Mac vs. Amiga

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Elliott Buchholz

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Jan 20, 1987, 11:04:45 PM1/20/87
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I am currently in the process of buying a personal computer. I have
narrowed myself down to either a Mac or an Amiga, due to personal
preference, software availability, and flexibility. But I can't seem
to decide what would be my best decision. All my Mac friends scream,
"Buy Mac!!!" My Amiga friends retort, "Don't be silly! Amiga is
state-of-the-art."
So I ask, what do you people think is the better of the two, and
why? As far as price goes, the deals I have are:

Mac-plus: Est. $1550 for Mac (1 meg memory), Imagewriter II printer,
and second drive
Amiga: Est. $1650 for Amiga, Expansion board (512 k), color
monitor, and second drive (printer not in deal-- est.
another $450 or so)

I would appreciate some as-unbiased-as-possible opinions on what my
best deal is.

Please E-mail your responses to me, and I will tally up the responses
and post what the general majority opinion is.

Elliott Buchholz
Looking for a glitchy phrase

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Let the pigeons loose!!!

Laurence R. Brothers

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Jan 21, 1987, 1:06:07 AM1/21/87
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To: buch...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU


"Don't be silly!"

Get an Atari ST! Like 1/2 the price of the amiga and essentially the
same features. OK, the amiga has a little better graphics, but then
the ST has a better OS..... Also, you can get higher memory models
of the ST cheaper still (1040 K ST is < $1000, including monitor, disc
drive)

Also, if you like Mac software, you can get a cartridge relatively
cheaply that plugs into the st case and presto -- color Mac.
Apparently, the ST actually runs many Mac program faster than the
Mac...
--
Laurence R. Brothers
brot...@topaz.rutgers.edu
{harvard,seismo,ut-sally,sri-iu,ihnp4!packard}!topaz!brothers
"I can't control my fingers -- I can't control my brain -- Oh nooooo!"

Amiga-Man

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Jan 21, 1987, 10:35:53 AM1/21/87
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In comparing the MAC vs. the Amiga, I just thought I'd mention a couple items
which the Amiga offers which you should take into consideration:

- A true multitasking OS. I find this feature very important.
- Great graphics (fast!) AND NTSC compatibility.
- You can mail order a reconditioned one for alot less than the price
you mentioned. This is a temporary advantage.
- The sidecar option (plugs into amiga and contains an IBM clone) gives
you simple and effective total IBM compatibility (blek :-)).
- Lots of Public domain stuff in SOURCE form. Great for budding programmers.

Good luck on your choice !

Dave Haynie

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Jan 21, 1987, 12:22:34 PM1/21/87
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>
> "Don't be silly!"

"Don't be ignorant!"

> Get an Atari ST! Like 1/2 the price of the amiga

More like 3/4 or more of the price, depending on configurations.

> and essentially the same features.

Get a clue, pal...

> OK, the amiga has a little better graphics

ya, like 640x400x4 vs 640x400x1, etc. MUCH better, not a little better.

> but then the ST has a better OS.....

Technically, the Atari doesn't even HAVE an OS. A DOS, maybe, and a
set of BIOS calls, certainly, but no OS. The Atari's BIOS is an
attempted clone of MS-DOS, and causes lots of problems. Like hard
disks that get unbareably slow with partitions greater than 5 Megs,
and go ape on you when you get something over 40 subdirectories on
them. The Amiga IS the only computer in this price range that has a
real OS. If you don't know what a real OS is, I can suggest several
books on the subject. Or ask a UNIX wiz why MS-DOS doesn't qualify
as a real OS.

> Also, you can get higher memory models of the ST cheaper still (1040 K ST
> is < $1000, including monitor, disc drive)

Of course, you can buy an Amiga and not need a "higher memory model".
I've got one here with a megabyte, there's one in the next office with
512K, I've another around here with 4 megabytes on it. All the same
model. If next year you decide that a megabyte isn't enough, you can
add several more. And since the Amiga's OS multitasks, you can do
real things with that memory, not just attempt to get by with kludges
like "desk accessories" or "memory-resident utilities". The machine
I'm typing on now has a CLI window open in the background doing a
diskcopy, and as well I've got a screen blanking program, clock,
print server, and a few other tasks running. Just try that on one
of the other machines.

> Laurence R. Brothers
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dave Haynie {caip,ihnp4,allegra,seismo}!cbmvax!daveh

"You can keep my things, they've come to take me home"
-Peter Gabriel

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chuck McManis

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Jan 21, 1987, 2:23:49 PM1/21/87
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In article <85...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU>, brot...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU (Laurence R. Brothers) writes:
> "Don't be silly!"
>
> Get an Atari ST! Like 1/2 the price of the amiga and essentially the
> same features. OK, the amiga has a little better graphics, but then
> the ST has a better OS..... Also, you can get higher memory models
^^^^^^

> of the ST cheaper still (1040 K ST is < $1000, including monitor, disc
> drive)

Great, and next your going to tell us it was all a big mistake and we
really should go back to MS-DOS 1.1 for the "best" OS. Seriously the
Atari OS was based on DRI's work toward an MS-DOS clone and it shows.
One of the nicer things about the Amiga was that it's OS is based on
TriPOS which at least was targeted for large systems and does not
have artificial limits built in (like 40 "folders" or 36 Meg of disk
space). It is also infinitely mor customizable than Atari's TOS.

And you can't buy a 2 meg ST or even an 8 meg ST today but you can buy
an Amiga with that much memory (and a 68881, and a 68020 if you want).
--
--Chuck McManis
uucp: {anywhere}!sun!cmcmanis BIX: cmcmanis ARPAnet: cmcm...@sun.com
These opinions are my own and no one elses, but you knew that didn't you.

William Edward Woody

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Jan 21, 1987, 4:10:26 PM1/21/87
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Uh, isn't this COMP.SYS.MAC, and not COMP.SYS.MAC&AMIGA&ATARI&Whatever else?

I think the Amiga is cute, and the Atari is cute, and they both are great
machines for certain tasks, just as the Mac is cute and great for whatever
tasks it's good for.

But can we leave the follow ups on if the Amiga is better than the Atari
somewhere else?

Thanks.

- William Woody Mac! > ][n && /|\
wo...@tybalt.caltech.edu
wo...@juliet.caltech.edu

Dave D'Souza

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Jan 21, 1987, 5:57:05 PM1/21/87
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Come on, let's stop this ridiculous debate now. This subject has been
beaten to death already. Please note that the original submitter of
the question asked that resposes be e-mailed directly to him and NOT
posted to the net. Also, a summary was promised and this will be more
interesting than the individual letters.

Please don't bother others with this cruft. I am quite sure many have
had to replace worn out K keys after previous such debates.

Here is is original author's address...

In article <85...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU> buch...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU (Elliott Buchholz) writes:
> {stuff deleted}


>I would appreciate some as-unbiased-as-possible opinions on what my
>best deal is.
>
>Please E-mail your responses to me, and I will tally up the responses

============================


>and post what the general majority opinion is.

>^ ARPA: buch...@topaz.rutgers.edu ^

William Edward Woody

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Jan 21, 1987, 11:46:15 PM1/21/87
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Apologies to those on comp.sys.amiga, comp.sys.m68k, and comp.sys.misc,
for the previous flame I posted. I wanted it to only go to comp.sys.mac...

I feel so stupid...

Ravi Subrahmanyan

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Jan 22, 1987, 1:40:03 AM1/22/87
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In article <12...@cbmvax.cbmvax.cbm.UUCP> da...@cbmvax.cbm.UUCP (Dave Haynie) writes:
>>
>> "Don't be silly!"
>
>"Don't be ignorant!"

I won't argue the price/os issues, that's subjective and it's your
money if you get suckered into a bad deal.. however, some of these
statements smack of ignorance on Dave's part (reminds me of the thing about
fellows in grass houses not storing thrones..)

>Like hard
>disks that get unbareably slow with partitions greater than 5 Megs,
>and go ape on you when you get something over 40 subdirectories on
>them.

Not true. I have 10 & 16 Meg partitions on my 30 Meg disk, and
it books along quite well, thank you. This is really a moot point,
however. I put together a 30 Meg hard disk for my Atari for $600.
(You can buy a 20 Meg one for $650). *All* my friends with Amiga's
are limping along with two floppies because they can't find real hard
disks for comparable (affordable?) prices (even something that plugs
into the printer port (for heavens sake!) is $850 or so around here)
I get to see them eyeing my drive every now and then, and after that I
don't even mind the 40 folder limit (for which Atari's worked out a
patch-fix, by the way).

>
>Of course, you can buy an Amiga and not need a "higher memory model".

The original poster didn't know about boards that can be
bought for the ST that can be populated to go up to 4 Meg.


> ... Amiga's multitasking OS ... don't need desk accs ...

Dave's one ironclad point. The Amiga's multitasking *is*
great. However, I look upon this as a difference in the machine's
characters, not an issue for mudslinging. Does everyone want
multitasking? I'm not sure.. (after all, it might slow my hard
disk down :-)

I imagine everyone is sick of this debate, so why doesn't
someone direct followups to the place it all started (now that I've
got my two bits in)?

-ravi

Chuck Fisher

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Jan 22, 1987, 10:43:20 AM1/22/87
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The following is excerpted from an article in the January, 1987
issue of Dr. Dobbs Journal of Software Tools. "Macintosh
Buttons and Amiga Gadgets" was written by Jan L. Hamington who
is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at
Bentley College. She is the author of "Macintosh Assembly
Language: An Introduction.

"This article explores the details of the standard Macintosh and
Amiga user interfaces, examines the system routines programmers
use to create those interfaces, and discusses those system
routines through a pair of sample 68000 assembly-language
programs that support a portion of the standard user
interfaces.

"It might be unfair to base an evaluation of the system routines
of the Macintosh and Amiga simply on the subset of the routines
designed to manipulate the user interface. On the other hand,
the programming strategies used to implement the standard user
interfaces are similar to those required for other system
operations. In general, the Macintosh's routines isolate
programmers from low-level tasks such as list manipulation and
initialization of data structures (File Manager parameter
blocks are notable exceptions). Although this reduces the
burden on the programmer, it can decrease the programmer's
flexibility. The Macintosh routines are also more complete in
terms of their support for the documented user interface. The
effect is again to reduce the burden placed on the programmer.

