Alan Kay developed his Flex Machine in the late 1960s while exploring ideas that would later evolve into Smalltalk.

Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) developed its Flex Machine[1] in Malvern, Worcestershire, England, during the 1980s. It used a tagged storage scheme to implement a Capability-based security architecture, and was designed for the safe and efficient implementation of strongly-typed procedures.

There were (at least) two incarnations of Flex, implemented using hardware with writable microcode. The first was supplied by Logica to a RSRE design, and the second used an ICL PERQ [2]. The microcode alone was responsible for storage allocation, deallocation and garbage collection. This immediately precluded a whole class of errors arising from the misuse (deliberate or accidental) of pointers.


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Legacy "trunk"
Influenced by
FLEX Influenced
Xerox Alto Branch
Influenced by
FLEX Influenced
Xerox Alto

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