Whence Unix? (was Re: IS UNIX DEAD?)

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Tim Pierce

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Nov 5, 1992, 9:10:22 PM11/5/92
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In article <1992Nov5.1...@bilver.uucp> bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermillion) writes:

>In article <1992Nov2.1...@global.hacktic.nl> pe...@global.hacktic.nl (Peter Busser) writes:
>
>>UNIX was designed by hackers for hackers (or by programmers for programmers,
>>whichever you like best). But it is flexible, programmable, etc. so it could be
>>made to a real end-user system. And why not?
>
>I thought Unix was written by Bell as a word-processing system
>to enable them write their the phone company manuals.

I heard that, but I also heard that Thompson's *primary* goal was to
find a machine for playing Space War. What's the story?

--
____ Tim Pierce /
\ / twpi...@unix.amherst.edu / I use antlers in all of my decorating.
\/ (BITnet: TWPIERCE@AMHERST) /

Volker Lausch

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Nov 6, 1992, 4:02:24 AM11/6/92
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In article <Bx9vD...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:

[...]

> >I thought Unix was written by Bell as a word-processing system
> >to enable them write their the phone company manuals.
>
> I heard that, but I also heard that Thompson's *primary* goal was to
> find a machine for playing Space War. What's the story?

The game's name was "Space Travel" and it consumed so much CPU time
on their expensive GE-645 that Thompson was asked to find another
machine for game development.

He finally found an old and unused PDP-7 with no OS. A while before,
after the MULTICS project, he and Dennis Ritchie had developed a
new filesystem. So he hacked that one into the PDP-7, built a little
(single user) process management around it and came out with a
new OS which was called UNICS by Brian Kernighan. Thompson was
allowed to port UNICS to a PDP-11 later when the company was
working on a text processing project. I think this was in 1971.

(Sources: Maurice Bach: "The Design of the UNIX Operating System",
Andy Tanenbaum: "MINIX Reference Manual")

volli
--
Volker Lausch || TU Berlin | Office: FR 6032
Skarbinastr. 61 || FR 6-3 | Phone: +49 30.314-25241
D-1000 Berlin 49 || Franklinstr. 28/29 | UUCP/BITNET: volli@tub
+49 30.746 72 56 || D - 1000 Berlin 10 | vo...@cs.tu-berlin.de

Magnus Olsson

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Nov 6, 1992, 4:29:37 AM11/6/92
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In article <Bx9vD...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>In article <1992Nov5.1...@bilver.uucp> bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermillion) writes:
>
>>In article <1992Nov2.1...@global.hacktic.nl> pe...@global.hacktic.nl (Peter Busser) writes:
>>
>>>UNIX was designed by hackers for hackers (or by programmers for programmers,
>>>whichever you like best). But it is flexible, programmable, etc. so it could be
>>>made to a real end-user system. And why not?
>>
>>I thought Unix was written by Bell as a word-processing system
>>to enable them write their the phone company manuals.
>
>I heard that, but I also heard that Thompson's *primary* goal was to
>find a machine for playing Space War. What's the story?

I quote from Ritchie and Thompson themselves, in "The Unix
Time-Sharing system", published in "The Unix Time-Sharing System",
thematic issue of Bell System Tech. J. vol 57, no 6 part 2 (1978):

"There have been four versions of the UNIX time-sharing system. The
earliest (ca 1969-70) ran on the Digital Equipment Corporation DPD-7
and -9 computers. The second version ran on the unprotected PDP-11/20
computer. The third incorporated multiprogramming and ran on the
PDP-11/34, /40, /45, /60 and /70 computers

[...]

Since PDP-11 UNIX became operational in February, 1971, over 600
installations have been put into service. Most of them are engaged in
applications such as computer science education, the preparation and
formatting of documents and other textual material, the collection and
processing of trouble data from various switching machines within the
Bell System, and recording and checking telephone service orders. Our
own installation is used mainly for research in operating systems,
languages, computer networks, and other topics in computer science,
and also for document preparation.

[...]

The first version was written when one of us (Thompson), dissatisfied
with the available computer facilities, discovered a little-used PDP-7
and set out to create a more hospitable environment. This (essentially
personal) effort was sufficiently successful to gain the interests of
the other author and several colleagues, and later to justify the
acquisition of the PDP-11/20, specifically to support a text editing
and formatting system.

[...]

...because we are programmers, we naturally designed the sustem to
make it easy to write, test and run programs."


While it doesn't mention Space war (which I suppose isn't serious
enough for a research journal), this makes very clear that *both*
stories are correct: Unix was initially developed by programmers, for
programmers, but word processing became an important application very
early.

Thompson and Ritchie seemed pretty proud about the 600 installed
systems in 1978; I wonder what they'd have said if somebody had told
them back then that there'd be millions of Unix systems within 15
years...