"On the Amiga, the Intuition library provides routines for the
standard user interface. Although support for screen, windows,
menus, and fonts is available, there is a great gap in terms of
text editing. In other words, the Amiga does not provide
system routines to fully implement its own standard interface
recommendations. As someone who writes more programs that rely
on text manipulation than on graphics, I believe that this is a
serious deficiency. It is true that the Amiga performs some
functions "automatically" for which a Macintosh program must
include code (for example, moving and sizing windows).
Nonetheless, the Macintosh does include system routines to
handle those functions."

What Jan seems to be saying is that the Amiga has an advantage
to programming graphics and animation oriented applications
over the Macintosh. But for text oriented applications the
Macintosh provides better support in terms of system library
routines. This sort of reaffirms the idea of the Amiga being a
great game machine while the Macintosh is targeted more towards
"business" applications. Looking at the software available for
each machine also confirms this orientation.

The bottom line is that in choosing between a Macintosh, Amiga,
or Atari one should look to see whether the applications
available meets one's expectations.

Flame on: Although Amiga touts its multi-tasking capability,
how many programs are written to take advantge of it? I would
agree that "background printing" is desireable, but a Mac can
do that as well as an Amiga. Most of the work that I do on the
Mac are interactive in nature, and don't lend themselves that
well to true multitasking. Switcher and Servant provide most
of the capabilities needed to integrate foreground tasks in my
opinion.

Much as I hate to say it, but the success of a machine is not
based solely on hardware, or the elegance of the user interface.
Instead, what guarantees success is the name and backing of the
manufacturer plus the willingness of third-party developers to
produce software. When enough machines have been sold and
enough software written, the machine then becomes a "success"
and continues to generate momentum for some time. The Mac has
achieved this level in the past 12 months, but I am afraid the
Atari and Amiga have not.

Richard Sansom

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Jan 22, 1987, 11:41:08 AM1/22/87
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In article <12...@cbmvax.cbmvax.cbm.UUCP> da...@cbmvax.cbm.UUCP (Dave Haynie) writes:
>> "Don't be silly!"
>"Don't be ignorant!"
>> Get an Atari ST! Like 1/2 the price of the amiga
>More like 3/4 or more of the price, depending on configurations.
^^^
O.k., I know of several places that offer a 520 ST (monochrome, 512K, 1
drive) for ~$500. That sounds closer to 1/3 the price of the Amiga's
$1500 (color monitor, 512K, 1 drive). And I've never heard of a single
monochrome-ST owner trying to find a replacement for their original
monitor.

>> and essentially the same features.
>Get a clue, pal...
>> OK, the amiga has a little better graphics
>ya, like 640x400x4 vs 640x400x1, etc. MUCH better, not a little better.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Purely subjective. The Amiga can display more colors then the ST - if
you need more color, get an Amiga. However, I've yet to see a _single_
program on the Amiga which could not be done on the ST (I stress single
because of the next bit...).

>> but then the ST has a better OS.....
>Technically, the Atari doesn't even HAVE an OS. A DOS, maybe, and a

>set of BIOS calls, certainly, but no OS....
>...The Amiga IS the only computer in this price range that has a
>real OS....

Agreed. The ST's OS leaves alot to be desired. Atari should spend
more time writing a real OS for the ST than coming out with new
computer lines. In my opinion, the Amiga's only real advantage over
the ST is in it's ability to run muliple tasks. Even though there are
ways to multitask on the ST (MTC-shell, OS/9, FORTH, etc), it would've
been nice if Atari had taken care of this for us.

Sorry to contribute to this silly discussion, but you knew someone was
going to rebut that last article. How did this latest bout of Amiga v.s.
ST get started anyway?

-Rich

--
__________ ______ ____ _____ ___
/_________//___ ||__|/____|/__/ Richard E. Sansom
___ ____/ / ____________ TRW Electronics & Defense Sector
/ / / /\ < | /| / One Space Park Drive, R3/1028
/ / / / \ \ | / | / Redondo Beach, CA 90278
/__/ /__/ \__\|__/ |__/ ...{decvax,ucbvax,ihnp4}!trwrb!sansom

jafi...@watrose.uucp

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Jan 22, 1987, 12:24:54 PM1/22/87
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In article <6...@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> ra...@ATRP.MEDIA.MIT.EDU (Amiga-Man) writes:
> ... [talks about advantages of Amiga]

>- A true multitasking OS. I find this feature very important.

I'm really curious: just how great is multitasking? I.e., how much do
you, the typical Amiga owners, use this feature? Even on Unix I find that the
only thing I consistently use '&' for is printing, and on my ST I have a wide
range of print spoolers to choose from. And when I'm in the edit-compile-edit
cycle, the speed of Megamax compile-time, coupled with a RAMdisk, makes multi-
tasking a 'yeah it would be nice, but not utterly world-stopping' luxury.
(There is a multitasking C-Shell, but it's basically non-GEM, and still
pretty buggy).

But then again... I _don't_ envy your high (until recently) prices,
nor your apparently buggy OS (see message 1292 in comp.sys.amiga!), but...
I _DO_ envy your multitasking! I'm just curious how useful it
actually is. I.e., is it that necessary in a personal computer,
and is it worth the slow-down in execution? Even though I would really _like_
it, would I really use it that much?

Uh oh, this could be taken as a typical my-PC-is-better-than-yours
posting. It isn't. The main intent of this posting is the question of
multitasking.

- Jonathan Fischer

j...@gssc.uucp

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Jan 22, 1987, 1:34:30 PM1/22/87
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*** tongue in cheek flame on ***

ok, enough of this crap about which is better: the amiga, mac, or atari.
they're all toys!!

a buddy of mine has an amiga, so i went over to have a look-see and find out
what all this psychobabble was all about. i found this puny litte box that
was hardly as big as my vt100! he mumbled something about a 68 or other
"micro-processor" being able to outstrip a vax "on some operations." like
what? certainly not disk accesses!! these newfangled "boxes" don't even have
*real* disk drives. i mean, what good is a little three and a half inch
jobbie compared to my 12-platter rm-05's?

i had brought some "real" software over to test this thing - you know, fire up
a couple makes an troff jobs and see what happens - but it seems that he didn't
have no nine-track for his little pee-cee. hrmph.

so he showed me some graphics. who needs 'em? i don't program by drawin'
perty pitchers. hell, i dunno about you, but my compiler uses TEXT, fer
crissake, and when the compiler don't do what i want, i talk to the assembler,
and if *that* don't fix it, i use od(1) and ipatch(1) to party on the bits as
they lie there sitting pretty on the disk. graphics, ha!! real programmers
don't *need* graphics. better put a tourniquete on it before y'all BLT to
death! i always knew you boys had some strange, genetic DDA problems.

anyhoo, if y'all own one o' them pee-cees, don't fret too much. you can still
impress your ignorant friends. unless they been down to the video arcade and
seed some *real* neet pitchers. that's okay though. real programmers didn't
make them, either.

you can still dial-up to a real computer and do some real work, i suppose,
till yer damn kids wanna use the phone.

or, you can do your checkbook on it, if you got the extra time to write all
that stuff down twice.

well, now wait a sec - you can use it as a typewriter. yeah, that's it. that's
the ticket. a $2000 typewriter!! you're all set!! i *knew* there was a
reason you had to have that thing. add a few bucks more for a cuisenart word
processor and you've got it!!

me? no thanks, i'll stick to troff. real programmers don't need wizzy wigs.
unless their hair is falling out.

*** flame off =) ***

-- jdm

NOTE: the above opinions may or may not be my own. think what you will.

Andy Beals

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Jan 22, 1987, 3:42:15 PM1/22/87
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In article <12...@cbmvax.cbmvax.cbm.UUCP> da...@cbmvax.cbm.UUCP (Dave Haynie) writes:
>Technically, the Atari doesn't even HAVE an OS.
>A DOS, maybe,

DOS stands for "Disk Operating System".

>The Atari's BIOS is an attempted clone of MS-DOS

Wrong. If you would sit down and read the CP/M68K manuals, you would
find that it is essentially just a port of CP/M80 to the 68k. I won't
say anything about CP/M in general being a single-user clone of TOPS-10...

MS-DOS (or PC-DOS) began life as Seattle Microcomputer Product's DOS-86,
an 8086 clone of CP/M80 (circa '80 or '81), which they sold as operating
system software (along with a translated, slow and unoptimized copy of
Microsoft Basic (v4.51?)) for the 8086 s100 board that they made. As far
as I remember, DOS-86 arrived on the scene a little earlier than DRI's
CP/M86.

With a mind for ancient history,
andy
--
Andrew Scott Beals, {lll-crg,decwrl,allegra}!amdcad!bandy +1 408 749 3683

Tim Smith

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Jan 22, 1987, 3:43:13 PM1/22/87
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In an article, Dave Haynie writes:
>
> The Amiga IS the only computer in this price range that has a
> real OS. If you don't know what a real OS is, I can suggest
> several books on the subject. Or ask a UNIX wiz why MS-DOS
> doesn't qualify as a real OS.

Please explain how the Amiga has a real OS, but the Mac does
not. While you're at it, please explain why Amiga-DOS is a real
OS, but PX/IX is not.

--
Religion: just say "no"

Tim Smith USENET: sdcrdcf!ism780c!tim Compuserve: 72257,3706
Delphi or GEnie: mnementh

i...@minnie.uucp

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Jan 22, 1987, 4:02:45 PM1/22/87
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>
>I am currently in the process of buying a personal computer. I have
>narrowed myself down to either a Mac or an Amiga, due to personal
>preference, software availability, and flexibility. But I can't seem
>to decide what would be my best decision. All my Mac friends scream,
>"Buy Mac!!!" My Amiga friends retort, "Don't be silly! Amiga is
>state-of-the-art."
> So I ask, what do you people think is the better of the two, and
>why? As far as price goes, the deals I have are:
>
>Mac-plus: Est. $1550 for Mac (1 meg memory), Imagewriter II printer,
> and second drive
>Amiga: Est. $1650 for Amiga, Expansion board (512 k), color
> monitor, and second drive (printer not in deal-- est.
> another $450 or so)
>
>I would appreciate some as-unbiased-as-possible opinions on what my
>best deal is.
>
>Please E-mail your responses to me, and I will tally up the responses
>and post what the general majority opinion is.
>
> Elliott Buchholz
> Looking for a glitchy phrase
>

Well, you know the old phrase "you can wait forever", but I am going to
suggest exactly that. Personally, I think the Amiga has certain
hardware and OS advantages, but the Mac is better supported and likely
to stay around longer. I would however, suggest that you wait a few
weeks and see what Apple is about to announce. I don't know much about
the projected availability dates, but there are supposed to be several
really super new products being announced VERY shortly (like perhaps
this weekend).

