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Character information
Common name WAITS
Also known as "West-Coast Alternative to ITS", "Worst Acronym Invented for a Timesharing System"
Human name(s) Willow Stanford
First appearance Dec 2007
Height 168 cm (5'6")
Hair color Medium-brown
Eye color Green-yellow
Weapon(s) N/A
Faction Thought to be unaligned or belong to a yet-undocumented Bay Area faction; deceased as of 1991.
Lineage Descended from TOPS-10
Rival(s) The Unix family
Technical information
System personified The WAITS operating system and its SAIL hardware
Developer(s) Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratories
Debut Jun 6 1966
Latest release N/A

Technical details

Developed by Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, WAITS is a heavily-modified variant of TOPS-10 which ran on the lab's PDP-10 computer system (called SAIL). WAITS is noteworthy for its numerous unusual features, including a high level of multimedia-integration in terminals (audio and video signals could be switched to programming terminals, and the contents of one terminal could be viewed on others) and a newswire "search engine" that allowed users to store and find AP and New York Times newswires and search for stories through keywords.

Combined with its hardware, WAITS made up a system known as SAIL. SAIL was one of the world's foremost research systems, specializing in such diverse fields as artificial intelligence and robotics, computer music, speech recognition, text formatting and human-computer interaction and psychiatry.

Although WAITS is less well-known than other PDP-10 OSes and SAIL a relative footnote in computer history, they exerted a large influence on systems and companies to come. SAIL alumni went on to found Xerox PARC and Sun Microsystems, and interactive text-editing, spell-checking, multi-region windowing and "bucky bits" all originated on the system.

Character details

Note: WAITS-tan represents both the WAITS operating system, and the SAIL PDP-10 hairdware on which it ran


WAITS-tan is represented as a mature woman with long, often dishevled-looking long brown hair, suntanned and slightly freckled skin and yellow-green eyes. She tends to dress in eclectic clothing that can be best described as a wild mix of old-European Bohemian and 1960s "flower child" fashion. Drawn depictions often put her in airy sundresses, fringed vests, cowboy boots, jewelry and a wide-brimmed hat decorated with feathers.

Her attitude is best summed up as relaxed, and in spite of her busy schedule and the fact that she is rarely without some experiment or project, she looks at life with a sort of energetic serenity. Socially speaking, she is thoroughly counter-cultural, living by the hippie ideals of progressive-mindedness, free-loving and rebellion against the stuffy mores of proceeding generations.

WAITS-tan is an accomplished academic and possesses a near-genius intellect. She has a wide scope of interests, ranging from the fairly-standard-for-an-OS-tan artificial intelligence and mathematics, to music, language and psychology.

Family and Relationships

WAITS' direct genetic ancestor is TOPS-10-tan, although they rarely acknowledge one anthers' existence, perhaps due to geographic disparity and divergent personalities. Likewise, they share very little in common physically, WAITS being smaller and less shapely than her ancestor.

Her closest friends are arguably PDP-10, Emacs and ITS-tan, with whom she frequently collaborates on various projects. Going against the established customs of the era, WAITS-tan saw nothing wrong about dating human partners and had a number of unconfirmed romantic interests.

Although WAITS-tan is an extremely pacifistic person and doesn't believe in the concept of enemies, she carries a certain level of mistrust toward the Unix-tans and resents their displacement of PDP-10 and destruction of the Elder Days Hacker Culture.

History and Background

Early Life

WAITS-tan's life began in 1966 at Stanford University, in a lonely lab above the foothills of the city. Her creation was a rather difficult and painful on; common precautions against overheating hadn't been taken, and she nearly perished from heat in the process. Unusual for an OS-tan of any time period, WAITS-tan was conscious for the entire duration and seems to have a clear recollection of her birth. Her caretakers were able to stabilize her and she quickly recovered from the trauma, starting work not long after.

In the fall of 1966, WAITS-tan developed a case of uncontrollable hiccuping that was soon discovered to be caused by a powerful radar station belonging to her elder relative SAGE-tan. WAITS appealed to SAGE to do something about the station, but SAGE refused, and WAITS' engineers had to work out a way to fix her.

In spite of her home's isolated setting and her status as the only computer at the lab, WAITS maintained friendships with many of the other OS-tans living and working at Stanford. PDP-1-tan became an especially dear friend, and despite their seemingly large age gap PDP-1-tan taught a young WAITS-tan much about life at the lab and as an academic OS-tan. Later on she befriended her fellow research systems NLS and BTSS-tan. Despite a large geographic gap, WAITS and ITS-tan came to know each other well, collaborating on many projects and compiling the compendium of hacker folklore, The Jargon File, together.

WAITS-tan performed tasks that were fairly standard for a university computer-tan – providing data-processing services and assisting in teaching – and ones that were fairly exotic, like robotics development, and operated an advanced mechanical arm. She dabbled in a wide number of fields, seemingly taking up any interest that caught her fancy (or that a student needed help with). Unfortunately, few records exist detailing her exact accomplishments, and a great many of them are thought to have been lost to history.

Theories and Notes



Written Works