Magnus Olsson | \e+ /_
Dept. of Theoretical Physics | \ Z / q
University of Lund, Sweden | >----<
Internet: mag...@thep.lu.se | / \===== g
Bitnet: THEPMO@SELDC52 | /e- \q

Gerald Hall

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Nov 7, 1992, 12:08:18 AM11/7/92
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In article <Bx9vD...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>>>UNIX was designed by hackers for hackers (or by programmers for programmers,
>>I thought Unix was written by Bell as a word-processing system
>>to enable them write their the phone company manuals.
>I heard that, but I also heard that Thompson's *primary* goal was to
>find a machine for playing Space War. What's the story?

Yes, UNIX is both a floor wax and a desert topping. It was originally
writen by programmers for their own use, but the first official funding
was to put it to work as a word processing system (ed and troff!).

Who was it who said they were not sure what would be the "operating
system of the future" but they were pretty sure it would be called
UNIX System V?

--
/
/ Jerry, CalmaSD UNIX SysAdmin, +1 619 587 3065
/

Bob Stockler

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Nov 6, 1992, 5:19:39 PM11/6/92
to
mag...@thep.lu.se (Magnus Olsson) writes:

>Thompson and Ritchie seemed pretty proud about the 600 installed
>systems in 1978; I wonder what they'd have said if somebody had told
>them back then that there'd be millions of Unix systems within 15
>years...

They probably would have renegotiated their employment contracts to
more specificly include sweeter "residuals".

Daniel Drucker

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Nov 7, 1992, 3:22:53 PM11/7/92
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twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:

> In article <1992Nov5.1...@bilver.uucp> bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermill
>

> >In article <1992Nov2.1...@global.hacktic.nl> pe...@global.hacktic.nl

> >
> >>UNIX was designed by hackers for hackers (or by programmers for programmers

> >>whichever you like best). But it is flexible, programmable, etc. so it coul

> >>made to a real end-user system. And why not?
> >
> >I thought Unix was written by Bell as a word-processing system
> >to enable them write their the phone company manuals.
>
> I heard that, but I also heard that Thompson's *primary* goal was to
> find a machine for playing Space War. What's the story?

ken had a scavenged pdp-? and wrote Unix (a weak pun on multics) so he
could play space war.

please correct me if i am wrong!

Daniel Max P. Drucker

=============== mertwig!xy...@jaflrn.uucp ==========================
#define slogan_1 Don't pick on me, I'm only 14.
#define slogan_2 Hey! Lets port it to COBOL!

Difficulty! It's the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!
Hi, I'm a .sig virus! Copy me into your .sig and spread the fun!
=========== uupsi!utoday!jaflrn!mertwig!xyzzy ======================

riv...@mdcbbs.com

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Nov 9, 1992, 8:04:49 AM11/9/92
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In article <Bx9vD...@unix.amherst.edu>, twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
> In article <1992Nov5.1...@bilver.uucp> bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermillion) writes:
>
>>In article <1992Nov2.1...@global.hacktic.nl> pe...@global.hacktic.nl (Peter Busser) writes:
>>
>>>UNIX was designed by hackers for hackers (or by programmers for programmers,
>>>whichever you like best). But it is flexible, programmable, etc. so it could be
>>>made to a real end-user system. And why not?
>>
>>I thought Unix was written by Bell as a word-processing system
>>to enable them write their the phone company manuals.
>
> I heard that, but I also heard that Thompson's *primary* goal was to
> find a machine for playing Space War. What's the story?
>

The way I heard it was that the Bell Labs had a wide variety of machines
which had accumulated, and UNIX was developed so that all the different
machines would have the same "front end", thereby making it easier for
users to move from machine to machine. In order to make UNIX system
independant, it was written in a high level language for which a compiler was
avalable on all the different machines. The name UNIX was supposed to
signify that it was the universal operating system. At the time, the idea of
different machines having identical operating systems was not only
unheard of, but considered dangerous by computer vendors. Seems that having to
learn a new OS was one of the key reasons customers stayed with a vendor year
after year. A universal OS made it easier for customers to look
at other machines, and "horror of horrors" actually change hardware vendors!!!!

In the long run, UNIX's portability and popularity won out. Bell labs
announced their UNIX release amidst a flurry of press statements which implied
that it was an officially developed Bell product, and not the result of an ad
hoc "back room" effort by the programmers.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
| Michael Rivero riv...@mdcbbs.com "Middle-aged Mutant Ninja Animator" |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
| If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he'ld be ASSASSINATED! |
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Jim Frost

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Nov 12, 1992, 1:45:44 PM11/12/92
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riv...@mdcbbs.com writes:
> The way I heard it was that the Bell Labs had a wide variety of machines
>which had accumulated, and UNIX was developed so that all the different
>machines would have the same "front end", thereby making it easier for
>users to move from machine to machine.

