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(IBM's unknown operating system)

Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) is an operating system for high volume transaction processing systems developed by IBM. Originally it was called ACP, which stood for Airlines Control Package, and was developed jointly by IBM and the first airlines to need such a system, American, Delta and United.

TPF is perhaps the most underestimated and misunderstood of all major operating systems. It is used by some of the largest non-Military computer systems in the world and outperforms all other commercial transaction processing systems by so much that such comparisons are all but pointless. Historically it has been complex to install, maintain and enhance but recent initiatives from IBM and many years of concerted effort from a highly technical user-community have placed TPF on the brink of a new and exciting era.

For those of you not familiar with TPF here are a few facts:

  1. TPF's roots are older than Unix
  2. Licensees of TPF have access to, and frequently customise, the actual source code of the operating system
  3. Some TPF systems have as many as 10 IBM mainframe computers linked together as one processing complex
  4. TPF supports multiple CPUs in a single machine, multiple machines sharing a single database and multiple discreet databases connected to the same processing complex
  5. Almost all TPF systems are 24 hour/365 day permanently available systems, operating in critical business areas
  6. TPF processing complexes are already handling in excess of 4000 transactions-per-second
  7. TPF systems are supporting networks of more than 30,000 terminals while offering a response time within 3 seconds


As time allows I will be chopping up and making available on this site an unfinished draft of a book about TPF that I was writing in the late 80s. I have decided that I don't really have time to try and update it for TPF4.1 and I have probably given up any hopes I might have harboured that I could ever interest a book publisher (!). So I've decided to just lay it to rest in a quiet corner of the website instead. If there are people that are just getting into TPF there might be some things they haven't discovered yet, or for those that have 'been around a bit' there might be an odd tidbit of info they might find interesting. I was planning on calling the book: TPF : IBM's Unknown Operating System

If anyone spots mistakes or misleading statements in the text please let me know, this is an 'unchecked' manuscript so I'd value any editorial comment !

Thanks. Patrick O'Connor


Updated: 14/05/02