Help talk:Introduction to Categories

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Peripherals/Devices

Hi, I'm getting set to create categories for PDP-10 and PDP-11 peripherals/devices (I've been doing a lot of organization on the CPU/system/etc end of things, and have that in pretty good shape now). Which word would be better to use, if you have an opinion - 'peripherals' or 'devices'? We current do already have a Category:Peripherals, so maybe go with that? Jnc (talk) 16:05, 19 February 2018 (CET)

I tend to go with 'peripherals' in this case. Larsbrinkhoff (talk)

OK; I'll get started on that. And also, I think we should have a category for all DEC stuff - just plain 'DEC', or 'Digital Equipment Corporation'? Jnc (talk) 19:44, 19 February 2018 (CET)

DEC is consistent with the other labels. Larsbrinkhoff (talk)
I'll have to ponder the DEC category name. It feels a bit 'thin', just plain 'DEC'. I don't mind the acronym 'DEC' as part of the name of sub-categories (it prevents them getting ridiculously long); but for the main category, it feels too informal. Jnc (talk) 20:28, 19 February 2018 (CET)

Other cats

BTW, I added some thoughts about cats to Help:Introduction to Categories#Current organization - does that seem like a good system? Jnc (talk) 19:44, 19 February 2018 (CET)

There's one problem with the taxonomy. Not all PDP-10 (or 11 or 8) operating systems are DEC operating system. At least not in the sense "operating systems made by DEC". Larsbrinkhoff (talk)
I'm happy to subdivide it (them, actually) into two other categories; any snappy ideas for the name(s)? I suppose we could have 'DEC Operating Systems' and 'Non-DEC Operating Systems'; each of which is further divided into, e.g., 'DEC PDP-11 Operating Systems' and 'Non-DEC PDP-11 Operating Systems'. Jnc (talk) 20:28, 19 February 2018 (CET)
That'll potentially be a lot of category pages to create! Can't a page be in both the DEC Operating Systems category, and the PDP-10 Operating Systems category? Larsbrinkhoff (talk)
Sorry, I'm not sure I'm seeing your concept; a concrete example would help. What pages (and sub-categories) would go in 'DEC Operating Systems' category, and what in the 'PDP-10 Operating Systems'? ITS would clearly be in the latter, but would it be in any others? What super-category would the 'PDP-10 Operating Systems' category be in? Jnc (talk)
TOPS-10 would be in both 'DEC OSes' and 'PDP-10 OSes'. OS/8 would be in both 'DEC OSes' and 'PDP-8 OSes'. ITS would be in just 'PDP-10 OSes'. Unix V7 would be in just 'PDP-11 OSes'. 'DEC OSes', 'PDP-8 OSes', 'PDP-10 OSes', and 'PDP-11 OSes' would all be in 'Operating Systems'.
This way, there would be N+M categories (for N manufacturers and M architectures), rather than NxM. Larsbrinkhoff (talk)
Ah, got it.
The only potential downside to that approach is that there's no easy way to find non-DEC OS's, other than going through all the per-machine OS categories - for which having a 'OS's for DEC machines' super-cat would be mildly helpful, as opposed to just putting them in 'OS's'.
Ah, how about a single 'non-DEC OS's for DEC machines' category? (Although it would need a snappier name than that - can't come up with one quickly.) So TOPS-10 would be in 'DEC OS's' and 'PDP-10 OS's', Unix V6 would be in 'non-DEC OS's' and 'PDP-11 OS's', etc.
That's only one more category, and it would help find the non-DEC OS's easily; and no PDP OS article would have more than two category tags. (I'm going to put off for now the issue of OS's like MUMPS, which started out as a private venture, and which eventully wound up as a DEC product! :-)
BTW, actually my orginal proposal was not N*M; it was Sum(2*Mi), instead of Sum(Mi), where Mi is the number of architecture for manufacturer i, out of N. But still, you're right, it would have been a lot! Twice as many as the other way... Jnc (talk) 15:04, 20 February 2018 (CET)
Now that I see the 'Non-DEC Operating Systems' Category, it does look quite strange.. on the surface of it it would cover everything that's not DEC or for DEC, i.e. most operating systems (and then a visitor would wonder why it's named that way, too.) But then it's definitely for DEC, just not made by DEC. It gets a bit confusing. Tor (talk) 09:20, 23 February 2018 (CET)
I agree, actually! Despite thinking about it for several days, I just couldn't come up with a short, snappy name that, on its face, described what the category was about! 'Non-DEC Operating Systems for DEC Machines' is a bit ponderous! If anyone can come up with a better one, I'd be happy to change it (which is why I put off going around tagging articles). I asked Lars if he had a suggestion...
In the interim, that's why I put the description in the Help: page (and the cat header), to warn people it's not what the name, strictly-speaking, implies. Jnc (talk) 14:06, 23 February 2018 (CET)
So Lars mentioned 'external', and synonyms for it... independent, outside, foreign, non-proprietary.
Of these, 'Independent DEC OSs' wouldn't be too bad - I'd be OK with switching to that. 'External DEC OSs' initially sounds like it might be the best, but it could be misunderstood as still being a product of DEC, for use outside the company (and the same applies to the others, too).
Although it still doesn't describe exactly what the category is, 'Independent' does 'on its face' clearly indicate there's something unusual (i.e. it doesn't clearly give a wrong impression), and gives a strong hint of what it really is.
The problem is that the shortest facially accurate description (i.e. without any external amplification) is 'non-DEC OSs for DEC machines', which is long and clunky. Anything shorter is going to have some lack of clarity. E.g. 'Independent DEC OSs' - what exactly is that - if you don't already know?
Anyway, whatever solution we come up with for DEC, we can use for any companies that need it - e.g. 'Independent IBM OSs'. Jnc (talk) 15:00, 23 February 2018 (CET)
And.... crickets. Oh, well! Jnc (talk) 13:57, 27 February 2018 (CET)
No use overthinking this. Full steam ahead! Larsbrinkhoff (talk)
OK. Hey, I'm from MIT - according to some people, over-thinking things is what we do! :-) Jnc (talk) 21:17, 1 March 2018 (CET)