By now you've probably figured out that this is totally untrue.

The only bit I can add to this discussion (I can't remember if I heard
this from Ritchie or someone else) was that when they got the PDP-11
for the text processing system they spent almost all of the time
building the portable version of UNIX and built troff et al on top of
it at the last minute. I can't help but believe this given the
comparative quality of the two sets of tools :-).

jim frost
ji...@centerline.com

John 'Fritz' Lowrey

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Nov 13, 1992, 2:36:13 AM11/13/92
to
Folks,
Since it is now fairly clear that text processing and/or game
playing became important uses for Unix early on. I also seem to recall
that curses(3) was developed in part so that HACK could be made terminal
independent.
So, a new thread perhaps: what other now-major (or was-major)
tools, operating systems, or hardware were developed for use in a
sub-mission critical or downright frivilous application, and later
became standards far removed from the initial intent?

My seed:
Microsoft DOS -> Intended as a stepping stone while DR
wrapped up CP/M-86, and now the program
loader of choice for countless millions.


--
"...now it is my karmic burden | J. "Fritz" Lowrey
to stack cat food..." | Internet: jlo...@usc.edu

Steve VanDevender

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Nov 13, 1992, 5:07:27 AM11/13/92
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In article <1dvltd...@skat.usc.edu> jlo...@skat.usc.edu (John 'Fritz' Lowrey) writes:

Folks,
Since it is now fairly clear that text processing and/or game
playing became important uses for Unix early on. I also seem to recall
that curses(3) was developed in part so that HACK could be made terminal
independent.

curses(3) was developed for rogue(6). hack, and then NetHack,
came much later. But this isn't your biggest historical goof.

So, a new thread perhaps: what other now-major (or was-major)
tools, operating systems, or hardware were developed for use in a
sub-mission critical or downright frivilous application, and later
became standards far removed from the initial intent?

My seed:
Microsoft DOS -> Intended as a stepping stone while DR
wrapped up CP/M-86, and now the program
loader of choice for countless millions.

You really need to study up on your computing history. You seem
to imply that Microsoft got MS-DOS from Digital Research.
Microsoft got MS-DOS from a small firm called Seattle Computer,
which had written a quick-and-dirty CP/M clone called SC-DOS.
Then Microsoft hacked it up and marketed the hell out of it.

I don't have any examples for this thread, but if you are going
to contribute, at least get your facts right.
--
Steve VanDevender ste...@greylady.uoregon.edu
"Bipedalism--an unrecognized disease affecting over 99% of the population.
Symptoms include lack of traffic sense, slow rate of travel, and the
classic, easily recognized behavior known as walking."

Tod McQuillin

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Nov 13, 1992, 4:57:49 PM11/13/92
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ste...@miser.uoregon.edu (Steve VanDevender) writes:
> curses(3) was developed for rogue(6). hack, and then NetHack,
> came much later.

I don't think this is exactly right.

From a paper entitled "Screen Updating and Cursor Movement
Optimization: A Library Package", by Kenneth C. R. C. Arnold:

Acknowledgements

This package would not exist without the work of Bill
Joy, who, in writing his editor, created the capability to
generally describe terminals, wrote the routines which read
this database, and, most importantly, those which implement
optimal cursor movement, which routines I have simply lifted
nearly intact. Doug Merritt and Kurt Shoens also were ex-
tremely important, as were both willing to waste time
listening to me rant and rave. The help and/or support of
Ken Abrams, Alan Char, Mark Horton, and Joe Kalash, was, and
is, also greatly appreciated.

This is the document from which I learned curses. I don't know when
it was written, but it says it was revised 16 April 1986.

Lamar Owen

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Nov 16, 1992, 10:57:21 AM11/16/92
to
In <STEVEV.92N...@miser.uoregon.edu> ste...@miser.uoregon.edu (Steve VanDevender) writes:
>In article <1dvltd...@skat.usc.edu> jlo...@skat.usc.edu (John 'Fritz' Lowrey) writes:


> My seed:
> Microsoft DOS -> Intended as a stepping stone while DR
> wrapped up CP/M-86, and now the program
> loader of choice for countless millions.

>You really need to study up on your computing history. You seem
>to imply that Microsoft got MS-DOS from Digital Research.
>Microsoft got MS-DOS from a small firm called Seattle Computer,
>which had written a quick-and-dirty CP/M clone called SC-DOS.
>Then Microsoft hacked it up and marketed the hell out of it.

The original marketing niche for MS-DOS was as a stepping stone from the
8-bit CP/M world to the multiuser 16-bit world of Xenix. Microsoft, in
the early 80's, fully intended to make Xenix their high-end OS. However,
the market chose otherwise.


