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Dumb terminal

Dumb terminal

Dumb terminal definition

A dumb terminal is a display screen and input device (often a keyboard) that has little to no processing capabilities. Instead, it relies entirely on a central computer (a mainframe) to process data and commands. Dumb terminals simply serve as an interface for users to interact with the central system.

See also: analog computer, virtual terminal, terminal adapter

How dumb terminals work

The dumb terminal connects to a mainframe or central server. When a user inputs a command or request via the terminal, the data is sent to the mainframe for processing. The mainframe then processes the command and sends back the output, which is displayed on the terminal.

History of dumb terminals

Dumb terminals were prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, especially in large organizations and institutions. They allowed multiple users to access the computing power and resources of a single central system. Today, dumb terminals have largely become obsolete and have been replaced with personal computers and more sophisticated technologies. However, the concept behind them hasn’t entirely disappeared, as remnants of dumb terminals persist in some technology that we still use today, like retail point-of-sale systems and ATMs.

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