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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Nominal Semidestructor
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Soundalike slang for "National Semiconductor", found among
other places in the 4.3BSD networking sources. During the
late 1970s to mid-1980s this company marketed a series of
microprocessors including the NS16000 and NS32000 and
several variants. At one point early in the great
microprocessor race, the specs on these chips made them look
like serious competition for the rising Intel 80x86 and
Motorola 680x0 series. Unfortunately, the actual parts were
notoriously flaky and never implemented the full instructionset promised in their literature, apparently because the
company couldn't get any of the mask steppings to work as
designed. They eventually sank without trace, joining the
Zilog Z8000 and a few even more obscure also-rans in the
graveyard of forgotten microprocessors.