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    SubjectRe: Microsoft and Xenix.
    On Friday 22 June 2001 18:41, Alan Chandler wrote:
    > I am not subscribed to the list, but I scan the archives and saw the
    > following. Please cc e-mail me in followups.

    I've had several requests to start a mailing list on this, actually... Might
    do so in a bit...

    > I was working (and still am) for a UK computer systems integrator called
    > Logica. One of our departments sold and supported Xenix (as distributor
    > for Microsoft? - all the manuals had Logica on the covers although there
    > was at least some mention of Microsoft inside) in the UK. At the time it

    I don't suppose you have any of those manuals still lying around?

    > It was more like (can't remember exactly when) 1985/1986 that Xenix got
    > ported to the IBM PC.

    Sure. Before that the PC didn't have enough Ram. Dos 2.0 was preparing the
    dos user base for the day when the PC -would- have enough ram.

    Stuff Paul Allen set in motion while he was in charge of the technical side
    of MS still had some momentum when he left. Initially, Microsoft's
    partnership with SCO was more along the lines of outsourcing development and
    partnering with people who knew Unix. But without Allen rooting for it,
    Xenix gradually stopped being strategic. Gates allowed his company to be led
    around by the nose by IBM, and sucked into the whole SAA/SNA thing (which DOS
    was the bottom tier of along with a bunch of IBM big iron, and which OS/2
    emerged from as an upgrade path bringing IBM mainframe technology to
    higher-end PCs.)

    IBM had a unix, AIX, which had more or less emerged from the early RISC
    research (the 701 project? Lemme grab my notebook...)

    Ok, SAA/SNA was "Systems Application Architecture" and "Systems Network
    Architecture", which was launched coinciding with the big PS/2 announcement
    on April 2, 1987. (models 50, 60, and 80.) The SAA/SNA push also extended
    through the System/370 and AS400 stuff too. (I think 370's the mainframe and
    AS400 is the minicomputer, but I'd have to look it up. One of them (AS400?)
    had a database built into the OS. Interestingly, this is where SQL
    originated (my notes say SQL came from the System/370 but I have to
    double-check that, I thought the AS400 was the one with the built in
    database?). In either case, it was first ported to the PC as part of SAA.
    We also got the acronym "API" from IBM about this time.) Dos 4.0 was new, it
    added 723 meg disks, EMS bundled into the OS rather than an add-on (the
    Lotus-Intel-Microsoft Expanded Memory Specification), and "DOSShell" which
    conformed to the SAA graphical user interface guidelines. (Think an
    extremely primitive version of midnight commander.)

    The PS/2 model 70/80 (desktop/tower versions of same thing) were IBM's first
    386 based PC boxes, which came with either DOS 3.3, DOS 4.0, OS/2 (1.0), or

    AIX was NOT fully SAA/SNA compliant, since Unix had its own standards that
    conflicted with IBM's. Either they'd have a non-standard unix, or a non-IBM
    os. (They kind of wound up with both, actually.) The IBM customers who
    insisted on Unix wanted it to comply with Unix standards, and the result is
    that AIX was an outsider in the big IBM cross-platform push of the 80's, and
    was basically sidelined within IBM as a result. It was its own little world.

    skip skip skip skip (notes about boca's early days... The PC was launched in
    August 1981, list of specs, xt, at, specs for PS/2 models 25/30, 50, 70/80,
    and the "pc convertable" which is a REALLY ugly laptop.)

    Here's what I'm looking for:

    AIX was first introduced for the IBM RT/PC in 1986, which came out of the
    early RISC research. It was ported to PS/2 and S/370 by SAA, and was based
    on unix SVR2. (The book didn't specify whether the original version or the
    version ported to SAA was based on SVR2, I'm guessing both were.)

    AIX was "not fully compliant" with SAA due to established and conflicting
    unix standards it had to be complant with, and was treated as a second class
    citizen by IBM because of this. It was still fairly hosed according to the
    rest of the unix world, but IBM mostly bent standards rather than breaking

    Hmmm... Notes on the history of shareware (pc-write/bob wallace/quiicksoft,
    pc-file/pc-calc/jim button/buttonware, pc-talk/andrew flugelman, apparently
    the chronological order is andrew-jim-bob, and bob came up with the name
    "shareware" because "freeware" was a trademark of Headlands Press, Inc...)
    Notes on the IBM Risc System 6000 launch out of a book by Jim Hoskins (which
    is where micro-channel came from, and also had one of the first cd-rom
    drives, scsi based, 380 ms access time, 150k/second, with a caddy.) Notes on
    the specifications of the 8080 and 8085 processors, plus the Z80

    Sorry, that risc thing was the 801 project led by John Cocke, named after the
    building it was in and started in 1975.