>Steve VanDevender

--
--

Lamar Owen, Systems Consultant, GE Lighting Systems, Hendersonville, NC
***********************************************************************
Opinions expressed herein are the author's and do not reflect policy
or opinions of the General Electric Company or its subsidiaries.
***********************************************************************

Bill Vermillion

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Nov 20, 1992, 1:39:00 PM11/20/92
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In article <hT8BrAb...@lorc.UUCP> lo...@lorc.UUCP (Lamar Owen) writes:

>>In article <1dvltd...@skat.usc.edu> jlo...@skat.usc.edu (John 'Fritz' Lowrey) writes:

>> My seed:
>> Microsoft DOS -> Intended as a stepping stone while DR
>> wrapped up CP/M-86, and now the program
>> loader of choice for countless millions.

>>You really need to study up on your computing history. You seem
>>to imply that Microsoft got MS-DOS from Digital Research.
>>Microsoft got MS-DOS from a small firm called Seattle Computer,
>>which had written a quick-and-dirty CP/M clone called SC-DOS.
>>Then Microsoft hacked it up and marketed the hell out of it.

>The original marketing niche for MS-DOS was as a stepping stone from the
>8-bit CP/M world to the multiuser 16-bit world of Xenix. Microsoft, in
>the early 80's, fully intended to make Xenix their high-end OS. However,
>the market chose otherwise.

And why did the market choose otherwise.

Easy. Dos 1.0 - on a 64k max memory machine with a single 160k floppy
at $60 list price was a much better deal than CPM from DRI at $300.

DOS 1.0 looked a lot like CPM. But when I used it I found that the
S-100 4Mhz Z80 based machines with memory mapped display was so much
faster than the 4.7 Mhz 8086 machine with the IBM 'idea' of a video
display adapter was pretty poor.

The machines were pretty evenly matched, but the slow display on the PC
made it look slow.

I remember one demo I saw of a computer called a Max80 by Lobo. It was
CPM or Radio Shack Model I hardware compatible.

They'd fire up a program writing numbers to a screen on the PC, and
then walk across the room, type in the program on the Max, and then run
it, and have the Max finish first. Impressive to people who didn't
know a damn thing about computers.

And when DOS 1.0 came out the Xenix wasn't even talked about for low
end machines. I remember seeing the first effort by SCO at one of
their very first public outings. I believe it was at Comdex in 1984.

The *IX variants up to that time had a real problem running on an 8086
chip. I wouldn't say it was slow, but the only other computer that I
saw that was slower was turned off.

Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
based machines. That was the 1.x series. The 3.x series for those
machines was done by SCO. The IBM Xenix 1.0 was released unsupported.
The 2.0 was really bad - supported - but bad.
--
Bill Vermillion - bi...@bilver.oau.org bill.ve...@oau.org
- bi...@bilver.uucp
- ..!{peora|tous|tarpit}!bilver!bill

Rick Kelly

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Nov 21, 1992, 8:55:49 PM11/21/92
to

Before Tandy went to Microsoft, they went to Charles River Data Systems.
CRDS ships a real time UNIX compatible OS called UNOS. Since CRDS was
already shipping on the 68000, Tandy figured that it was a natural. The
problem was that CRDS couldn't shrink their base + development system
to leave enough space on a 5 megabyte winchester to suit Tandy's fancy,
so they went to Xenix.

To this day there are remnants of Tandy support code in UNOS.

Charles River Data Systems is still around, and UNOS now passes the SVID
suite for SVR3.2 with 4.0 extensions.

And, of course, the Tandy 16/6000 is long gone.

If CRDS had been able to fulfill Tandy's desires, XENIX would just be some
long forgotten OS now.

--

Rick Kelly r...@rmkhome.UUCP unixland!rmkhome!rmk r...@frog.UUCP

Cameron Laird

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Nov 22, 1992, 7:55:51 PM11/22/92
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In article <921121...@rmkhome.UUCP> r...@rmkhome.UUCP (Rick Kelly) writes:
.
.

.
>Before Tandy went to Microsoft, they went to Charles River Data Systems.
>CRDS ships a real time UNIX compatible OS called UNOS. Since CRDS was
>already shipping on the 68000, Tandy figured that it was a natural. The
>problem was that CRDS couldn't shrink their base + development system
>to leave enough space on a 5 megabyte winchester to suit Tandy's fancy,
>so they went to Xenix.
>
>To this day there are remnants of Tandy support code in UNOS.
.
.
.
That's OK; I know of one DBMS company that has
UNOS #ifdef-s in its source code. It took a
few years for CRDS to get *truly* compatible.
--

Cameron Laird
cla...@Neosoft.com (claird%Neoso...@uunet.uu.net) +1 713 267 7966
cla...@litwin.com (claird%litwi...@uunet.uu.net) +1 713 996 8546

Peter da Silva

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Nov 23, 1992, 4:44:02 AM11/23/92
to
In article <921121...@rmkhome.UUCP> r...@rmkhome.UUCP (Rick Kelly) writes:
> >The *IX variants up to that time had a real problem running on an 8086
> >chip. I wouldn't say it was slow, but the only other computer that I
> >saw that was slower was turned off.