If they announce what I think they will, I will probably buy the
high-end 68020(30?) system for myself. It'll be a nice replacement for
my current intel/MS-DOG machine, and rumor has it that there will be a
vmunix (probably berkeley) available for it (although not immediately).

--I
--

uucp: ihnp4!nrcvax!ihm

George Robbins

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Jan 22, 1987, 4:40:09 PM1/22/87
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In article <2...@elxsi.UUCP> fis...@elxsi.UUCP (Chuck Fisher) writes:
>
>Flame on: Although Amiga touts its multi-tasking capability,
>how many programs are written to take advantge of it? I would
>agree that "background printing" is desireable, but a Mac can
>do that as well as an Amiga. Most of the work that I do on the
>Mac are interactive in nature, and don't lend themselves that
>well to true multitasking. Switcher and Servant provide most
>of the capabilities needed to integrate foreground tasks in my
>opinion.

You were doing good up till this, but now it looks like you are maybe
missing an important point. When the system software is designed with
multi-tasking in mind, programs don't have to be written to take
advantage of multi-tasking. It's just an option that exits when the
*user* needs/wants it. The is one place where the MAC blew it, using
an event loop philosophy that sounds an awful lot like some 60's style*
design to implement state-of-the-art human interfaces.

* primitive online systems required batch programs to test for special
events in their main processing loops, and branch to a special inquiry
routine/program to handle requests from the 'online' terminal(s). We're
talking 20-25 years ago, IBM 1401's and stuff. Can you say 'desk
accessory'?
--
George Robbins - now working for, uucp: {ihnp4|seismo|rutgers}!cbmvax!grr
but no way officially representing arpa: cbmvax!g...@seismo.css.GOV
Commodore, Engineering Department fone: 215-431-9255 (only by moonlite)

George Robbins

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Jan 22, 1987, 8:28:08 PM1/22/87
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In article <15...@trwrb.UUCP> san...@trwrb.UUCP (Richard Sansom) writes:
>
>Sorry to contribute to this silly discussion, but you knew someone was
>going to rebut that last article. How did this latest bout of Amiga v.s.
>ST get started anyway?
>-Rich

Some poor person asked for help in deciding which system to buy, sigh. Enuff...

Tim Smith

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Jan 22, 1987, 9:10:36 PM1/22/87
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In article <52...@ism780c.UUCP> I wrote:
>OS, but PX/IX is not.

That is, of course, PC/IX, not PX/IX. Oops.

jtr...@umich.uucp

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Jan 22, 1987, 10:24:41 PM1/22/87
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In article <12...@cbmvax.cbmvax.cbm.UUCP>, da...@cbmvax.UUCP writes:
>
> > but then the ST has a better OS.....
> > Laurence R. Brothers

> Technically, the Atari doesn't even HAVE an OS. A DOS, maybe, and a
> set of BIOS calls, certainly, but no OS. The Atari's BIOS is an
> attempted clone of MS-DOS, and causes lots of problems. Like hard
> disks that get unbareably slow with partitions greater than 5 Megs,
> and go ape on you when you get something over 40 subdirectories on
> them. The Amiga IS the only computer in this price range that has a
> real OS. If you don't know what a real OS is, I can suggest several
> books on the subject. Or ask a UNIX wiz why MS-DOS doesn't qualify
> as a real OS.
> Dave Haynie {caip,ihnp4,allegra,seismo}!cbmvax!daveh

So, tell me. What makes a DOS not an OS?

AmiganaworkDOS (am i gana work DOS) doesn't quite cut it either.
But, for the cost of the Amiga you can get an ST, OS/9 and OS/9 C.
OS/9 is a serious multitasking OS. Built small but built properly.
FYI: 1/2 the price is closer to the mark when you compare the 520 Mono ST
to a 512K Amiga.

Lest you get me wrong, I do think as marketed the ST does not compare to the
Amiga. But, neither is what is could very easily be and should be. What
is hurting both machines is the need to pull good margin to hold up corporate
ships with large holes in their hulls.

--j.a.tainter

Mike Meyer

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 12:36:41 AM1/23/87
to
In article <52...@ism780c.UUCP> t...@ism780c.UUCP (Tim Smith) writes:
>In an article, Dave Haynie writes:
>>
>> The Amiga IS the only computer in this price range that has a
>> real OS. If you don't know what a real OS is, I can suggest
>> several books on the subject. Or ask a UNIX wiz why MS-DOS
>> doesn't qualify as a real OS.
>
>Please explain how the Amiga has a real OS, but the Mac does
>not. While you're at it, please explain why Amiga-DOS is a real
>OS, but PX/IX is not.

I didn't make the first quote (and I disagree with it), but let me
answer the questions anyway:

First, a definition. A "program loader" is a program that puts other
programs in memory, and passes control of the machine to them. If you
enhance these with a set of routines for doing hardware-dependent
things in a consistent manner, and make the entry points the same on
all hardware, you have something like CP/M. Those who deal with large
computers don't consider these to be a "real OS" (I deal with large
computers, and have dealt with such creatures; I agree with the snobs
:-).

My understanding is that this *IS* what the Mac provides. Once an
applications program has control of the machine, it's got control of
the machine, and has to wait for the program to give it back. There's
no way for it to run code - either it's own, or another applications
program - unless the application permits it. Am I wrong?

Now, the questionable statment also said "in this price range." Gotta
be carefull how you define price range. Since peripherals can be added
arbitrarily, let's look at the smallest machine that will run the OS
in question. ST's apparently start at about $500, and an Amiga can be
put together for $900 or so (one drive, 256K and a TV for a monitor).
Let's arbitrarily label the price range as $500-$1000 (I assume that
minimal Mac's can be found in that price range, also). If you can
build a system that runs Pick-Axe for < $1000, then there's a second
system with a real OS, even by strict definitions (well, I do know
people who don't consider variations on Sys III & V as real OS's, but
we'll ignore them for now).

On the other hand, I know that the RS Coler Computer runs a real OS
(OS/9, either Level I or Level II; the latter meaning you have an MMU
and protected memory, even!). I think a low-end CoCo, even enough for
level II, is still under $500, so it's not in the price range I chose,
either :-). But add a requirement for a good monitor, and it'll be in
that price range. This is why I disagree with the above statement;
it's caused by under-exposure to the micro market.

<mike

Matt Dillon

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 5:20:47 AM1/23/87
to
To Everybody in General
To Mr Chuck Fisher Specifically

The excerp that CF posted originally (which started this war) is
essentially correct. One of your added comments (below), however, is
completely incorrect and has already been brained to death in previous
wars between these two newsgroups:

>Flame on: Although Amiga touts its multi-tasking capability,
>how many programs are written to take advantge of it? I would
>agree that "background printing" is desireable, but a Mac can
>do that as well as an Amiga. Most of the work that I do on the
>Mac are interactive in nature, and don't lend themselves that
>well to true multitasking. Switcher and Servant provide most
>of the capabilities needed to integrate foreground tasks in my
>opinion.

You obviously don't understand the concept of multitasking.
To-wit, the idea is that you can run several completely unassociated programs
at the same time without any of them knowing or caring that the others are
also running. There doesn't have to be any 'software' that 'takes advantage
of multitasking', the multitasking allows the user to fully use the
machine and however much memory it has in any way he chooses. For instance
(and I take a standard example), I frequently use my terminal program while
compiling large sources.

There seems to be the misconception that multitasking
presumes a slowdown in throughput. Certainly running two compiles
simultaniously from RAM disk would cause each compile to run half as fast,
but consider more common occurances: Taking the former example one
notes that the terminal program takes almost no CPU (it's continuously
waiting for keystrokes or chars from the modem), and thus both tasks run
at essentially full speed. The same goes for most other programs one might
be using... the USER is still a single tasking entity with limited interrupt
capability. The USER knows exactly what is running when, and why, because
he has full control over all the programs he runs.

But you should remember that what this user views as a sequential
singularity usually requires multitasking on the computer in question:
"Ho Hum reading my mail with my terminal program. Let's see, I want to
do a compile. OK, start the compile, go back to my terminal program..."

Switcher and Servant attest to the fact that most MAC people
understand what multitasking is and want it on their machines. I can but
agree with them.

-Matt

David W. Berry

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 8:45:54 AM1/23/87
to
C'mon folks. We just went through all this. And the original
poster specificall requested comments by >MAIL<. Let's can
it huh? At least don't distribute to multiple groups...

David
--
David W. Berry
d...@well.uucp dwb@Delphi
dwb@GEnie 293-...@408.MaBell

Alan J Rosenthal

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 9:05:23 AM1/23/87
to

In article <2...@elxsi.UUCP> fis...@elxsi.UUCP (Chuck Fisher) quotes from an
article in the January, 1987 issue of Dr. Dobbs Journal of Software Tools,
"Macintosh Buttons and Amiga Gadgets" written by Jan L. Hamington:
...

>The Macintosh routines are also more complete in
>terms of their support for the documented user interface.
...

>It is true that the Amiga performs some
>functions "automatically" for which a Macintosh program must
>include code (for example, moving and sizing windows).

I find it necessary to point out that, like many other things on the mac,
windows are not completely implemented. Just like multitasking, which is
not really implemented on the mac in the sense that a task always has to
voluntarily give up its control of the cpu (by calling SystemTask, I think it
is)*, with windows the mac doesn't store what's obscured when a window goes
on top of another window. Therefore the user program must store this at all
times, because it is wiped out before the user program gets notified that the
window has been obscured. Then the user program must redraw the contents of
the window that was obscured when the window is brought to front again.

Therefore I think it is a gross understatement to say that the Amiga merely
performs these functions automatically rather than the user program having
to do it itself. The Amiga supports windows completely and the Mac does not.
On the Amiga, for example, you can draw into a backgrounded window, one of
the fundamental things you might want to do with a window.

ajr


* It's true that on the Amiga you can block task switching. I don't know
how common this capability is in general, but this is not the same. A
looping program on the mac blocks task switching, for example, and does
not on the Amiga. Anyway, my favourite large-computer-that-must-be-kept-in-
an-air-conditioned-room was the dec10 running tops10, which also had this
capability to ignore task switching, and it ran hundreds of users at a time
& no one ever said it wasn't multitasking.

