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 National Semiconductor 16000 and National Semiconductor 32000. 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 instruction set 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.
Last updated: 1994-12-23