The Dark Age

Year 1983

Jan 4

SAG/15: Lots of applications for hardware and new nodes. Request from Tiger Team for more manpower was turned down by ASR Board. ASR Board manpower at RAL is being reduced from 250 to 205 over next 4 years.

Mar 23/24

Starlink Users Meeting held at RGO. 60 people attended.

30

SMM/12 (BIR)

Apr 25/26

Starlink Software Environment Workshop held at RGO. Presentations and (very slow) demonstrations by Wright & Giddings. 13 people attended. Version 0.0 had been released to selected programmers for trials.

28

SAG/16: Papers presented on Future of Starlink' (RAL) and Re-siting the Starlink Management'. The later paper by Boksenberg claimed to be able to make manpower savings of 5 DMY and cost savings of 153K pounds a year. ASR Director at RAL (Prof J Houghton) agreed to cut Starlink by 2 DMY and 150K (30%) pa. (SERC financial emergency means ASR Board must save 2.2M pounds in 83/84 and 2.0M in succeeding years.) Culhane set up a Computing Review Working Party to decide how to implement these cuts. Dickens described a proposal to move Starlink at RAL to S&A Division.

Starlink Bulletin 8 issued (this was the last of the newsletters to be produced until the new series started in Jan 1988 - 4.7 year gap).

Sites started to move onto SERCNET (later renamed JANET).

Jun 27/28

Starlink Software Environment Workshop held at RAL; (13 people). Initial experience of the environment was discussed. Main concern was extreme slowness of response (1 minute to get first prompt).

30

Gordon Bromage replaced Keith Tritton as Project Scientist (half time).

Doug Tudhope (ROE) left Starlink.

Aug 11

SMM/13 (RAL)

HDS - Version 2 released to UCL.

Sep 7

SAG/17: Plans for making financial savings of 150K were presented by RAL and RGO. Cases were presented for Starlink management staying at RAL and moving to RGO. It was decided not to move Starlink to RGO and to adopt Plan A in the RAL paper to save money.

Oct 17

Morag Potter joined Starlink at RAL as assistant to Lawden.

HDS - Name changed from SDS (Starlink Data System) to HDS.

Dave Terrett started at RAL, replaced by Pat Moore at MAN.

Dec 31

Dave Pearce left Starlink to work for industry.

Jack Giddings (programmer, UCL) resigned.

Year 1984

Jan 1

Trevor Dimbylow joined Starlink at RAL as systems programmer.

Alan Chipperfield joined Starlink at RAL as systems programmer.

HDS - Reference manual issued (SSN/27.1).

Starlink Central Management moved from Computing Division to Space & Astrophysics Division (Satellite Control & Data Processing Group) at RAL. Staff moved to offices in R68.

9

RAL Estimates (84/85) and Forward Look:

DMY

9

9

9

9

9

?

Recurrent

499

543

585

587

590

?

17

SAG/18: Cuts agreed for 84/85 in K pounds were: 44 (site & programmer contracts), 60 (minor upgrades), 5 (travel), 22 (staff), 15 (ROE line), 11 (RGO line). 3 contract programmers will have left by April and will not be replaced. Distress at slow progress with SSE but believed there was no alternative. Last meeting of SAG - replaced by SUC in September.

Feb 6

RAL VAX moved from R30 to R68.

21

SMM/14 (CAM)

RAL staff moved into offices in R68.

Mar 1

Andrea Roberts replaced Lorna Claringbold as RAL Site Manager.

Steve Yip left Starlink.

Apr 1

Starlink manpower and finance returns now sent to S&A division.

Steve Morris (programmer, CAM) resigned.

Carol Robinson resumed as Site Manager (CAM) half time.

Ann Sweeney left Starlink to remain in Computing Division.

Margaret Ellis joined Starlink at RAL to do administration.

May 9

ASR Board agreed that SAG should be replaced by SUC.

Jun 30

Sid Wright (UCL) left Starlink for Perth (Australia).

19/20

SMM/15 (RAL)

Jul 1

Richard Hook replaced Sid Wright as UCL Site Manager.

Aug 1

1st release of SSE - Starlink's 2nd environment.

Sep 24

SUC/1: First meeting of the new Starlink Users' Committee which replaces SAG; chairman: Len Culhane. Reviewed current status of Starlink & discussed its future roles.

17

Peter Allan replaced Pat Moore as MAN Site Manager.

31

Pat Moore (MAN) left Starlink.

Oct 16/17

SMM/16 (RGO)

Nov

Leicester started as Starlink's 9th Node with a 750 (Mike Denby - SM).

Dec 31

Trevor Dimbylow left Starlink for La Palma (and promotion).

Year 1985

Jan 1

John Sherman joined Starlink at RAL full time; had worked for the project part time for a number of years.

5

Clive Davenhall (ROE) left Starlink.

Feb 8

Morag Potter left Starlink after long periods of sick leave.

26/27

SMM/17 (LEI)

Mar 4

Jodrell Bank started as Starlink's 10th node (Roger Noble - SM).

The MAN 780 was moved to JOD and MAN received the new 750.

Fran Childs joined Starlink at RAL as assistant to Lawden.

25

SUC/2: Agreed not to discuss move of Starlink management for at least 3 years. Case for extra staff and money presented. SIG presentations.

Estimates (85/86) and forward look:

DMY

9

9

9

9

9

9

Manpower

213

219

226

226

226

226

Recurrent

623

688

725

747

747

747

Capital

0

0

225

450

450

450

Transfers

40

65

65

65

65

65

Total (without Manpower)

663

753

1015

1262

1262

1262

May 1

Morag Brown replaced Bernie McNally as ROE Site Manager.

3

SUC/3

8

VMS 4.0 introduced on RAL VAX.

Jun 5

Fran Childs left Starlink.

12

AII Committee agreed to support additional bid for 225k pounds and 3 MY for (86/87).

27/28

SMM/18 (RAL)

Aug

Chris Flatters replaced Roger Noble as JOD Site Manager.

Sep 3

SUC/4

Oct 1

Stuart Keir replaced Dave King as RGO Site Manager.

John Barrow replaced Morag Brown as ROE Site Manager.

10/11

SMM/19 (JOD/MAN)

17/29

First ADAM Workshop held at AAO, Australia.

SA750 installed at RAL.

Craig Mackay replaced Len Culhane as chairman of SUC.

Nov 4

Software Environment Review meeting 1 (RAL) - 17 present (SGP/32). Need to consider IRAF; use INTERIM and Durham extension; investigate ADAM.