Chuck McManis

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 1:38:25 PM1/23/87
to
In article <2...@elxsi.UUCP>, fis...@elxsi.UUCP (Chuck Fisher) writes:
>
> [ .. Actually he quotes from Dr. Dobbs but I've deleted that part ..]

> Flame on: Although Amiga touts its multi-tasking capability,
> how many programs are written to take advantge of it? I would
> agree that "background printing" is desireable, but a Mac can
> do that as well as an Amiga. Most of the work that I do on the
> Mac are interactive in nature, and don't lend themselves that
> well to true multitasking. Switcher and Servant provide most
> of the capabilities needed to integrate foreground tasks in my
> opinion.

Unfortunately the above is a misconception held by many people. One
of the nice things about multitasking on the Amiga is that it is
built into the system. That means YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING
SPECIAL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. Every program you run is added
to the list of things to run as far as it is concerned it has the
whole machine to itself. When you were in college did you have to
do anything to make your programs take advantage of multitasking on
the mainframe? Of course not, you ran your programs and other people
ran their programs, and sometimes you would send things out to the
printer while continuing to work on your code and the program
printed *while you worked*. It is the same on the Amiga, if you
want to start something from the workbench then just double click
on it's icon, whatever you are currently running won't stop, it
just keeps on chugging and the new application starts up. The system
makes sure both programs don't grab the disk at the same time or
write to the same file at the same time etc, you code just runs
blythely along. And if your code wants to talk to other tasks on the
machine it opens a message port and gives it a name, then any other
task can look for that message port and start conversing. The only
limit on all of this is memory, since there is no virtual memory
capability if you run one program that takes all of memory then you
cannot run another if it won't fit.

> Much as I hate to say it, but the success of a machine is not
> based solely on hardware, or the elegance of the user interface.
> Instead, what guarantees success is the name and backing of the
> manufacturer plus the willingness of third-party developers to
> produce software. When enough machines have been sold and
> enough software written, the machine then becomes a "success"
> and continues to generate momentum for some time. The Mac has
> achieved this level in the past 12 months, but I am afraid the
> Atari and Amiga have not.

This is an entirely true and entirely misleading statement. Yes in
the last year the Mac has finally broken through that undefinable
area that makes it a "real" machine. This was three years after it's
introduction! One year after the Amiga and Atari were introduced
*both* Atari and CBM sold more of their respective machines in the
first year than Apple sold Mac's. They also have more software a
year after their intro than the Mac did, and more peripherals. If
they follow that trend, then in three years their combined installed
base will be *eight* times the current Mac installed Base. But
everyone knows projections are wildly unreliable things, it could
be worse, it could be better.

Apologies if the SNR of this message is below 50%...

u...@psuvm.bitnet.uucp

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 1:57:00 PM1/23/87
to

I believe CP/M was a clone of one of the PDP-11 operating systems,
not TOPS-10. Of course, TOPS and RT-11 (or whatever) are enough alike
that it don't matter much.

lee

ro...@ulowell.uucp

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 3:10:18 PM1/23/87
to
In article <85...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU> brot...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU (Laurence R. Brothers) writes:
>"Don't be silly!"
>
>Get an Atari ST! Like 1/2 the price of the amiga and essentially the
>same features. OK, the amiga has a little better graphics, but then
>the ST has a better OS..... Also, you can get higher memory models
*flame on*
sigh, here we go again.
Ok, so you say the Atari has a better OS. Case
in point. I'm kermiting down a whole directory of public domain stuff
from a BSD system. When, I suddently realize, oh crud, not only am
I going to run out of RAM, I am using the dynamic RAM drive, but I
don't have enough space on the floppy when I take the files out of ram
and move them to the floppy. Solution, bring up another couple of
MULTIPROCESSING windows. One runs compress on each file on the RAM
disk as it comes in, and another copies it out to disk and deletes it,
after it has been compressed, hopefully :-). It worked, I got 1.5M
of compressed stuff out onto that disk, and then took it home to deal
with it. The point of this is, that a statement that multiprocessing
is what makes the Amiga. The statment that the ST has a better OS
is a sign of true ignorance. Take a course in OS's before you speak,
and you are guilty of misinformation. Personally I dislike Micro's
in general, but the Amiga and its OS are the first of more to come
that are usable. (Micros I mean, no no not a rumor) I just can
stand doing one thing at a time slowly. All right, this is the first
time I gave into tempation and replied to one of these, but I can't
stand ignorance.
*flame off*

>of the ST cheaper still (1040 K ST is < $1000, including monitor, disc
>drive)
You get what you pay for, generally.

>
>Also, if you like Mac software, you can get a cartridge relatively
>cheaply that plugs into the st case and presto -- color Mac.
>Apparently, the ST actually runs many Mac program faster than the
>Mac...
Yea, and the amiga can be turned into an IBM. I have seen an ST emulator
on the Amiga also, but never say it work. A c64 emulator also exists,
and there are constant rumors of a Mac emulator. But, notice that no
one is emulating the Amiga. Two possibilities:
1.) The Amiga is failing, naw, to much loyalty, and commodore stock
continues to rise.
2.) The Amiga is truly a cut above, or state of the art, and can't be
emulated by the more primitive hardware and OSes.

Ross Miller
uucp: ro...@ulowell.uucp
csnet: ross%ulowel...@csnet-relay.arpa

disclaimer: These are not the opinions of my employers. They don't
care. This was written by the same monkeys who came up
with shakespere. (sp?) :-)

Tim Smith

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 7:47:40 PM1/23/87
to
This comparison ( which seems to favor the Mac ) is probably about
as relevant as the Byte one ( which favored the Amiga ). In other
words, it is not relevant. A sane programmer only writes this
stuff once. From then on, he/she re-uses it rather than re-write
it. Thus, it doesn't matter if one of the machines provides slightly
more support for windows or slightly more support for text.

--

Tim Smith

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 7:51:45 PM1/23/87
to
Compiling and reading mail at the same time are not good examples
for why one wants multitasking. On the Mac, I use LightspeedC.
The compiler and linker are so fast, I don't have time to read
my mail! :-)

A better example would be doing some slow operation on a large
database while reading mail.

Tim Smith

unread,
Jan 23, 1987, 8:15:24 PM1/23/87
to
In article <23...@jade.BERKELEY.EDU> m...@eris.BERKELEY.EDU (Mike Meyer) writes:
>>
>>Please explain how the Amiga has a real OS, but the Mac does
>>not. While you're at it, please explain why Amiga-DOS is a real
>>OS, but PC/IX is not.

>
>My understanding is that this *IS* what the Mac provides. Once an
>applications program has control of the machine, it's got control of
>the machine, and has to wait for the program to give it back. There's
>no way for it to run code - either it's own, or another applications
>program - unless the application permits it. Am I wrong?
>

If I am running Switcher or Servant on a Mac, then I may have
multiple programs loaded. Context is switched by explicit action
on my part, while, say, on my UNIX system, it can also be
switched by explicit action on the part of the clock. I don't
see an essential difference as far as the operating-systemness of
either system goes.

Also, I thought that the Amiga only switched tasks when the currently
executing task does something that would block ( IO, or something like
the UNIX sleep or pause system calls )? Is this so?

If someone can come up with a good definition of "operating system",
then it would be possible to decide which computers have them. One
OS textbook I saw defined an operating system as the software that
takes control when a user program makes an error, but that definition
seems kind of worthless.
--

Peter Arrgh Korn

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 12:27:37 AM1/24/87
to
In article <85...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU> brot...@topaz.RUTGERS.EDU (Laurence R. Brothers) writes:
>"Don't be silly!"
>...

>Also, if you like Mac software, you can get a cartridge relatively
>cheaply that plugs into the st case and presto -- color Mac.
>Apparently, the ST actually runs many Mac program faster than the
>Mac...

I hate to continue this discussion, but the above assertion is an outright
LIE!

Some friends of mine who own Atari ST machines came over to my house
one evening with their STs and their Mac-Cartridges, and we systematically
tried my entire software collection (over 100 programs, public domain
and otherwise) . LESS THAT 5% OF IT RAN!

These friends, who had been chiding me continuously for the past few
weeks that their ataris "would be a mac for $100's less, and faster too"
quickly changed their tune after actually testing the product.

Which brings up a very important point. If you haven't used a program
then don't spend the UseNet's money telling me what it will do, and that
it's a great program and will make other things worthless, etc. etc.
You are welcome to announce that "I've just heard of something interesting,
and the marketing folks _claim_ that it will do this--looks like it's
worth checking out". That's fine, if not welcomed. But don't waste
my time and other people's money making claims that you know nothing
about.

Unfortunately, I've noticed this phenomenon occuring a lot more in people
who are Atari fanatics. I trust that this is just a statistical anomoly...


So, if you want a Mac, buy a Mac. If you want something else, then don't
get a mac, get that something else. But don't be fooled into thinking
that you can get a mac w/out getting a mac...

Peter "try it before you preach about it" Korn
-----
Peter "Arrgh" Korn Hacker? Me? A hacker? No, actually
ko...@ucbvax.Berkeley.EDU I'm a mac-er. All's we do is
{decvax,dual,hplabs,sdcsvax,ulysses}!ucbvax!korn make library calls.

sc...@tg.uucp

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 12:40:56 AM1/24/87
to
In article <14...@amdcad.UUCP> ba...@amdcad.UUCP (Andy Beals) writes:
> . . . <Much Deleted> . . . I won't

>say anything about CP/M in general being a single-user clone of TOPS-10...
> . . .

>With a mind for ancient history,
> andy

I thought that CP/M was a clone of RSX-11!
At least it seemed like the RSX-11 I used to use on an
LSI 11/03. <So much for the gool ol' days! ;-)>

Scott Barman
philabs!tg!scott

Mike Meyer

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 2:25:37 AM1/24/87
to
In article <52...@ism780c.UUCP> t...@ism780c.UUCP (Tim Smith) writes:
>A sane programmer only writes this stuff once. From then on, he/she
>re-uses it rather than re-write it.
>--
>Tim Smith USENET: sdcrdcf!ism780c!tim Compuserve: 72257,3706

Of course, a SMART programmer (as opposed to merely sane) re-uses the
stuff from PD source code. That way, you don't even write it once.

With a tip of the hat and many thanx to Fred Fish and the people who
provided the code on the first few Fish disks,

<mike

andr...@uoregon.uucp

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 2:25:52 AM1/24/87
to
I apologize in advance for not letting this subject die gracefully,
but I get a bit tired of hearing things like:

In article <19...@alvin.mcnc.UUCP> ra...@alvin.UUCP (Ravi Subrahmanyan) writes:
> Dave's one ironclad point. The Amiga's multitasking *is*
>great. However, I look upon this as a difference in the machine's
>characters, not an issue for mudslinging.