That's interesting, considering that for most real applications Xenix was
a lot faster than MS-DOS: the disk I/O was faster, the screen I/O was faster,
and the system as a whole was more robust and reliable. Unfortunately, in a
time when 5 MB hard drives were still being sold, you pretty much required
half of the 10 MB drive in an XT for the O/S and swap, and if you added the
compiler you only had 1-2 MB free. That's what really killed it.

> >Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
> >based machines.

With a 6MB (not 5MB) winchester. The biggest problem they had was crummy
mechanical design: here you had an all-in-one computer that rebooted when
you hit it on the side. Putting a piece of foam tape over one of the circuit
boards to stop it rubbing against the one next to it (hadn't RS ever heard
of standoffs?) fixed that.
--
Peter da Silva. <pe...@sugar.neosoft.com>.
`-_-' Oletko halannut suttasi tänään?
'U`
Tarjoilija, tämä ateria elää vielä.

Terry Kennedy, Operations Mgr.

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Nov 23, 1992, 2:19:02 AM11/23/92
to
In article <1992Nov20.1...@bilver.uucp>, bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermillion) writes:
> DOS 1.0 looked a lot like CPM. But when I used it I found that the
> S-100 4Mhz Z80 based machines with memory mapped display was so much
> faster than the 4.7 Mhz 8086 machine with the IBM 'idea' of a video
> display adapter was pretty poor.

I worked on a back-port of GW-BASIC (the unIBM version of BASICA) to the
Z-80. Running on a 3.58Mhz Z-80, with token compatibility (in other words,
a BASICA program "SAVEd" to floppy and loaded on the Z-80), the games that
IBM shipped with DOS 1.x ran about 3 times as fast on the Z-80.

Of course, the "standard" that these guys were trying to produce never
went anywhere in the US, although it was big in the Far East. Hint: The name
of the standard is also the name of a disease that affects cattle. Any
guesses? 8-}

> Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
> based machines. That was the 1.x series. The 3.x series for those
> machines was done by SCO. The IBM Xenix 1.0 was released unsupported.
> The 2.0 was really bad - supported - but bad.

I was working at another shop when Microsoft got the rights to Xenix from
WECo. We actually had a PDP-11/34 running "Xenix". Of course, all the manuals
were photocopies with the WECo logo and name markered out and "Microsoft"
written on the cover. We kept nagging them, saying "but when are you going to
_do_ something with this operating system?". They pretty much ignored it for
a _very_ long time.

Terry Kennedy Operations Manager, Academic Computing
te...@spcvxa.bitnet St. Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ USA
te...@spcvxa.spc.edu +1 201 915 9381

Rich Alderson

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Nov 23, 1992, 1:01:37 PM11/23/92
to
In article <1992Nov20.1...@bilver.uucp>, bill@bilver (Bill Vermillion) writes:
>In article <hT8BrAb...@lorc.UUCP> lo...@lorc.UUCP (Lamar Owen) writes:
>
>>In <STEVEV.92N...@miser.uoregon.edu> ste...@miser.uoregon.edu (Steve VanDevender) writes:
>
>>>In article <1dvltd...@skat.usc.edu> jlo...@skat.usc.edu (John 'Fritz' Lowrey) writes:
>
>>> My seed:
>>> Microsoft DOS -> Intended as a stepping stone while DR
>>> wrapped up CP/M-86, and now the program
>>> loader of choice for countless millions.
>
>>>You really need to study up on your computing history. You seem
>>>to imply that Microsoft got MS-DOS from Digital Research.
>>>Microsoft got MS-DOS from a small firm called Seattle Computer,
>>>which had written a quick-and-dirty CP/M clone called SC-DOS.

Well... This has been discussed on this newsgroup before, but not for a while,
so what the hell.

What Seattle Computer did was to assemble the source for CP/M 1.4 on the 8086,
for their single-board computer based on that chip. Microsoft bought it, not
knowing that it was a copyright violation.

>>>Then Microsoft hacked it up and marketed the hell out of it.
>
>>The original marketing niche for MS-DOS was as a stepping stone from the
>>8-bit CP/M world to the multiuser 16-bit world of Xenix. Microsoft, in
>>the early 80's, fully intended to make Xenix their high-end OS. However,
>>the market chose otherwise.
>
>And why did the market choose otherwise.
>
>Easy. Dos 1.0 - on a 64k max memory machine with a single 160k floppy
>at $60 list price was a much better deal than CPM from DRI at $300.
>
>DOS 1.0 looked a lot like CPM. But when I used it I found that the
>S-100 4Mhz Z80 based machines with memory mapped display was so much
>faster than the 4.7 Mhz 8086 machine with the IBM 'idea' of a video
>display adapter was pretty poor.

