was there an M version?"
Yes, there was an M version :-) I have floppies here. Unfortunately I don't seem to have the printed pamphlet that comes with ND software. And I don't seem to have the release notes either. Anyway: SINTRAN-III M05 floppies are labelled 900319, although the files are time-stamped Jan 24 1990. This was possibly the last version of SINTRAN we used on the ESA systems, up until 1995 (there may have been additional patches but I'm not sure I have that stored anywhere). Other significant releases:
- SINTRAN-III release J was, I believe, where the new ND-500 domain format was introduced. Before that it was quite cumbersome to copy ND-500 programs around, an executable consisted of :PSEG, :DSEG, and optionally :LINK files, plus additional information in a directory-global description file. With the new domain format the executable was a single self-contained file which could be copied around as any other file. Same for shared libraries.
- SINTRAN-III release K introduced the extended directory structure, which allowed for 4096 files per directory (previous releases were limited to 256 entries), by adding sub-indexing (see page 100 of the K release notes). This was a major change. K was also the last version with both /VSE and /VSX variants, from version L the /VSE variant of SINTRAN was discontinued (in other words, K was the last version which could run on ND-100 CPUs older than ND-100/CX). Version K also introduced the 500-only 5MTRANS monitor call (MON 515) which could be used (although normally hidden from the user) to access a disk directly from an ND-500 program, via DOMINO multi-bus SCSI controllers, without going through the ND-120 and the ND-100 bus. Thus, the "bottleneck" of all I/O going through the ND-120 started to dissolve. Version L further improved on this.
- SINTRAN-III release L introduced NUCLEUS. This was a much better message passing system than XMSG, unless you needed inter-computer communication. And, finally, version L introduced the very useful new command @LIST-ALL-OPEN-FILES!
- SINTRAN-III releases M and N were the only releases with Y2k patches.
Version L (and later) was the release to use for ND-500 and, in particular, ND-5000 users. Or, as a minimum, version K. I remember version M as being very good, although I don't remember exactly why, anymore.. but performance and stability were two factors IIRC. --TArntsen (talk) 08:54, 21 June 2016 (UTC)