The Unix Heritage Society mailing list
 help / color / mirror / Atom feed
* [TUHS] PC Unix
@ 2021-04-07  8:20 Paul Ruizendaal
  2021-04-07 18:04 ` John Gilmore
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 8+ messages in thread
From: Paul Ruizendaal @ 2021-04-07  8:20 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

> IBM famously failed to buy the well-established CP/M in
> 1980. (CP/M had been introduced in 1974, before the
> advent of the LSI-11 on which LSX ran.) By then IBM had
> settled on Basic and Intel.  I do not believe they ever
> considered Unix and DEC, nor that AT&T considered
> selling to IBM. (AT&T had--fortunately--long since been
> rebuffed in an attempt to sell to DEC.)
> 
> Doug

Besides all the truth or legend around flying and signing NDA’s, I think there were clear economic reasons for ending up with Microsoft’s DOS, and the pre-cursor to that: picking the 8088.

[1] By 1980 there were an estimated 8,000 software packages for CP/M available, many aimed at small business. IBM was targeting that. The availability of source level converters for 8080 code to 8088 code made porting economically feasible for the (cottage) ISV’s. This must have been a strong argument in favour of picking the 8088 for the original PC.

[2] In line with their respective tried and tested business models, Digital Research offered CP/M-86 with a per-copy license structure. Microsoft offered QDOS with a one-off license structure. The latter was economically more attractive to IBM. I don’t think either side expected clones to happen the way they did, although they did probably factor in the appearance of non-compatible work-alikes.

Although some sources suggest that going with the 68000 and/or Unix were considered, it would have left the new machine without an instant base of affordable small business applications. Speed to market was a leading paradigm for the PC's design team.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] PC Unix
  2021-04-07  8:20 [TUHS] PC Unix Paul Ruizendaal
@ 2021-04-07 18:04 ` John Gilmore
  2021-04-07 22:18   ` Thomas Paulsen
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 8+ messages in thread
From: John Gilmore @ 2021-04-07 18:04 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Paul Ruizendaal; +Cc: TUHS main list

Paul Ruizendaal <pnr@planet.nl> wrote:
> Although some sources suggest that going with the 68000 and/or Unix were considered, it would have left the new machine without an instant base of affordable small business applications. Speed to market was a leading paradigm for the PC's design team.

Sun was making 68000-based systems in 1981, before the IBM PC was created.
But they only sold in small volumes, maybe a few thousand systems per year.

What I remember hearing was that IBM asked Motorola if they could make
250,000 68000 chips for the PC's first year.  They said no.  Intel said
yes to making 250,000 8088 chips, so they got the business.

It's great that Intel is finally losing the edge that they once had in
chip fabrication, because it was married to such rotten taste in
computer architecture.  Perhaps over the next 30 years the industry can
finally evolve to less insane designs.  (Even AMD is better than Intel
at architecture; they created a 64-bit x86 that was so reasonable that
Intel ended up adopting it.)

	John

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] PC Unix
  2021-04-07 18:04 ` John Gilmore
@ 2021-04-07 22:18   ` Thomas Paulsen
  2021-04-07 22:40     ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 8+ messages in thread
From: Thomas Paulsen @ 2021-04-07 22:18 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: John Gilmore; +Cc: tuhs, pnr

>From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>
>Sun was making 68000-based systems in 1981, before the IBM PC was created.

Sun was founded on February 24, 1982. The Sun-1 was launched in May 1982. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Microsystems
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun-1



^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] PC Unix
  2021-04-07 22:18   ` Thomas Paulsen
@ 2021-04-07 22:40     ` Larry McVoy
  2021-04-07 23:04       ` Jon Steinhart
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 8+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-04-07 22:40 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Thomas Paulsen; +Cc: tuhs, pnr

On Thu, Apr 08, 2021 at 12:18:04AM +0200, Thomas Paulsen wrote:
> >From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>
> >Sun was making 68000-based systems in 1981, before the IBM PC was created.
> 
> Sun was founded on February 24, 1982. The Sun-1 was launched in May 1982. 
> 
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Microsystems
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun-1

John may be sort of right, I bet avb was building 68k machines at
Stanford before SUN was founded.  Sun stood for Stanford University
Network I believe.

--lm

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] PC Unix
  2021-04-07 22:40     ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-04-07 23:04       ` Jon Steinhart
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 8+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-04-07 23:04 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Larry McVoy writes:
> On Thu, Apr 08, 2021 at 12:18:04AM +0200, Thomas Paulsen wrote:
> > >From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>
> > >Sun was making 68000-based systems in 1981, before the IBM PC was created.
> > 
> > Sun was founded on February 24, 1982. The Sun-1 was launched in May 1982. 
> > 
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Microsystems
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun-1
>
> John may be sort of right, I bet avb was building 68k machines at
> Stanford before SUN was founded.  Sun stood for Stanford University
> Network I believe.
>
> --lm

Larry is correct.  I remember visiting a friend of mind, Gary Newman,
who was working at Lucasfilm in '81.  He showed me a bunch of stuff
that they were doing on Stanford University Network boards.