Terminal categories

So I recently split up Category:Terminals into Category:Printing Terminals and Category:Video Terminals. There's also a Category:DEC Terminals. So, currently all the DEC terminals (VT52, etc) are tagged with two categories: 'DEC Terminals' and 'Printing/Video Terminals'. Is this the way people want to go, or should we create 'Printing' and 'Video' sub-categories of 'DEC Terminals'? Jnc (talk) 03:55, 8 June 2018 (CEST)

Unix OS cat?

I've noticed that there are a lot of systems in the top-level category Category: Operating Systems; the majority are Unix derivations of some type or other. I propose to move them all to a new 'Unix clones' category, so only truly one-off systems like CTSS, etc are in the top-level cat. Additional query: what should the cat be called - 'Unix-based Operating Systems', or what? Jnc (talk) 18:00, 10 June 2018 (CEST)

Sounds ok to me. Would that be a sub-category in Operating Systems then, easily found at the top of the page? As for the name - I think 'Unix-based Operating Systems' is fine. Tor (talk) 15:28, 17 June 2018 (CEST)
oK, good, I'll make it happen. Yes, it will be a sub-cat of Category: Operating Systems. I think I'll use Category: Unix-based OS's, though, to keep it from being too clunky. Jnc (talk) 17:55, 17 June 2018 (CEST)
Ah, in retrospect I should have used the full 'Unix-based Operating Systems'; now most of the sub-cats in Category: Operating Systems use the full 'Operating Systems' in the name, so the Unix ones are now somewhat 'odd cats out'! Sigh! Jnc (talk) 02:26, 18 June 2018 (CEST)

Another idea: I currently have two cats (the first below, plus 'everything else'),but maybe we should have three categories:

  • Unix versions done by Bell/ATT
  • Unix versions which are external descendants (Ultrix, Sun, etc)
  • Unix 'clones' (Linux, Coherent, etc)

Comments? (And names, if the idea is desirable)? I wonder into which do the later BSD's fit - IIRC, they eventually got rid of all the Bell code? Jnc (talk) 17:13, 18 June 2018 (CEST)