It may surprise many people to learn this, but the ST operating system
handles a sort of multitasking very well. It has to be written into
the software, but I personally prefer it that way (I am saddened every
time I see how slow this VAX is even when I'm the only user logged on,
thanks to the multitasking ovrhead). One of my roommates is a
developer for the ST and has nearly completed a whole line of desk
acceessories that multitask beautifully. As I understand it, the same
thing is possible with TOS applications, though a bit trickier.

So while I admit that, for most consumers' purposes, there are not
multitasking applications available for the ST, I stolidly assert that
the machine does support it very nicely, so a programmer/developer who
wants multitasking capability shouldn't look elsewhere so quickly.

> I imagine everyone is sick of this debate, so why doesn't
>someone direct followups to the place it all started (now that I've
>got my two bits in)?
>

Ditto.

Cygnus.

Eric Swanson
c/o andr...@drizzle.uucp
P.O. Box 30098
Eugene, OR 97403
(503) 484-2790 or
(503) 484-4184

Mike Meyer

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 2:39:56 AM1/24/87
to
In article <52...@ism780c.UUCP> t...@ism780c.UUCP (Tim Smith) writes:
>If someone can come up with a good definition of "operating system",
>then it would be possible to decide which computers have them. One
>OS textbook I saw defined an operating system as the software that
>takes control when a user program makes an error, but that definition
>seems kind of worthless.
>--
>Tim Smith USENET: sdcrdcf!ism780c!tim Compuserve: 72257,3706
> Delphi or GEnie: mnementh

I answered Tim's questions about AmigaDOS by mail. I suggest that
others move MCIBTYC discussions to private mail also.

Meanwhile, I wanna talk about what an operating system is. The
definition I've been using for the past few years is simple:

An operating system allocates and protects the resources
of the computer.

If it doesn't do at least those two things, then it hardly qualifies
as an OS. On the other hand, anything and everything outside of that
can theoretically be handled by user code. That's now the default for
command processors, even though they used to be hardwired into the OS.
File servers are moving into user space now, and I expect user-space
file servers to become as standard as user-space command processors.

The program loader type "operating systems"s don't really qualify;
they take a program and say: "Here, do what you want with the whole
machine." Unix is at the other end of the spectrum, and you have to
ask it for EVERYTHING. Memory, access to disk space, whatever.
AmigaDOS is somewhere in between, as it doesn't protect things, but
does try to allocate them (your program is considered buggy if you
don't tell the OS everything you're playing with). [Oh, yeah - just
for AmigaDOS bashers: notice that Tripos has full memory and device
protection in its original environment. I expect it got lost on the
original port to the 68K, not in the port to the Amiga.]

Ok, so I defined a spectrum that takes you from non-OS's (like CP/M)
to "real" OS/s (like Unix (cough, cough)). Where does *your* operating
system fit? And be sure to include "protecting and allocating" the CPU
as part of that. Single-tasking systems just give the CPU to a program
until they're through. Multitasking systems treat it as just another
serially reusable resource, and try and schedule things so that
everybody get some (with multi-processor boxes - like my current
monkey - this is even more so).

Waxing sillyphosical,
<mike

Mike Meyer

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 2:59:03 AM1/24/87
to
[More tongue in cheek flamage]

In article <2...@gssc.UUCP> j...@gssc.UUCP (John D. Miller) writes:
>ok, enough of this crap about which is better: the amiga, mac, or atari.
>they're all toys!!

That's MICROtoys to you, BOZO!

>*real* disk drives. i mean, what good is a little three and a half inch
>jobbie compared to my 12-platter rm-05's?

They're reliable? RM05'S! Gag me with a fork. I don't even put those
on my network switches. They all get BIG disks. None of this silly
little RM05 stuff.

>i had brought some "real" software over to test this thing - you know, fire up
>a couple makes an troff jobs and see what happens - but it seems that he didn't
>have no nine-track for his little pee-cee. hrmph.

What's this sillyness about tape drives? REAL computers don't do IO!
That's what VAXen and other little boxes are for; so they can talk to
the hyperchannel that talks to the I/O processor on real computers.
I/O that happens at less than a hundred megabytes a second just ain't
worth foolin' with for a real computer.

>you can still dial-up to a real computer and do some real work, i suppose,

No, I dial up to bigger toy computers (VAX 8800's, nowadays) and read
mail and occasionally typeset something. REAL computers don't have
dialin lines.

>well, now wait a sec - you can use it as a typewriter. yeah, that's it. that's
>the ticket. a $2000 typewriter!! you're all set!! i *knew* there was a
>reason you had to have that thing. add a few bucks more for a cuisenart word
>processor and you've got it!!

Naw, for a typewritter, you need something that's almost worth
noticing. I use an IBM 3090/200 (a Sierra, if ya know what I mean).

> >-- jdm

"My other computer is a CRAY." (x/mp-14, SN #301, to be exact)
(It says so, right here on my Amiga!)
m...@lynx.berkeley.edu
Joe Bob Hacker


Just in case it's not obvious:

:-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-)

jimo...@lsuc.uucp

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 1:25:24 PM1/24/87
to

Pete Korn's point about Magic Sac only running 5% of Mac software may
be right. I don't know. All I know is that I've seen it run Excell, Macpaint
and one of the top Mac word processing packages (and a handful of other
things). I knew well that it didn't run everything, but frankly I'm not
that worried. It seems to run the majority of the most important programs.
As far as I know, D. Small is still working to make improvements to improve
the emulation. So far, what it really shows me is that the Mac programmers
don't seem to write very good programs. If Apple brings out a new Mac with
improved resolutions, the same problem programs will likely not work on
it either.

I haven't bought Magic Sac myself. I have no use for it. Nor do I
bother with the CP/M emulator (which I *would* have use for--having much
CP/M software). There's quite enough good software for the Atari ST already
and more will be available as time goes on.

Cheers! -- Jim O.

u...@psuvm.bitnet.uucp

unread,
Jan 24, 1987, 4:25:00 PM1/24/87
to

Someone asks, "I'm curious. Just how great is multi-tasking?"

Now I am no wizard, but isn't the real beauty of multi-taksing a lot more
than just being able to print in the background. For example, device drivers,
print spoolers, communication programs, fast database systems, and a lotta
other keen stuff are much easier to develop and debug if they can be
implemented as a bunch of simultaneously runnig tasks on a multi-tasking
machine.

In other words, if 6 chimpanzees, programming at random, work on a
mu;titasking system they will produce all the worlds great programs
a lot faster than if they were working in MSDOS. 8-)

Hey--I could be wrong.

jtr...@umich.uucp

unread,
Jan 25, 1987, 1:51:46 AM1/25/87
to
Derived from RT-11. Not a clone of. RT-11 beats CP/M all hands down.
But RT-11 does not port well off the PDP-11 family (even if you could get
permission to try) and has advanced features not suited to 'the common
denominator'. That is RT-11 supports more that the worst possible functioning
system available, unlike CP/M.

Of course, most of the Z80 systems were that common denom. The pity, is that
CP/M86 and CP/M68K inherited those short comings.
--j.a.tainter

jtr...@umich.uucp

unread,
Jan 25, 1987, 1:56:48 AM1/25/87
to
In article <9...@ulowell.cs.ulowell.edu>, ro...@ulowell.UUCP writes:
> Yea, and the amiga can be turned into an IBM. I have seen an ST emulator
> on the Amiga also, but never say it work. A c64 emulator also exists,
> and there are constant rumors of a Mac emulator. But, notice that no
> one is emulating the Amiga. Two possibilities:
> 1.) The Amiga is failing, naw, to much loyalty, and commodore stock
> continues to rise.
> 2.) The Amiga is truly a cut above, or state of the art, and can't be
> emulated by the more primitive hardware and OSes.
3.) The Amiga is not stable enough for an emulation to be a viable product!
> Ross Miller
--j.a.tainter

rad...@calgary.uucp

unread,
Jan 25, 1987, 11:10:28 PM1/25/87
to
This discussion of whether the Mac, Atari, Amiga, etc. has a real
operating system is silly. Virtually every computer has an operating
system; some have better operating systems than others.

An operating system is just what it says: the system that lets the
computer be operated. It consists of all the software required for
basic operation of the computer in its intended environment.

Those people who say that the Atari, say, doesn't have an operating
system really mean they don't like its operating system. Usually,
they mean they don't like its lack of multi-tasking. OK, that's fine.
Don't use it. But don't make silly definitions of "operating system" that
just show how narrow your view of computers is.

Radford Neal

r...@nis.uucp

unread,
Jan 26, 1987, 1:47:22 AM1/26/87
to
Why do these silly arguments always seem to end up in "but THIS
machine is CHEAPER!" ?

I determined all my needs. I looked at many machines. I compared
those machines to my needs. I examined areas that the inspected
machines lacked. I determined ways to work around it, if necessary,
or whether these were wishes instead of needs. I examined areas that
the machines came out as overkills. I tried to determine the
advantageous as well as disadvantageous aspects of each machine.
After deciding on a particular machine, I price shopped for the best
price (which includes service, customer support from the seller, etc.)

The fact that I bought an Amiga is beside the point. So is the fact
that other machines are cheaper (and many are more expensive, by the
way). The point is that it fits my needs on a long term basis. One
needs to examine all the possibilities. Didn't this all start with
someone asking for opinions? Instead of blasting one machine or
another, and pointing out deficiencies in the other guys machine (many
of the deficiencies listed are more in the area of what you would call
"personal opinion deficiencies": They don't suit your purposes, but
they might just fill someone elses.)

Let's try and point out the _positive_ aspects of the Amiga, the Mac,
the ST, and anything else, and let the people who want to buy a
machine base their opinion on the positive qualities, not the negative
qualities. You'll notice that there are a lot more satisfied people
who a machine on positive aspects rather than buy someone elses
machine because they only have negative aspects of the first.

But then again, this has been repeated over, and over, and over again,
and I am sure that it will be again, and again ....

