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We review and present an analysis of the major issues in the design of test mass control systems for laser interferometer gravitational wave detectors. Based on this analysis, we present a design for a computer controlled modular analog servo control system which is well suited to the control of a large number of degrees of freedom in long baseline instruments. The system has been tested on an interferometer using multistage cantilever spring isolators. The system enables simple monitoring, testing, and display of many channels simultaneously, while retaining the advantages of analog proportional‐integral‐derivative control electronics. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.