ih] Fwd: History of "accounts"

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Sat Feb 8 21:00:38 PST 2014

>> It's much older than that.  When I was using an OS/360 batch system in
>> the mid 1960s, the first card in each job had to identify an account
>> so they knew who to charge it to.
> It looks as if the first citation for IBSYS/IBJOB is Noble, A.S, Design of an
> integrated programming and operating system, IBM Systems Journal 2(2), 1963.
> That's behind the IEEE paywall. But that publication date would make it
> contemporary with CTSS.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBSYS

IBSYS happened to be the immediate predecessor to OS.  Here's the manual 
for the slightly earlier Fortran Monitor System in 1961:


On page 64 it says:

   The first record of the Monitor is the "Sign-On" record. This
   may be programmed by the installation to handle accounting or
   other identifying information pertaining to a job.

I expect that if we poked around more, we'd find more, earlier stuff.  In 
the 1950s computers were phenomenally expensive, and I find it hard to 
believe many of them were run without provision to charge back the costs 
to the users.  Unless there is some arcane kind of bookkeeping I never 
heard of, the way you do that is with accounts, maybe done in software, or 
more likely done with pen and paper.

John Levine, johnl at iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly

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