= F =
1. The PDP-10 successor that was to have
been built by the Super Foonly project at the Stanford Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory along with a new operating system.
(The name itself came from FOO NLI, an error message emitted by a
PDP-10 assembler at SAIL meaning "FOO is Not a Legal Identifier".
The intention was to leapfrog from the old DEC timesharing system SAIL
was then running to a new generation, bypassing TENEX which at that
time was the ARPANET standard. ARPA funding for both the Super
Foonly and the new operating system was cut in 1974. Most of the
design team went to DEC and contributed greatly to the design of
the PDP-10 model KL10. 2. The name of the company formed by Dave
Poole, one of the principal Super Foonly designers, and one of
hackerdom's more colorful personalities. Many people remember the
parrot which sat on Poole's shoulder and was a regular companion.
3. Any of the machines built by Poole's company. The first was the
F-1 (a.k.a. Super Foonly), which was the computational engine used
to create the graphics in the movie "TRON". The F-1 was the
fastest PDP-10 ever built, but only one was ever made. The effort
drained Foonly of its financial resources, and the company turned
towards building smaller, slower, and much less expensive machines.
Unfortunately, these ran not the popular TOPS-20 but a TENEX
variant called Foonex; this seriously limited their market. Also,
the machines shipped were actually wire-wrapped engineering
prototypes requiring individual attention from more than usually
competent site personnel, and thus had significant reliability
problems. Poole's legendary temper and unwillingness to suffer
fools gladly did not help matters. By the time of the Jupiter
project cancellation in 1983, Foonly's proposal to build another
F-1 was eclipsed by the Mars, and the company never quite
recovered. See the Mars entry for the continuation and moral
of this story.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.