    Ah, here's the rest of it:

    The IBM Person Computer RT (Risc Technology) was launched in January 1986
    running AIX. The engineers (in Austin) whent on for the second generation
    Risc System 6000 (the RS/6000) with AIX version 3, launched February 15 1990.
    The acronym "POWER" stands for Performance Optimized WIth Enhanced Risc.

    Then my notes diverge into the history of ethernet and token ring (IEEE 802.3
    and 802.5, respectively. The nutshell is that ethernet was a commodity and
    token ring was IBM only, and commodity out evolves proprietary every time.
    The second generation ethernet increased in speed 10x while the second
    generation token ring only increase 4x, and ethernet could mix speeds while
    token ring had to be homgeneous. Plus ethernet moved to the "baseT" stuff
    which was just just so much more reliable and convenient, and still cheaper
    even if you had to purchase hubs because it was commodity.)

    > instead) and I was comparing Xenix, GEM (remember that - for a time it
    > looked like it might be ahead of windows) and Microsoft Windows v 1 . We

    Ummm... GEM was the Geos stuff? (Yeah I remember it, I haven't researched
    it yet though...)

    > chose Windows in the end for its graphics capability although by the time
    > we started development it was up to v2 and we were using 286's (this was
    > 1987/88).

    I used windows 2.0 briefly. It was black and white and you could watch the
    individual pixels appear on the screen as it drew the fonts. (It looked
    about like somebody writing with a pen. Really fast for writing with a pen,
    but insanely slow by most other standards. Scrolling the screen was an
    excuse to take a sip of beverage du jour.)

    The suckiness of windows through the 80's has several reasons. The first
    apple windowing system Gates saw was the LISA, -before- the macintosh, and
    they actually had a pre-release mac prototype (since they were doing
    application software for it) to clone. Yet it took them 11 years to get it

    In part this was because PC graphics hardware really sucked. CGA, hercules,
    EGA... Painful. Black and white frame buffers pumped through an 8 mhz ISA
    bus. (Even the move to 16 bit bus with the AT didn't really help matters too

    In part, when Paul Allen left, Microsoft's in-house technical staff just
    disintegrated. (Would YOU work for a company where marketing had absolute
    power?) The scraps of talent they had left mostly followed the agenda set by
    IBM (DOS 4/5, OS/2 1.0/1.1). A lot of other stuff (like the AIX work) got

    Windows was Gates' pet project (I suspect an ego thing with steve jobs may
    have been involved a bit, but they BOTH knew that the stuff from Xerox parc
    was the future). He didn't want to outsource it, but the in-house resources
    available to work on it were just pathetic.

    There are a couple good histories of windows (with dates, detailed feature
    lists, and screen shots of the various versions) available online. And if
    you're discussing windows, you not only have to compare it with the Macintosh
    but at least take a swipe at the Amiga and Atari ST as well. And OS/2's
    presentation manager development, and of course the early X days (The first
    version of X came out of MIT in 1984, the year the macintosh launched.
    Unfortunatley in 1988 X got caught in a standards committe and development
    STOPPED for the next ten years. Development finally got back in gear with
    the XFree86 guys told X Open where it could stick its new license a year or
    two back and finally decided to forge ahead on their own, and they've been
    making up for lost time ever since but they've had a LOT of ground to cover.
    Using 3d accelerator cards to play MPEG video streams is only now becoming
    feasable to do under X. And it SHOULD be possible to do that through a
    100baseT network, let alone gigabit, but the layering's all wrong...)

    > Logica sold out its Xenix operation to Santa-Cruz around 1987 (definately
    > before October 1987) because we couldn't afford the costs of developing the
    > product (which makes me think that we had bought it out from Microsoft - at
    > least in the UK). By then we had switched our PDP 11s to System V (I also
    > remember BUYING an editor called "emacs" for use on it:-) ).

    That would be the X version of emacs. And there's the explanation for the
    split between GNU and X emacs: it got forked and the closed-source version
    had a vew years of divergent development before opening back up, by which
    point it was very different to reconcile the two code bases.

    Such is the fate of BSD licensed code, it seems. At least when there's money
    in it, anyway...

    And THAT happy experience is why Richard Stallman stopped writing code for a
    while and instead started writing licenses. The GPL 1.0 decended directly
    from that (and 2.0 from real world use/experience/users' comments in the

    (Yes, I HAVE been doing a lot of research. I think I'll head down to the UT
    library again this afternoon, actually...)


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