There is a many to many relationship between the OS and the hardware, and I keep coming across other sources of information for the other OSs besides UNIX that ran on Digital hardware.
This was from Russia, and The knowledge in interesting, but I do not now how notable it is.
A Non Unix Timeline of Operating Systems
including a few more OSs that I have not heard of for the PDP-11 ForOldHack (talk) 05:06, 8 April 2019‎ (CET)
Oh, those are all known (even if we don't have pages for all of them, although some we do, e.g. RSX-11, which I think covers all the RSX-11 variants, although not in detail). There are also a lot of OS's which we have which aren't on that chart; see Category:Operating Systems.
Feel free to write up any which we don't already have that interest you! Jnc (talk) 15:06, 9 April 2019 (CEST)

Category work

After I created a new article on an obscure video terminal board, it was pointed out to me that since no other article linked to it, Web indexers wouldn't find it. I realized that if every article is in a category which is included in some way in one of the main categories, which are linked to on the Main Page, that would do it. So I'm going to try and improve categories and cat tags, make sure all articles have the desired tags, etc. Jnc (talk) 00:40, 11 June 2018 (CEST)

Background category?

In line with the concept that all articles should be in a category, to make sure Web indexers can find them, I started to think about articles on background/fundamental topics (e.g. virtual memory). They don't really fit into any existing top-level category. At first I thought about creating a new top-level category for them, but I realized I don't need to, at least to make sure there are no 'orphan' articles; in general, those pages were all created in response to red links in existing articles (which do all tend to be in categories), so if those are all in categories, Web indexers will be able to find the background articles too. Still, so people think it would be useful to have a catgory for them? If so, what shoud it be called? Jnc (talk) 00:49, 11 June 2018 (CEST)

I don't think trying to fit everything into a category is necessary when it doesn't particularly improve anything. Tor (talk)
There is another good reason for have a category for all the 'basics' article I've been creating, which is that they currently clog up Uncategorized Pages, which I would like to use to find pages that really are missing an appropriate category. So I think we should start one; any suggestions for a better name than 'Basics'? Jnc (talk) 01:20, 12 December 2018 (CET)
'Basics' is fine with me. Tor (talk) 14:56, 12 December 2018 (CET)
Thanks for the feedback! I'll probably have a number of sub-categories (e.g. 'Hardware basics' for things like pipeline, and 'Software basics' for thread, etc). I'll have to look at the whole list, and see how many, and what, to call them. Jnc (talk) 17:36, 12 December 2018 (CET)

OK, so I've gone through and tagged all the background/basics pages I started, and also most of the 'currently-uncategorized' pages. (Not really, on the latter; explanation below.) So I had to greatly expand the number of categories.

Let me say, right up front, that I'm sure I made some mistakes here - both in the extension to the category structure, and in the assignment of pages to categories. For the first: with 20/20 hindsight, and experience, one often finds there are improvements. For the latter... by the end, I was pretty worn out, and just wanted it to be over! Anyway, it's a wiki, not carved in stone; I'm sure we'll catch and fix my infelicities.

Anyway, I started, as discussed, with a Basics category, and a bunch of sub-categories (because I didn't want to have huge categories with a zillion pages in them):

The header for each one tries to explain what goes there; e.g. Category:Hardware Basics says " general basics of the hardware logic of a computer", and if you look at the category contents, you can see that.

Some things went in the top plain 'Basics' category, if they were really basic, or extended across sub-categories, e.g. buffer, address, etc.

I discovered, to my astonishment, that we didn't have a 'Hardware' category, so that, and some sub-cats to it, have also been added:

Again, the header for each one tries to explain what goes there; e.g. Category:Components says "Hardware components of a computer; mechanical assemblies, etc."

There is a certain amount of cross-linking; e.g. many of the hardware-related 'Basics' categories show up under 'Hardware' as well as 'Basics', and vice versa etc. I also added:

for 'advanced' topics in those areas. A lot of other categories got added as I looked at other previously un-categorized pages; e.g. categories for Apple software and hardware, and an Apple category to hold them all, etc. This page shows the current list of categories, and here is a list of the added categories.

Finally, many un-categorized articles don't yet show up in the automatic list since both {stub} and {semi-stub} add pages to a category. Which, in retrospect, is dumb, because the 'what links here' of them will show them too, and won't 'contaminate' the Uncategorized Pages list. So in a day or two, once I have recovered, I'll probably change those templates to not add them to categories, and then deal with the resultant 'newly'-uncategorized pages.