For obvious reasons.

Of course, by that time CP/M was at version 2.2, which differed from version
1.4 in pretty much the same way that it differed from PC-DOS/MS-DOS.

And that was a 4.7MHz *8088*--not even the full-fledged 8086. Cheaper support
chips you know. Used the same 8-bitters as the 8080, 8085, and Z80.
--
Rich Alderson 'I wish life was not so short,' he thought. 'Languages take
such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about.'
--J. R. R. Tolkien,
alde...@leland.stanford.edu _The Lost Road_

Don Stokes

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Nov 24, 1992, 2:34:04 AM11/24/92
to
te...@spcvxb.spc.edu (Terry Kennedy, Operations Mgr.) writes:
> Of course, the "standard" that these guys were trying to produce never
> went anywhere in the US, although it was big in the Far East. Hint: The name
> of the standard is also the name of a disease that affects cattle. Any
> guesses? 8-}

That wouldn't be the infamous MSX "standard" would it? It wasn't any use
for anything but games, and the C=64 had that market tied up quite nicely.

--
Don Stokes, ZL2TNM (DS555) d...@zl2tnm.gen.nz (home)
Network Manager, Computing Services Centre d...@vuw.ac.nz (work)
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand +64-4-495-5052

Rick Kelly

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Nov 24, 1992, 12:29:11 AM11/24/92
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In article <By5xp...@NeoSoft.com> pe...@NeoSoft.com (Peter da Silva) writes:
>In article <921121...@rmkhome.UUCP> r...@rmkhome.UUCP (Rick Kelly) writes:
>> >The *IX variants up to that time had a real problem running on an 8086
>> >chip. I wouldn't say it was slow, but the only other computer that I
>> >saw that was slower was turned off.
>
>That's interesting, considering that for most real applications Xenix was
>a lot faster than MS-DOS: the disk I/O was faster, the screen I/O was faster,
>and the system as a whole was more robust and reliable. Unfortunately, in a
>time when 5 MB hard drives were still being sold, you pretty much required
>half of the 10 MB drive in an XT for the O/S and swap, and if you added the
>compiler you only had 1-2 MB free. That's what really killed it.

I didn't write the above about *IX variants. I was tickled pink when
PC/IX came out. And I never refer to UNIX as *IX.

>> >Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
>> >based machines.
>
>With a 6MB (not 5MB) winchester. The biggest problem they had was crummy
>mechanical design: here you had an all-in-one computer that rebooted when
>you hit it on the side. Putting a piece of foam tape over one of the circuit
>boards to stop it rubbing against the one next to it (hadn't RS ever heard
>of standoffs?) fixed that.

Tandy systems were mildly unreliable in those days.

Terry Kennedy, Operations Mgr.

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Nov 24, 1992, 2:23:58 PM11/24/92
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In article <456...@zl2tnm.gen.nz>, d...@zl2tnm.gen.nz (Don Stokes) writes:
> That wouldn't be the infamous MSX "standard" would it? It wasn't any use
> for anything but games, and the C=64 had that market tied up quite nicely.

Yup. Also the Spectravideo 318 and 325 systems before that. At the peak
of popularity, there were over 3,500 game titles available, including
"official" versions of some arcade games previously unavailable on home sys-
tems (including Commodore).

Robert Murphy

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Nov 24, 1992, 3:46:45 PM11/24/92
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pe...@NeoSoft.com (Peter da Silva) writes:

>> >Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
>> >based machines.

>With a 6MB (not 5MB) winchester. The biggest problem they had was crummy
>mechanical design: here you had an all-in-one computer that rebooted when
>you hit it on the side. Putting a piece of foam tape over one of the circuit
>boards to stop it rubbing against the one next to it (hadn't RS ever heard
>of standoffs?) fixed that.

During that era (early 1980s), Tandy was really cutting corners on computer
manufacturing costs, and settling for bad engineering in the process. I
worked for Tandy until mid-1981, and then left to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.
One of the secretaries in grad school had a TRS-80 Mod III that was constantly
trashing her floppies. Now, the Mod III (and later Mod IV) had their floppy
drives immediately to the right of the CRT. I checked with some old pals
at Tandy and discovered that there was a known problem with EMI from the
CRT interfering with the floppy drive circuitry and trashing floppies. It
turned out there was an easy fix: a thin piece of clear plastic separated the
floppies from the CRT, and if you wrapped a piece of aluminum foil around
it, it blocked the EMI and eliminated the floppy trashing. When we checked
into why Tandy chose a piece of plastic instead of aluminum, the answer
was that using aluminum would run five cents more, and when you're planning
a lifetime production run of 100,000 units, that runs into a lot of money.
Apparently the $5,000 in projected extra profit was more important to the
powers that were at Tandy than the lost data and frustrated, alienated
customers.

