Definitions for vax
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VAX was an instruction set architecture and a range of computers implementing that architecture, developed by Digital Equipment Corporation in the mid-1970s. A 32-bit complex instruction set computer ISA based on DEC's earlier PDP-11, it was designed to extend or replace DEC's various Programmed Data Processor ISAs. The VAX name was also used by DEC for a family of computer systems based on this processor architecture. The VAX architecture's primary features were virtual addressing and its orthogonal instruction set. VAX has been perceived as the quintessential CISC ISA, with its very large number of programmer-friendly addressing modes and machine instructions, highly orthogonal architecture, and instructions for complex operations such as queue insertion or deletion and polynomial evaluation.
The New Hacker's Dictionary
1. [from Virtual Address eXtension] The most successful minicomputer design in industry history, possibly excepting its immediate ancestor, the PDP-11. Between its release in 1978 and its eclipse by killer micros after about 1986, the VAX was probably the hacker's favorite machine of them all, esp. after the 1982 release of 4.2 BSD Unix (see BSD). Especially noted for its large, assembler-programmer-friendly instruction set — an asset that became a liability after the RISC revolution.It is worth noting that the standard plural of VAX was ‘vaxen’ and that VAX system operators were sometimes referred to as ‘vaxherds’ 2. A major brand of vacuum cleaner in Britain. Cited here because its sales pitch, “Nothing sucks like a VAX!” became a sort of battle-cry of RISC partisans. It is even sometimes claimed that DEC actually entered a cross-licensing deal with the vacuum-Vax people that allowed them to market VAX computers in the U.K. in return for not challenging the vacuum cleaner trademark in the U.S.A rival brand actually pioneered the slogan: its original form was “Nothing sucks like Electrolux”. It has apparently become a classic example (used in advertising textbooks) of the perils of not knowing the local idiom. But in 1996, the press manager of Electrolux AB, while confirming that the company used this slogan in the late 1960s, also tells us that their marketing people were fully aware of the possible double entendre and intended it to gain attention.And gain attention it did — the VAX-vacuum-cleaner people thought the slogan a sufficiently good idea to copy it. Several British hackers report that VAX's promotions used it in 1986--1987, and we have one report from a New Zealander that the infamous slogan surfaced there in TV ads for the product in 1992.
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