Whew! Jnc (talk) 14:35, 17 December 2018 (CET)

OK, the semi-stubs and stubs are all 'done' now too. (What a slog!) A few more categories got added; see here for them. Like I said (above), I'm sure there are some mistakes, but in a job that size... OK, now to fix them! Jnc (talk) 01:20, 20 December 2018 (CET)
Just added a few final touches; a cat (Category: History) for a couple of the remaining un-cat'd articles, plus that gives a home for a top-level cat that didn't have a home; then added that to the list on the home page - and ditched OS's, which can be reached via Category: Software. Jnc (talk) 04:23, 23 December 2018 (CET)

Duplicate VAX categories

So Template: InfoboxVAX-Data is assigning all the articles which use it to both Category: VAXen (no header) and Category: DEC VAX systems ("Members of the Digital Equipment Corporation VAX family of computers"), which seems kind of redundant to me. Should we just delete one? Or keep one for individual models, and then have a VAX super-cat, that would be for things like VUP? Jnc (talk) 13:51, 27 December 2018 (CET)

Redundant. I can't see why both would be needed. I think I see what you mean your second suggestion - one for the actual VAX hardware, and another for other VAX-related things. Could make sense I guess, but how many are there, besides VUP? Tor (talk) 10:04, 28 December 2018 (CET)
There are a couple more (CM 1700, TPA-11/580, etc) and there may be more in the future. I'll start by changing the template. Jnc (talk) 02:17, 29 December 2018 (CET)
And having done that, there are some other things in Category: VAXen, too. Jnc (talk) 03:04, 29 December 2018 (CET)
OK, done. There's another VAX header (Template: Infobox VAX) which also auto-assigned to a cat, but it used Category: VAXen; so, I changed that to use the individual model cat. I left the series articles (VAX 4000 series‎, etc) in the top-level cat, but moved the few on individual models to the other one, which is now a sub-cat of the top-level cat. Jnc (talk) 14:26, 29 December 2018 (CET)

PC categories

I guess the PC-related categories could be cleaned up a bit. We've got categories for most major manufacturers, and also a category for general PC stuff: Category:Compatible PCs, but I'm thinking we need several: one for generic PC-related topics (e.g. BIOS), one for actual machines - and that needs to be split into two, one for IBM-compatibles, and one for the earlier sui generis machines like Tandy's. And then for the software, we need (I reckon) a category for general topics like TSR, as well as applications, etc. I can sort of generally see where we need to go (above), but does anyone have any suggestions/comments? Jnc (talk) 01:20, 20 December 2018 (CET)

I'm thinking something like 'non-compatible PC's for the early machines like Tandy's, etc? Many of the more non-home machines(like Suns, etc) will go in 'Workstations', of course. So those, along with the company-specific cats, should take care of the hardware - now to ponder the software. Jnc (talk) 19:30, 20 December 2018 (CET)

OK, so I did that - Category: Non-Compatible PCs; non-microprocessor 'personal computers' go in the top-level Category: Personal Computers cat, and there are the two sub-cats for PC-compatible and sui generis PCs. No doubt many of the latter are not yet tagged with the correct cat - that will happen over time. (I went ahead an added the sub-cats for various manufacturer machines like Category: Atari Computers to the new sub-cat, so that will catch many of them.) Jnc (talk) 15:49, 21 December 2018 (CET)

PC software categories

After thinking about it for a couple of days, here's my suggestion for how to organize it: a category for software for IBM-compatible PCs, and another for 'non-compatible PC's' (to mean all the 'personal computers' from the home computer era). Those will each contain sub-cats for OS's, and applications. Finally, the compatible cat will contain a sub-cat for 'DOS Enhancements', for all the things (e.g. TSR) which improved the DOS environment. Some of the things in Category:Operating Environments might belong in that latter, and probably that entire cat should be made a sub-cat of it. I know this isn't great, but it's the best I can come up with. Reactions? Jnc (talk) 15:12, 30 December 2018 (CET)

OK, I'll go ahead and do that, then. Jnc (talk) 03:41, 1 January 2019 (CET)
Done. Again, as with the hardware, there's probably still a little clean-up to do, in terms of getting things into the right cats. I think all the super-cats are good, though. Jnc (talk) 14:48, 1 January 2019 (CET)