--
Robert J. Granvin UUCP: ihnp4!meccts!nis!rjg
Programmer/Analyst - Technical Services ATT: (612) 894-9494
National Information Systems, Inc.
"Let's see who's up the creek without an overthruster NOW, Space Cadet!"

ste...@videovax.uucp

unread,
Jan 26, 1987, 10:43:50 AM1/26/87
to
In article <52...@ism780c.UUCP>, Tim Smith (t...@ism780c.UUCP) asks for a
definition of the term "operating system," along with other questions:

John J. Donovan's definition of an operating system is:

An operating system is concerned with the allocation of resources
and services, such as memory, processors, devices, and information.
The operating system correspondingly includes programs to manage
these resources, such as a _traffic controller_, a _scheduler_,
_memory management module_, _I/O programs_, and a _file system_.

_Systems Programming_, McGraw-Hill,
New York (1972), p. 15
(emphasis in the original)

> . . .

> If I am running Switcher or Servant on a Mac, then I may have
> multiple programs loaded. Context is switched by explicit action
> on my part, while, say, on my UNIX system, it can also be
> switched by explicit action on the part of the clock. I don't
> see an essential difference as far as the operating-systemness of
> either system goes.

The purpose of an operating system is to manage the machine's resources,
making most efficient use of them without human intervention. In this
case, you are playing the role of "traffic controller." Because you do
not have full knowledge of the internal state of the machine at any given
time (and because humans act on a timescale far longer than that of the
computer), you cannot manage the system resources on a millisecond-by-
millisecond basis. According to Donovan, this is a function of the
operating system, so in this case the Mac is deficient.

Steve Rice

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
{decvax | hplabs | ihnp4 | uw-beaver}!tektronix!videovax!stever

l...@apple.uucp

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Jan 26, 1987, 1:52:16 PM1/26/87
to
In article <39...@utcsri.UUCP> fl...@utcsri.UUCP (Alan J Rosenthal) writes:
>voluntarily give up its control of the cpu (by calling SystemTask, I think it
>is)*, with windows the mac doesn't store what's obscured when a window goes
>on top of another window. Therefore the user program must store this at all
>times, because it is wiped out before the user program gets notified that the
>window has been obscured. Then the user program must redraw the contents of
>the window that was obscured when the window is brought to front again.
>

It is possible to have the system remember the contents of a window and
refresh it automatically. Most applications don't do this because the data
needed to refresh the window is readily available, and it is easy to just
redraw it as necessary. If your application had multiple disk-based
documents open at once, you might prefer to have the system do the refresh,
since that might avoid disk acesses needed to bring the data back into
memory.

>Therefore I think it is a gross understatement to say that the Amiga merely
>performs these functions automatically rather than the user program having
>to do it itself. The Amiga supports windows completely and the Mac does not.
>On the Amiga, for example, you can draw into a backgrounded window, one of
>the fundamental things you might want to do with a window.
>

You can draw into a background Macintosh window as well. The system handles
all the clipping for you.

As far as I can tell, programming the 2 machines is equally difficult (or
easy). The Macintosh has built in text editing primitives and a wider
variety of graphics primitives, but the Amiga handles resizing, moving, and
updating windows automatically.

--
Larry Rosenstein

Object Specialist
Apple Computer

AppleLink: Rosenstein1
UUCP: {sun, voder, nsc, mtxinu, dual}!apple!lsr
CSNET: l...@Apple.CSNET

j...@bnl.uucp

unread,
Jan 26, 1987, 3:53:36 PM1/26/87
to
> Meanwhile, I wanna talk about what an operating system is. The
> definition I've been using for the past few years is simple:
>
> An operating system allocates and protects the resources
> of the computer.

Good definition, but somewhat limiting for most microcomputers because the
hardware just isn't there to protect resources. I would expand the
definition to include those systems that allocate and protect resources to
the best ability of the underlying hardware. For example, MSDOS is about as
good an an OS as you can get on a 8088 (ever try 8088 UNIX? I'd call it a
bad joke rather than an OS).
--
John McNamee j...@BNL.ARPA decvax!philabs!sbcs!bnl!jpm

"Timesharing is the use of many people by a computer"

r...@rayssdb.uucp

unread,
Jan 26, 1987, 6:11:48 PM1/26/87
to

As I remember the story....

IBM originally contacted Digital Research with the intent to use
CPM in thier PC's. However, Digital Research required a VERY STEEP
licensing fee, So IBM went elsewhere!

Enter MicroSoft, who realized that if IBM's PC took-off (could any-
thing with the IBM name floop??) they would be assured of a continued
demand for MS-DOS for many years to come!! This , coupled with thier
already popular MS-BASIC, proved to be Microsoft's best move ever.

hade...@husc4.uucp

unread,
Jan 27, 1987, 1:08:28 AM1/27/87
to

Sorry to carry on this Mac vs. Amiga comparison, but it
can sometimes be instructive.

In <52...@ism780c.UUCP> t...@ism780c.UUCP (Tim Smith) asks:
> [ comments about Mac Servant and Switcher ]


>Also, I thought that the Amiga only switched tasks when the currently
>executing task does something that would block ( IO, or something like
>the UNIX sleep or pause system calls )? Is this so?

No, the Amiga switches tasks every few milliseconds or so.
A task gets the processor only if it is not in the Wait() state,
however, so if a task is just sitting there waiting for input,
it does not take up any processor time. When the operating system
gets a signal (such as in input event for the task, or whatever),
it will wake up the task and tell it that an event has occurred.
This is very different from the typical Mac program which sits
there and loops until an event occurs.

For example, on the Amiga, even when there is only one user
program running, there are many tasks running. There is the task
that takes care of the disk drive, the task taking care of input
events, the Intuition granddaddy task, and so forth. (In fact,
on the Amiga the OS is just a task, a task that runs at a VERY high
priority and sleeps most of the time, waiting for input events.
This is different from the UNIX OS which has a magic supervisor
that takes care of system stuff.) Though there are many tasks in
the system, in general they are all in the Wait() state until the
user program or the user asks them to do something. For example,
when the program asks for a read or write on the disk, that request
is processed in a multitasking mode (i.e., the program can go do
other things while waiting for the disk.)

The Amiga has very fast context switching, since the
whole OS is designed for multitasking performance. On the Mac,
since the OS is not designed for multitasking, a context switch has
to save a whole lot of information; thus Switcher only does a context
switch when you ask it to do so, not automatically all the time
as the Amiga Exec does. Thus using Switcher it is impossible to
have two programs actually doing something at the same time,
whereas on the Amiga this is trivial. On the other hand, Switcher
does provide 75% of the functionality of multitasking, which is
quick switching between multiple programs all loaded at once.
For example, when I am using my Amiga the thing I do most often is
switch back to my CLI window to do some disk operations while I'm
running my editor or vt100 emulator or whatever. This does not
really require multitasking, except when I am downloading I can
still do it on an Amiga but not on a Mac. Also since the OS
is always there as a task, even if the program is off doing some complicated
thing, I can still front/back my windows, switch to a different screen,
etc., much more rapidly on an Amiga than on a Mac.

Servant was designed to support true context switching
through what is called a "Servant task". Unfortunately there
are almost no programs which run as "Servant tasks," so this is
rather moot. I am told that Hertzfeld considered trying to
implement true multitasking for regular Mac programs, but gave
up when he realized that to do real-time context switching would
slow down programs by an unacceptably huge factor (since you
have to save almost all of the machine's state, rather than just
the registers, as you would in a true multitasking environment.)
It may be that more and more programs will be compiled to run as
"Servant tasks" in which case the Mac will slowly become a multitasking
machine. The Amiga has been multitasking from day one.

The Amiga Exec is designed in a very beautiful way.
The library system, etc. have been designed for both elegance
and speed, as well as extensibility and backward-compatibility.
The only real dog in the Amiga OS is the DOS, which was written
by non-Amiga people, and thus is a total dog. It runs OK, but
sort of breaks all of the OS rules, but it IS a multitasking DOS,
so it does file locking and that sort of stuff. It works, but
I wish it were as elegant and powerful as the rest of the Amiga OS.
(Thanks Carl Sassenrath, RJ Mical, Jim Mackraz, etc., etc., etc.)

One thing I have noticed is that the Amiga windowing
system is lightning fast, in comparison with something like
Suntools on the Sun. I mean Suntools practically rolled over
and died while I was running a simple fractal generation program.
I mean this is on a SUN/3, which has "real" hard disk drives,
costs $30K, and two 68020s running at 14 Mhz to bench in at about
1 1/2 times faster than a VAX 11/785. Just trying to resize a
window under Suntools became a monumental task, and the whole
system hung when I tried to rewind the tape drive (it came back
when the tape drive finished rewinding, and then proceeded to
try to take care of all the mouse clicks and stuff I had been
doing while it was dead, all at once. Ugh.) I mean, which is
the REAL OS here, Amiga Exec/Intuition/DOS or the Suntools/UNIX?

-Mitsu

j...@rayssd.uucp

unread,
Jan 27, 1987, 9:59:52 AM1/27/87
to
Jim Omura writes:
> Pete Korn's point about Magic Sac only running 5% of Mac software may
> be right. ... It seems to run the majority of the most important programs.

Jim, are you implying that of all the wonderful Mac software that we hear
Mac users boasting about constantly, that only 5% of it is made up of
important programs? Hmmm... :-)

/^^^/
/ _/__________________________________________________
/ !/ Jeffrey Jay Clesius !\
/ / Raytheon Submarine Signal Division !_\ /^^^/
/ /! 1847 West Main Road, Mail Stop 188 !/ /
^^^^ ! Portsmouth, RI 02871-1087 (401) 847-8000 (X4015) / /
! {allegra, decvax!brunix, linus} rayssd!jxc /! /
!____________________________________________________/_! /
/ /
^^^^

rob...@sri-spam.uucp

unread,
Jan 27, 1987, 11:46:45 AM1/27/87
to
In article <11...@husc6.UUCP> hade...@husc4.UUCP (mitsuharu hadeishi) writes:
>
> One thing I have noticed is that the Amiga windowing
>system is lightning fast, in comparison with something like
>Suntools on the Sun. I mean Suntools practically rolled over
>and died while I was running a simple fractal generation program.
>I mean this is on a SUN/3, which has "real" hard disk drives,
>costs $30K, and two 68020s running at 14 Mhz to bench in at about
>1 1/2 times faster than a VAX 11/785. Just trying to resize a
>window under Suntools became a monumental task, and the whole
>system hung when I tried to rewind the tape drive (it came back
>when the tape drive finished rewinding, and then proceeded to
>try to take care of all the mouse clicks and stuff I had been
>doing while it was dead, all at once. Ugh.)

