"Running UNIX on the Plus and SE": MacIdris from Whitesmiths

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Rex Espiritu

Oct 5, 1989, 4:57:54 PM10/5/89
In the November issue of MACWORLD, p. 18
(MAC BULLETIN) [printed without permission]:

Running UNIX on the Plus and SE

An Australian company has developed an implementation of POSIX for would-be
UNIX users who are not in the market for a Mac II and an 80MB hard disk.
MacIdris, from Whitesmiths, provides a multitasking executive, interprocess
communication, and C and Pascal development tools, as well as other UNIX
utilities. MacIdris runs as an application under the Finder with 1MB of
memory or under MultiFinder with 2MB, and it requires only 5MB of disk space.
MacIdris runs on the Plus and all later Macs and costs $499. For more
information, contact Jean Batty at 301/657-3775.

I called them up myself and found out more information. It is
apparently a small version of UNIX. It is currently without TCP/IP or windows.
It functions as an application launched from Finder. Idris' history goes back
to someone named "Bill (last name?)" at Bell Labs who later founded Whitesmiths.
It has real-time capabilities, according to the person I spoke with. If anyone
else has more [detailed] information on this stuff, I'd appreciate it. I've
requested a brochure but this has piqued my curiosity and my appetite for more
M. Rex Espiritu, Jr. National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
r...@nbc1.ge.com 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Room 1615W
{uunet!crdgw1,ge-dab,philabs}!nbc1!rex New York, NY 10112 (212) 664-5390
``Where there is no vision, the people shall perish.'' --Is

Mark Fulk

Oct 6, 1989, 11:05:59 AM10/6/89
Idris has a rather interesting history. B. J. Plauger used to work at Bell
Labs in the same group as Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie of Unix fame.
Plauger is (was?) also a science fiction writer; I remember seeing stories
by him in Analog or other similar mags. After Plauger left Bell, he went
to work for Yourdon in NYC. Ed Yourdon wrote a number of influential books
on software engineering for the business data processing world; his company
published the books and ran seminars and courses. At Yourdon, Plauger
managed a distribution of Unix binaries for a while. My company bought one
for about $12k, a price we regretted paying rather soon. Plauger left
Yourdon (leaving some very angry people behind) and founded Whitesmith's,
where he wrote Idris. On a consulting contract, I investigated Idris and
some other Unix-a-likes, deciding on another one on the grounds that Idris
(and the original Unix v6) wouldn't adapt well to a bus-based multiprocessor.
Idris looked like a fairly clean but rather ho-hum ripoff of the basic
Unix ideas. At this point I went to graduate school and completely lost
contact with all of the people and companies listed above.

Now Whitesmith's is in Australia!! I feel old.....



Oct 6, 1989, 8:07:00 PM10/6/89

/* Written 4:57 pm Oct 5, 1989 by r...@nbc1.UUCP in inmet:comp.sys.mac */
/* ---------- ""Running UNIX on the Plus and SE": " ---------- */

/* End of text from inmet:comp.sys.mac */

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