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Introductory Help to TOPS-10 Commands
TOPS-10 is the name of the Timesharing Operating System for use on
DIGITAL's KL10 and KS10 systems. You communicate with the TOPS-10
operating system using the TOPS-10 command language. The TOPS-10
operating system is also called the monitor.
TOPS-10 is a timesharing system; that is, the system transfers control
rapidly among a number of jobs, so that all jobs appear to be running
simultaneously. The term job refers to the entire sequence of steps
that you start from your terminal or card deck. You start a job from
your terminal by using the LOGIN command, and you use the KJOB command
to end your job.
You can initiate a job at a central computer site or from a remote
After you initiate a job, you can initiate a second job without
terminating the first. For example, you can initiate a timesharing
job and, using the SUBMIT command, submit a second job for batch
When configuring and loading TOPS-10, the system administrator sets
the maximum number of jobs the system can process.
Connecting to the System
Only authorized users have access to TOPS-10. Your system
administrator provides each authorized user with a user name, a
project programmer number (PPN), and a password. These identify all
users and their corresponding areas on file structures. When you
specify a directory area, your project-programmer number identifies
you. A comma separates the project and programmer numbers, and the
entire PPN is enclosed in square brackets. For example, [27,4072].
The project numbers range from 1 to 377777 (octal). The programmer
numbers range from 1 to 777777 (octal). Numbers 1 through 7 are
reserved for DIGITAL, and numbers 400000 through 777777 are reserved
for special purposes.
Your password is one to thirty-nine characters long and is used when
you log in to the system and when you attach to another job. To
maintain password secrecy, the monitor does not echo your password on
the terminal. When you are using a terminal with local copy, a mask
is printed when you type your password, making the password
Operating System Modes
You can run jobs on the TOPS-10 operating system in two modes:
interactive mode and batch mode.
Jobs that run in interactive mode use a terminal to access the system.
The language you use to run a job is the command language. The
commands you type on the terminal are received and processed by the
command language interpreter of the TOPS-10 monitor. When your job is
in interactive mode, you complete your work at two levels: monitor
and user level.
Batch jobs communicate with the system in batch mode. They are input
to the system from punched cards or from the terminal. Batch jobs are
handled by the batch command interpreter. For information about
TOPS-10 batch, refer to the TOPS-10/TOPS-20 Batch Reference Manual.
When your terminal is in interactive mode, your job is at one of two
levels, monitor level or user level.
When your job is at monitor level, you are communicating with the
monitor. The command language interpreter processes each command you
type. The monitor prompts you with a period (.). Every monitor
command should follow this prompt. You end a monitor command by
pressing the RETURN key (<RET>).
The format of each command is variable because many commands are
followed by optional switches, arguments, or values.
When you type the operating system command RUN, followed by a program
name, your job moves from monitor level to user level. To move back
to monitor level, type CTRL/C. If the program is not waiting for
terminal input, it may be necessary to type CTRL/C twice.
Other commands also bring your job to user level. When your job is at
user level, you are working with a program other than the operating
system itself. Each program has its own set of commands and its own
command interpreter. This manual describes some system programs.
System programs usually prompt with an asterisk (*).
At user level, control characters and special keys can have a
different effect than they have at monitor level. Read the
description of each program to determine the effects of the control
characters and special keys.
A core image is what a job's portion of memory contains at any given
time. The core image, as well as information about the monitor's
state with respect to your job, constitute a context. When you
initialize a program, your context usually changes. For instance,
running the DIRECT program creates a core image with the DIRECT
program in it. Exiting DIRECT and then running SYSTAT, for example,
destroys what you had in memory (the DIRECT program) and loads data
pertinent to SYSTAT.
Three commands allow you to display information about contexts, and
manipulate them in various ways. These commands are CONTEXT, PUSH,
and POP. CONTEXT and PUSH create additional contexts. POP returns
you to a superior context. When you work with multiple contexts, at
least one context is preserved while you work with the current
You can work with multiple contexts by creating parallel contexts, or
creating inferior contexts. The default maximum number of contexts,
including current, parallel, and inferior, is four. The number of
contexts in use at any moment is shown by the CONTEXT command. You
can also use the CONTEXT command to create parallel contexts. You
might create a parallel context, run a frequently accessed program in
it, and then exit, returning to your previous context. Both contexts
now exist simultaneously. When you need to use the program in the
created context, simply switch to that context. You will not have to
wait for it to reinitialize.
The PUSH command allows you to create an inferior context. When you
return to your previous task in a superior context, the inferior
context is deleted. You return to the superior context using the POP
command. An inferior context could be used in the following
situation: If you were in the process of completing a task, and
needed to see some HELP text, you could create an inferior context,
read the HELP text you needed, destroy the inferior context and return
to the unchanged superior context. The system automatically creates a
new context for certain commands. The system manager can set the
system to create a new context when any monitor command is issued.