I know this isn't comp.sys.suns so I'll limit my comments on this;

The tape drive problem you describe is dependant on the
tape controller card in use (I think you have the SCSI),
but is not really the fault of the computer per se.
Also, "two 68020's"? Isn't there only just one, on the
CPU card? Reply by mail if you want to.

I do agree that there is a problem with window command queueing under
Suntools. Does the Amiga have any problems in this area? Do you
get instant response to the mouse? In other words, does the mouse
have the highest priority?

As for fractal generation on a Sun 3, did you use SunView? If you did
then that was probably a big % of your problem.

Robert Allen,
rob...@spam.istc.sri.com

kei...@cadovax.uucp

unread,
Jan 27, 1987, 5:02:18 PM1/27/87
to
In article <83...@watrose.UUCP> jafi...@watrose.UUCP (Jonathan Fischer) writes:
>
>In article <6...@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> ra...@ATRP.MEDIA.MIT.EDU (Amiga-Man) writes:
>> ... [talks about advantages of Amiga]
>>- A true multitasking OS. I find this feature very important.
>
> I'm really curious: just how great is multitasking? I.e., how much do
>you, the typical Amiga owners, use this feature? Even on Unix I find that the
>only thing I consistently use '&' for is printing, and on my ST I have a wide
>range of print spoolers to choose from.

I use it frequently when I'm telecommunicating. Uploading and Downloading of
software is a relatively boring and time consuming event. While my terminal
emulator is doing this, I'm off in another window working on something else.
As long as I'm not doing down and dirty debugging of new software that is
prone to crash the machine, It works pretty good, and I do this quite often.
Other things that are handy, are formatting disks in background while tele-
communicating, loading up ram disks, etc. I'm spoiled now, and wouldn't want
to do without it.


>cycle, the speed of Megamax compile-time, coupled with a RAMdisk, makes multi-
>tasking a 'yeah it would be nice, but not utterly world-stopping' luxury.

Well, it's not world-stopping, but I sure miss it when I'm on a machine that
dosen't have it.

>and is it worth the slow-down in execution? Even though I would really _like_
>it, would I really use it that much?

As Matt mentioned, there is not that much slowdown, many programs spend an
awful lot of time doing nothing, or waiting for something to happen, which
dosen't take up any CPU at all.

Keith Doyle
# {ucbvax,ihnp4,decvax}!trwrb!cadovax!keithd
# cadovax!kei...@ucla-locus.arpa

wo...@tybalt.caltech.edu.uucp

unread,
Jan 27, 1987, 7:56:55 PM1/27/87
to

One advantage of the Mac over the Amiga: It certainly is a lot cuter
sitting on my little dorm desk than a big, clunky Amiga would be. But
I suppose that only applys for college students who move somewhere
else every nine months or so, and who likes to take his computer
when he travels (and tries to travel light, too!)

Of course friends of mine complain when they try to use my Mac: they
hate squinting at the little screen...
- William Woody Mac! > ][n && /|\
wo...@tybalt.caltech.edu
wo...@juliet.caltech.edu

grun...@husc4.uucp

unread,
Jan 28, 1987, 11:28:38 AM1/28/87
to
In article <5...@rayssd.RAY.COM> j...@rayssd.RAY.COM (Jeffrey J. Clesius) writes:
>Jim Omura writes:
>> Pete Korn's point about Magic Sac only running 5% of Mac software may
>> be right. ... It seems to run the majority of the most important programs.
>
>Jim, are you implying that of all the wonderful Mac software that we hear
>Mac users boasting about constantly, that only 5% of it is made up of
>important programs? Hmmm... :-)
. . .

> ! {allegra, decvax!brunix, linus} rayssd!jxc


My estimate would probably be more like 1%.


gru...@husc4.UUCP
OR
{ seismo | rutgers | decvax!ihnp4 } !husc6!husc4!grunau

blga...@esunix.uucp

unread,
Jan 28, 1987, 11:44:57 AM1/28/87
to
in article <83...@watrose.UUCP>, jafi...@watrose.UUCP says:
.
.
.
> I _DO_ envy your multitasking! I'm just curious how useful it
> actually is. I.e., is it that necessary in a personal computer,

> and is it worth the slow-down in execution? Even though I would really _like_
> it, would I really use it that much?
>
> Uh oh, this could be taken as a typical my-PC-is-better-than-yours
> posting. It isn't. The main intent of this posting is the question of
> multitasking.
>
> - Jonathan Fischer

Multitasking is like a PC: if you don't have one, the question is "what
good is it?" after you've used it the question is "how can you live
without it?". Multitasking is one of the reasons I bought my Amiga, it
sounded like a great idea, and none of the other systems offered it. Of
course the question from my friends was "what will you ever use
multitasking for?".

How about this: I'm online with a local BBS, downloading a bunch of neat
new public domain software, usually in ARC format. After I've got one
file downloaded, I can deARC it, and start fiddling around with it from
a CLI window (or Workbench if you wish) while downloading the next file.
Or I can type up a message to be posted, or create an ARC file to
upload, while still downloading. Ever have a HUGE file to download or
upload? Play a game of Othello, Missile Command, or Asteroids while the
modem is busy.

It's true that some form of the above is available on other systems with
careful selection of your software. But the point of the Amiga's
multitasking is that _any_ combination of programs is possible.

I guess I'm addicted to multitasking now. Last week I was downloading
some stuff from Usenet, and had a couple of files in my Amiga, when I
thought "hey, I ought to upload this stuff to the local Amiga BBS!" I
had it all ARCed up and ready to go when suddenly I realized "Oh, I've
only got one modem, and it won't multitask. Darn!" You can get REAL used
to multitasking!

Help stamp out PC wars: stamp out crossposting!

--
=================================================
"The Admiral is well aware of the regulations..."
=================================================

Blaine Gardner @ Evans & Sutherland
{ihnp4, decvax}!decwrl!esunix!blgardne
560 Arapeen Drive Salt Lake City, Utah 84108 (801) 582-5847

mu...@amdahl.uucp

unread,
Jan 28, 1987, 1:39:00 PM1/28/87
to
In article <14...@rayssdb.RAY.COM>, r...@rayssdb.RAY.COM (Richard A. Brooks)
writes:
> (could any-
> thing with the IBM name flop??)

This is a joke, right?

Things with the IBM name flop all the time. Look at the PC Portable (IBM's
answer to Compaq) or the PC Jr (who could forget that?).

And don't forget about the 8100.
--
John A. Muth ...!{ihnp4,hplabs,sun,nsc}!amdahl!muth

ciar...@rochester.uucp

unread,
Jan 28, 1987, 3:58:25 PM1/28/87
to
In article <23...@jade.BERKELEY.EDU> m...@eris.BERKELEY.EDU (Mike Meyer) writes:
>Meanwhile, I wanna talk about what an operating system is. The
>definition I've been using for the past few years is simple:
>
> An operating system allocates and protects the resources
> of the computer.
>
>If it doesn't do at least those two things, then it hardly qualifies
>as an OS. On the other hand, anything and everything outside of that
>can theoretically be handled by user code.

I'm afraid I must disagree with your definition and examples.
First let me say where I'm coming from. I started working with
computers about 20 years ago, when operating systems were generally
much more primitive than they are today. I have worked with machines
from micro to mainframe, with a variety of OS's. I think Meyer's
problem comes from not taking a broad enough view, i.e. assuming
that the only "real" operating systems are those with the features
of today's OS's.

For me, the main purpose of an OS has always been to hide the details
of the hardware from the user software. Remember that not all machines
have things like "user space", "reserved instructions", and other
things that try to keep the user from getting at the shared
resources. Rather, they could tickle the hardware if they wanted
to; the point of the OS is so they don't have to!

So, the OS contains code for the file system, as well as the drivers
for the disk, printer, terminals, etc. (of course, many micros
now have the drivers in ROM, and the OS just calls them).
Still, the point is that the user can just ask the OS to give
him/her the next keystroke, or send this character to the
printer, and doesn't care about the device address, status signals,
and so on.

If you programmed micros (in assembly language) in the mid-1970's
(or minis ten years before), you know what a pain it was
writing programs before operating systems like CP/M, RDOS,
VORTEX, or RT-11 came along. The program had to have the
drivers hard-coded into it, which made it very non-portable between
different machines. With CP/M you could write a program that
would run on ANY 8080 or Z-80 machine regardless of whether it
had floppies, hard disk, separate terminal, built-in video and keyboard,
serial or parallel printer, etc. CP/M hid all the differences.
An OS such as MP/M (the multi-tasking version of CP/M) also let
you address your own terminal as if it were the only one, and then
each user who ran the program would have I/O directed to the
appropriate terminal.

>That's now the default for
>command processors, even though they used to be hardwired into the OS.
>File servers are moving into user space now, and I expect user-space
>file servers to become as standard as user-space command processors.

In that case they won't be very standard. User-changeable command processors
are still very much the exception rather than the rule. Unix was the
first widely-used OS to offer this feature, and it was considered
quite a breakthrough in the mid-1970's. Now you can get them for
IBM PC-DOS (MS-DOS), AmigaDos, and a few others, but no way can you
get them (to the best of my knowledge) on MVS, DOS/370, VM/370,
Primos, VMS, RSTS, or any of the other major mainframe or mini OS's.

>The program loader type "operating systems"s don't really qualify;
>they take a program and say: "Here, do what you want with the whole
>machine." Unix is at the other end of the spectrum, and you have to
>ask it for EVERYTHING. Memory, access to disk space, whatever.

As I mentioned, you do have to ask CP/M for disk space (unless you
want to risk corrupting the disk, which the hardware physically can't
prevent you from doing). On the other hand, until very
recently Unix didn't even have file locking to prevent
simultaneous access to files. It had to be handled by user code!
MP/M had it on the 8080 microprocessor 8 years ago.

On a single-tasking system, especially one without memory-mapping
hardware, there are a lot fewer resources to manage.
The processor, memory, the printer, etc. are not "shared".
On a multi-tasking system, it is appropriate to have this
resource allocation handled by a central authority, i.e. the OS.
Just because the simple system didn't need these features
doesn't mean it is not an operating system.

Also, the utilities that come with an OS (assembler, debugger,
linker, command line interpreter, file copier, disk formatter, etc.)
are traditionally considered part of the OS, just not part of
the Kernel. The Kernel includes the resource allocator, dispatcher,
program loader, file system, and so on, i.e. the stuff that stays in
memory.

