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Character information
Common name NLS
Also known as oN-Line System
Human name(s) Nora Stanford
First appearance Mar. 2010
Height Mid 5'range
Hair color Sandy brown
Eye color Green
Faction Unaligned, or a part of a yet-unknown faction
Lineage Independent but has ties to BTSS
Technical information
System personified oN-Line System
Developer(s) Stanford Research Institute
Debut Dec. 9, 1968
Latest release Circa 1971 (?)

Technical details

The oN-Line System (NLS) is an early computer collaboration system. It boasted a number of revolutionary features that would later appear on mainstream computers, including the first mouse, videoconferencing, hypertext links, graphical windows, raster-scan monitors and presentation program, as well as an ancestral wiki program.

The project started in the early 1960s. It was funded by DARPA, NASA and the US Air Force and developed by Stanford Research Institute, first on a CDC 160A, then a CDC 3100, and later still a SDS 940 computer running Berkeley Timesharing System. It was on the 940 that it finally took full form, being demonstrated in 1968 in what would later come to be known as "The Mother of All Demos".

In 1970, NLS was ported to a PDP-10 running TENEX and put to use at SRI as the Network Information Center. However, it had a steep leaning curve and saw little use, eventually fading away in the 1970s.

Character details


NLS-tan is depicted as a thin woman with short, light brown hair, green eyes and dressed in modernistic, but comfortable, contemporary 1960s and 70s clothing. She is fond of mice and keeps several as pets; as such, she is often seen with a mouse on one shoulder or in a jacket-pocket.

An unlikely extrovert, NLS-tan enjoys being around and working with people. However, her distant and generally strange personality make her difficult to work with. She is rather work-obsessed and talks mostly about scientific and research topics, but it is often hard for others to follow her due to her rather wordy and complicated manner of speaking. In spite of her esoteric nature, she is an advocate of openness and collaboration in the OS-tan community, and can be seen as a sort of archetypal hacker (even if she had little contact with the hacker communities of her day, and is barely remembered by contemporary hackers communities).

She has the ability to access data about an item, place or person by simply touching the object in question. As well, she is fond of the concept of "total interaction" - but few have the bravery to inquire into what, exactly, this means. [1]

It is presumed that she died sometime in the 1970s. There was an attempt to resurrect her in the early 2000s but the project proved unsuccessful and she remains, for now, deceased.

Family and Relationships

NLS-tan was friends with WAITS-tan and BTSS-tan, whom she frequently and closely collaborated with. TREE-META-tan was a colleague of hers.

In the 1970s, she and PDP-10 and TENEX-tan worked together, and she became good friends with TENEX.

Theories and Notes