Bob Murphy

Thomas Beagle

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Nov 24, 1992, 9:21:53 PM11/24/92
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In article <1992Nov24....@spcvxb.spc.edu> te...@spcvxb.spc.edu (Terry Kennedy, Operations Mgr.) writes:
>In article <456...@zl2tnm.gen.nz>, d...@zl2tnm.gen.nz (Don Stokes) writes:
>> That wouldn't be the infamous MSX "standard" would it? It wasn't any use
>> for anything but games, and the C=64 had that market tied up quite nicely.
>
> Yup. Also the Spectravideo 318 and 325 systems before that. At the peak
>of popularity, there were over 3,500 game titles available, including
>"official" versions of some arcade games previously unavailable on home sys-
>tems (including Commodore).

Well, MSX didn't do that badly. They even got around to doing an
MSX-II.

One of the original problems with the MSX standard was that all the
manufacturers very quickly started adding extensions to make their
products stand out in the marketplace.

And Don, the C64 didn't have the games market entirely sewn up.

Signed, a ZX Spectrum owner. :-)

--
Thomas Beagle | tho...@datamark.co.nz Work: 64 4 233 8186
Datamark Intl Ltd | tho...@cavebbs.welly.gen.nz Home: 64 4 499 3832
Technical Writer | Be kind to me, I think I'm suffering from angst.

Don Stokes

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Nov 25, 1992, 5:16:01 AM11/25/92
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tho...@datamark.co.nz (Thomas Beagle) writes:
> te...@spcvxb.spc.edu (Terry Kennedy, Operations Mgr.) writes:
> > Yup. Also the Spectravideo 318 and 325 systems before that. At the peak
> >of popularity, there were over 3,500 game titles available, including
> >"official" versions of some arcade games previously unavailable on home sys-
> >tems (including Commodore).

The 328 was a nice machine, and quite usable as a "real" system with the
addition of floppy drives and CP/M. The 318 was a bit cheap. Both suffered
because they were only nearly MSX compatible.

> Well, MSX didn't do that badly. They even got around to doing an
> MSX-II.

Which didn't help.

> And Don, the C64 didn't have the games market entirely sewn up.
>
> Signed, a ZX Spectrum owner. :-)

NZ of course had a heavy penetration of UK machines; in fact I think it's
fair to say the NZ home computer market followed the UK market far more
than it followed the US. Acorn (despite the efforts of the local
distributor), Sinclair, and later Amstrad made big inroads into the market
here. Apple did well in the education market, but the ][ never took off as
a home machine. Tandy made some early sales (my first real contact with
computers was a TRS-80 Model 1 with 4k and Level 1 BASIC around 1977/78)
but were almost completely pushed aside by a TRS-80 clone called the Dick
Smith Electronics System 80 (allegedly from Aus, but I saw a number of
suspiciously similar machines from Asia advertised in magazines). The only
US manufacturer to get into the NZ home market and stay there was
Commodore.

Lamar Owen

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Nov 23, 1992, 9:24:18 AM11/23/92
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In <1992Nov20.1...@bilver.uucp> bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermillion) writes:
>In article <hT8BrAb...@lorc.UUCP> lo...@lorc.UUCP (Lamar Owen) writes:
[I FINALLY got a FQDN!!!! Joy!]

>DOS 1.0 looked a lot like CPM. But when I used it I found that the
>S-100 4Mhz Z80 based machines with memory mapped display was so much
>faster than the 4.7 Mhz 8086 machine with the IBM 'idea' of a video
>display adapter was pretty poor.

Also the fact that a 4MHz Z80 will outrun a 6MHz 8088 any day of the week.

>I remember one demo I saw of a computer called a Max80 by Lobo. It was
>CPM or Radio Shack Model I hardware compatible.

>They'd fire up a program writing numbers to a screen on the PC, and
>then walk across the room, type in the program on the Max, and then run
>it, and have the Max finish first. Impressive to people who didn't
>know a damn thing about computers.

The LOBO Max-80 was a 5MHz Z80B machine. Equivalent to 8MHz 8088 for most
stuff. Ran LDOS 5.1.3 at last note. MISOSYS still supports LDOS for the
Max; last version is 5.3.1. Model I hardware compatible? Almost, but not
quite.

>And when DOS 1.0 came out the Xenix wasn't even talked about for low
>end machines. I remember seeing the first effort by SCO at one of
>their very first public outings. I believe it was at Comdex in 1984.

>The *IX variants up to that time had a real problem running on an 8086
>chip. I wouldn't say it was slow, but the only other computer that I
>saw that was slower was turned off.

AT&T had their PC Unix for the 6300. Later, there was INIX, which will
run (VERY slowly) on an XT. Same software. SystemIII level Unix.

>Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
>based machines. That was the 1.x series. The 3.x series for those
>machines was done by SCO. The IBM Xenix 1.0 was released unsupported.
>The 2.0 was really bad - supported - but bad.

Tandy did the 3.x Xenix. They bought the rights to the Microsoft code
for the 68K before SCO was even a player. There are no SCO copyrights
in any of the 3.2 Tandy Xenix distribution--I know, because I have
two Tandy 6000's.

Microsoft Xenix was also available for the Apple LISA. In fact, the
/usr/include/*.h header files have conditionals for the LISA versus
the T6K.

The Tandy Xenix 3.2 is an OK system for playing around with, or running
a small multiline BBS on. The system has a definite BSDish flavor,
but is classified System III. However, it is still Xenix, which has
quite a few idiosyncracies of a wierd nature.


>Bill Vermillion

--

Lamar Owen, Systems Consultant | If there were a tax on syn,
GE Lighting Systems, Hendersonville, NC | we'd all be broke.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
My opinions are not those of GE and do not reflect GE policy in any way.

Bill Vermillion

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Nov 27, 1992, 12:06:22 PM11/27/92
to
In article <SmOErA-...@lorc.eskimo.com> lo...@lorc.eskimo.com (Lamar Owen) writes:
>In <1992Nov20.1...@bilver.uucp> bi...@bilver.uucp (Bill Vermillion) writes:
>>In article <hT8BrAb...@lorc.UUCP> lo...@lorc.UUCP (Lamar Owen) writes:
>[I FINALLY got a FQDN!!!! Joy!]

>>DOS 1.0 looked a lot like CPM. But when I used it I found that the
>>S-100 4Mhz Z80 based machines with memory mapped display was so much
>>faster than the 4.7 Mhz 8086 machine with the IBM 'idea' of a video
>>display adapter was pretty poor.

>Also the fact that a 4MHz Z80 will outrun a 6MHz 8088 any day of the week.

>>I remember one demo I saw of a computer called a Max80 by Lobo. It was
>>CPM or Radio Shack Model I hardware compatible.

>>They'd fire up a program writing numbers to a screen on the PC, and
>>then walk across the room, type in the program on the Max, and then run
>>it, and have the Max finish first. Impressive to people who didn't
>>know a damn thing about computers.

>The LOBO Max-80 was a 5MHz Z80B machine. Equivalent to 8MHz 8088 for most
>stuff. Ran LDOS 5.1.3 at last note. MISOSYS still supports LDOS for the
>Max; last version is 5.3.1. Model I hardware compatible? Almost, but not
>quite.

The big problem with the Max is that is was designed to be Model I
hardware and Logical Systems wrote the Model III version of LDOS for
it. That caused more problems than if the Model I version of LDOS had
been written for it. I was quite involved with the Max in the early
days, having been at their factory, and also headed up the national
Max users group, MAXIMUL, at one time.

>>Microsoft's Xenix efforts were for Tandy on their 68000
>>based machines. That was the 1.x series. The 3.x series for those
>>machines was done by SCO. The IBM Xenix 1.0 was released unsupported.
>>The 2.0 was really bad - supported - but bad.

>Tandy did the 3.x Xenix. They bought the rights to the Microsoft code
>for the 68K before SCO was even a player. There are no SCO copyrights
>in any of the 3.2 Tandy Xenix distribution--I know, because I have
>two Tandy 6000's.

Not to argue with you, but I am. I can also say 'I Know'. I have a 16
with a serial number in the 700 range and a pair of 6000s'.

There ARE SCO copyrights in the 3.x code.

Grab the "Xenix Reference Manual" from the Development system.
Turn to the title page, and turn it over.

Top paragraph says in part "Information in the document is subject to
change without notice and does not represent a commitement on the part
of The Santa Cruz Organization, Inc. nor Microsoft Corporation."

Following the rest of the paragraph are 3 lines..

(c) 1983, 1984 Microsoft Corporation
(c) 1984, 1985 The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.
Licensed to Tandy Corporation

Bottom of the page
Document Number:G-2-14-8-1.3/1.0

Copyrights by Tandy Corporation are conspicous by their absence.

There are SCO copyright notices in the 'Users' or 'System
Adminstrators' guide in the run-time however.

Both of those show a Microsoft Copright liscenced to Tandy. The only
Tandy copyrights are on the manuals themselves.

These have a copyright date one year earlier than the Development
system, so I would 'guess' the SCO did the Development work but not
runtime.

>The Tandy Xenix 3.2 is an OK system for playing around with, or running
>a small multiline BBS on. The system has a definite BSDish flavor,
>but is classified System III. However, it is still Xenix, which has
>quite a few idiosyncracies of a wierd nature.

When compiling net code for the t6k I found that everything usually
complied right the first time if I said it was USG. It was more
Verison 7 than System III in many places.

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