In conclusion, an OS provides many functions, including:
Shared resource allocation.
Hiding the hardware details.
Processing user commands.
Loading programs.

Not having all of these does not automatically make something
not an operating system.

I welcome comments on this.

Mike Ciaraldi
uucp: seismo!rochester!ciaraldi
ARPA: ciaraldi@rochester

bro...@watdcsu.uucp

unread,
Jan 29, 1987, 9:15:26 AM1/29/87
to
In article <14...@rayssdb.RAY.COM> r...@rayssdb.RAY.COM (Richard A. Brooks) writes:
> ... if IBM's PC took-off (could any-
> thing with the IBM name flop??)

The answer, of course, is "yes". IBM's first micro flopped badly (the 5100,
which came complete with APL and BASIC). So did the PCjr. For that matter,
whatever happened to the XT/370 (CMS on a micro)? As far as I know, it
flopped too.

The PC succeeded partly because of IBM's name, but also because of a few
surprisingly astute decisions on IBM's part (an open architecture being
the main one).

seb...@ihlpa.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 10:24:27 AM1/29/87
to
> >Jim, are you implying that of all the wonderful Mac software that we hear
> >Mac users boasting about constantly, that only 5% of it is made up of
> >important programs? Hmmm... :-)
> . . .
> My estimate would probably be more like 1%.
>
Damn, I'm really getting very, very tired of all this "My computer is
[bigger/meaner/better/faster/more lovable] than yours" crap. Could all
of you little boys and girls please go outside and play, and let the
rest of us get some serious work done here. I have a Macintosh, and I
wouldn't have anything else. *You* have an Amiga/Atari/whatever and
wouldn't have anything else. Fine. Variety is the spice of life and
all that stuff... I remember sometime back when the Motorola vs. Intel
wars were raging in these sectors and someone suggested the formation of
a new newsgroup, net.stupid.penislength or something. Such a group,
should it exist (regretably, it does not) would be the perfect place for
this current nonsense. ENOUGH, PLEASE!!
(*Whew*, just had to get that off my chest...)

Steve Bruun
AT&T Bell Labs, Naperville, IL
ihnp4!ihlpa!sebruun

jtr...@umich.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 12:14:49 PM1/29/87
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In article <5...@rayssd.RAY.COM>, j...@rayssd.UUCP writes:
> > Pete Korn's point about Magic Sac only running 5% of Mac software may
> > be right. ... It seems to run the majority of the most important programs.
> Jim, are you implying that of all the wonderful Mac software that we hear
> Mac users boasting about constantly, that only 5% of it is made up of
> important programs? Hmmm... :-)
I don't know about him, but I am saying that!
--j.a.tainter

cra...@kontron.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 12:25:11 PM1/29/87
to

And the 4" microfloppy standard that IBM adopted -- then quietly dropped
when everyone adopted the Sony 3.5" microfloppy standard.

IBM is NOT 10' tall -- their success is at least partly the quality of
their manufactured products and documentation. If they were a small
company producing what they have produced, they would become a big company
eventually.

Clayton E. Cramer

daf...@watdragon.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 12:31:36 PM1/29/87
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In article <14...@rayssdb.RAY.COM>, r...@rayssdb.RAY.COM (Richard A. Brooks) writes:
>

I attended a talk given by the guy who wrote the original MS-DOS. He was
working for his company "Seattly computer", I believe. MicroSoft contacted
him when they had IBM on the line. His firm worked as a sub-contracter
and did not know about IBM until one day they received a call from someone
at big blue who needed some technical answers.

When DRI was contacted by IBM, they apparently blew it by not being friendly
about making changes to CP/M86. They basically said "that's the way it is,
take it or leave it."

MicroSoft eventually bought the company/product/author to get everything
in house.

I heard an interesting comment about MicroSoft from one of their former
product managers...."It's a nice place to work. You can work any 80 hours
a week that you like".

--
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Daniel A. Ford daf...@watdragon.uucp
CS Department daford%watd...@waterloo.csnet
U. of Waterloo daford%watdragon%waterlo...@csnet-relay.arpa

po...@hoptoad.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 2:07:18 PM1/29/87
to

MS-DOS was orginally "86-DOS" by Seattle Computer Products, Inc.
MicroSoft licensed it from them.
86-DOS was simular to CP/M but had some major advantages. There was
(and still is) a programme called COMMAND. There was much better file
managment. SCP had/has a "I/O divice handler" which could add devices on the
fly. A far step ahead of CP/M.
86-DOS had (with v 0.3) only 42 functions. Most were compatible with
CP/M. Directories were not available, and looking at the manual, neither
were User Areas (ala CP/M 2.2).
I think I heard that SCP sued Microsoft to recover the rights?
Does any one remember what happend?

--
Tim Pozar
UUCP po...@hoptoad.UUCP
Fido 125/406
USNail KLOK-FM
77 Maiden Lane
San Francisco CA 94108
terrorist cryptography DES drugs cipher secret decode NSA CIA NRO IRS
coke crack pot LSD russian missile atom nuclear assassinate libyan RSA
(Thanks to Robert Bickford for the suggestion for the NSA line eater)

da...@cbmvax.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 2:45:25 PM1/29/87
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> Summary: CP/M predates MS-DOS
> Xref: cbmvax comp.sys.amiga:1612 comp.sys.mac:933 comp.sys.m68k:148 comp.sys.ibm.pc:1248
>
> DOS stands for "Disk Operating System".

Yes it does. But the article to which I was replying hard said "OS", not
"DOS".

>>The Atari's BIOS is an attempted clone of MS-DOS
>
> Wrong. If you would sit down and read the CP/M68K manuals, you would
> find that it is essentially just a port of CP/M80 to the 68k. I won't
> say anything about CP/M in general being a single-user clone of TOPS-10...

Its always been my understanding that the Atari DOS _started out_ as a
port of CP/M 68K. But at least according to various comments I've read
from DRI folks, Atari made various changes in CP/M 68K in order to make it
much more like MS-DOS. I never grasped why; maybe an effort to ease ports
from the PC world (aren't the BIOS calls even numbered the same under TOS
and MS-DOS?). That's why CP/M 68K doesn't reportedly suffer from a number
of bugs that exist in TOS.

> With a mind for ancient history,
> andy
> --
> Andrew Scott Beals, {lll-crg,decwrl,allegra}!amdcad!bandy +1 408 749 3683

Well, that's how I heard it (not claiming any special accuracy...)
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dave Haynie {caip,ihnp4,allegra,seismo}!cbmvax!daveh

"You can keep my things, they've come to take me home"
-Peter Gabriel

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

da...@cbmvax.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 3:58:31 PM1/29/87
to
> Keywords: Mac, Amiga, ST
> Xref: cbmvax comp.sys.amiga:1618 comp.sys.mac:937 comp.sys.atari.st:1063

>
>
> In article <6...@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> ra...@ATRP.MEDIA.MIT.EDU (Amiga-Man) writes:
>> ... [talks about advantages of Amiga]
>>- A true multitasking OS. I find this feature very important.
>
> I'm really curious: just how great is multitasking? I.e., how much do
> you, the typical Amiga owners, use this feature? Even on Unix I find that the
> only thing I consistently use '&' for is printing, and on my ST I have a wide
> range of print spoolers to choose from. ...

>
> I _DO_ envy your multitasking! I'm just curious how useful it
> actually is. I.e., is it that necessary in a personal computer,
> and is it worth the slow-down in execution? Even though I would really _like_
> it, would I really use it that much?
>
> - Jonathan Fischer

Well, first of all, even if you never experience a need for multitasking,
you get two things from it. First of all, the Operating System uses it.
System devices, like disk driver, have a server task that operates them.
The DOS will generally send messages to these tasks, which then "take it
from there", often asynchronously. The nice thing about this is that a
calling program isn't required to wait for the disk operation to finish
before going on. Disk I/O is mostly waiting for the heads to move, so
as a background task you use very little CPU time on disk access (on the
Amiga, the floppy reads and writes are done by a custom chip during an
interlaced DMA slot, so you have even more CPU time available. But on
any machine this can be a big win). The multitasking system lets you very
easily take advantage of CPU time that would otherwise be wasted in some
kind of a wait loop. Another example of system multitasking is Intuition,
the graphic interface manager on the Amiga. Intuition exists as a high
priority background task. It monitors input events, like keyboard or
mouse actions. Programs send messages to Intuition, asking for any
events Intuition has noticed; Intuition tells each program about only
those events its specifically concerned about. As a separate task,
Intuition will never miss mouse movements or key strokes, while in a single
tasking system you can very easily miss such things, or slow your
program down trying not to miss any. Also, the Intuition process as a
high level I/O server makes alot of sense when you consider that several
different tasks may all be asking about these events. Since Intuition
is there, no task need know about any other running with it.

Now there's the multitasking I use myself, out of choice versus system
design. Truthfully, I use multitasking on the Amiga much more than on
UNIX, mainly because the windowing/screening capabilities of the Amiga
let me run simultaneous interactive things much better than I can on
normal UNIX (may X-Windows on a UNIX system will change this). I do the
same amount of multitasking on the Apollo workstations I use here, for
basically the same reasons; the windowing. To start off, I usually run
a few background tasks, the print server, PopCLI (a new CLI window at the
touch of a key, just like on the Apollo), and Emacs if I'm on a machine
with enough memory. I can start up Kermit and download from our VAX,
click that screen to the back (it keeps running, of course), and edit
or compile something while the download is taking place. The ability
to multitask also completely eliminates the need for specially written
"desk accessory" or "RAM resident" programs, since any number of
programs can run together or stick around in memory; none of them have
to obey any special constraints. And the result is much greater
efficiency; instead of my application program having to poll the system
whenever possible to find any request for a desk accessory, my program
just does what I intend to do with it. And other tasks like WorkBench
or CLI can load an accessory program if I like.

And finally, individual programs can benefit from multitasking. First of
all, there's never any reason to kludge "DOS" type commands into a
program, since you can always fire up a CLI window to do the job the
right way. A program can implement things with tasks much more
efficiently and effectively than with standard polling methods. One
controlling task can operate with an arbitrary number of servent tasks
using "software buss" messing protocols. I think most folks feel
satisfied with single tasking because they've always done things that
way. The more you use a system that multitasks well, like the Amiga
(or an Apollo or Sun), the more you feel frustrated with the old
single tasking systems. At least, that's been my experience.

da...@cbmvax.uucp

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Jan 29, 1987, 4:24:26 PM1/29/87