Full disclosure, it was Gary and Paul Rubinfeld who ended up at DEC
and I believe was the architect for the microVax who told me about
the explorer scout post at BTL which is how I met Heinz.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] PC Unix
  2021-04-07  7:52 Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS
  2021-04-07 15:57 ` heinz
@ 2021-04-08 22:31 ` Warner Losh
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 8+ messages in thread
From: Warner Losh @ 2021-04-08 22:31 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Paul Ruizendaal; +Cc: TUHS main list

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 751 bytes --]

On Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 1:54 AM Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS <
tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org> wrote:

> It seems like Venix/86 came out in Spring 1983 and PC/IX in Spring 1984. I
> guess by then RAM had become cheap enough that running in 64KB of core was
> no longer a requirement and LSX and MX did not make sense anymore. Does
> that sound right?
>

Venix/86 2.0 (still 7th edition) requires 192k to run, at least on my
Rainbow, and get to login:.  128k and 64k simply are too small
configurations to run it. There's not a lot of 'fat' in the Venix kernel
and more-modern compilers only are able to make modest gains over the
primitive pcc used at the time. The raw kernel for pc/ix is a few k larger
than the venix kernel. So I'm guessing that's right.

Warner

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 1117 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] PC Unix
  2021-04-07  7:52 Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS
@ 2021-04-07 15:57 ` heinz
  2021-04-08 22:31 ` Warner Losh
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 8+ messages in thread
From: heinz @ 2021-04-07 15:57 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Paul Ruizendaal; +Cc: TUHS main list

Yes, that sounds about right. LSX and MX used older versions of UNIX
and binary licensing from WE was not yet available.

Heinz

On 2021-04-07 00:52, Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS wrote:
>> I developed LSX at Bell Labs in Murray Hill NJ in the 1974-1975
>> timeframe.
>> An existing C compiler made it possible without too much effort. The
>> UNIX
>> source was available to Universities by then. I also developed 
>> Mini-UNIX
>> for the PDP11/10  (also no memory protection) in the 1976 timeframe.
>> This source code was also made available to Universities, but the 
>> source
>> code for LSX was not.
>> 
>> Peter Weiner, the founder of INTERACTIVE Systems Corp.(ISC) in June
>> 1977,
>> the first commercial company to license UNIX source from Western
>> Electric for $20,000. Binary licenses were available at the same time.
>> I joined ISC in May of 1978 when ISC was the first company to offer
>> UNIX support services to third parties. There was never any talk about
>> licensing  UNIX source code from Western Electric (WE) from the 
>> founding
>> of ISC to when the Intel 8086 micro became available in 1981.
>> DEC never really targeted the PC market with the LSI-11 micro,
>> and WE never made it easy to license binary copies of the UNIX
>> source code, So LSX never really caught on in the commercial market.
>> ISC was in the business of porting the UNIX source code to other
>> computers, micro to mainframe, as new computer architectures
>> were developed.
>> 
>> Heinz
> 
> The Wikipedia page for ISC has the following paragraphs:
> 
> "Although observers in the early 1980s expected that IBM would choose
> Microsoft Xenix or a version from AT&T Corporation as the Unix for its
> microcomputer, PC/IX was the first Unix implementation for the IBM PC
> XT available directly from IBM. According to Bob Blake, the PC/IX
> product manager for IBM, their "primary objective was to make a
> credible Unix system - [...] not try to 'IBM-ize' the product. PC-IX
> is System III Unix." PC/IX was not, however, the first Unix port to
> the XT: Venix/86 preceded PC/IX by about a year, although it was based
> on the older Version 7 Unix.
> 
> The main addition to PC/IX was the INed screen editor from ISC. INed
> offered multiple windows and context-sensitive help, paragraph
> justification and margin changes, although it was not a fully fledged
> word processor. PC/IX omitted the System III FORTRAN compiler and the
> tar file archiver, and did not add BSD tools like vi or the C shell.
> One reason for not porting these was that in PC/IX, individual
> applications were limited to a single segment of 64 kB of RAM.
> 
> To achieve good filesystem performance, PC/IX addressed the XT hard
> drive directly, rather than doing this through the BIOS, which gave it
> a significant speed advantage compared to MS-DOS. Because of the lack
> of true memory protection in the 8088 chips, IBM only sold single-user
> licenses for PC/IX.
> 
> The PC/IX distribution came on 19 floppy disks and was accompanied by
> a 1,800-page manual. Installed, PC/IX took approximately 4.5 MB of
> disk space. An editorial by Bill Machrone in PC Magazine at the time
> of PC/IX's launch flagged the $900 price as a show stopper given its
> lack of compatibility with MS-DOS applications. PC/IX was not a
> commercial success although BYTE in August 1984 described it as "a
> complete, usable single-user implementation that does what can be done
> with the 8088", noting that PC/IX on the PC outperformed Venix on the
> PDP-11/23.”
> 
> It seems like Venix/86 came out in Spring 1983 and PC/IX in Spring
> 1984. I guess by then RAM had become cheap enough that running in 64KB
> of core was no longer a requirement and LSX and MX did not make sense
> anymore. Does that sound right?

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

* [TUHS] PC Unix
@ 2021-04-07  7:52 Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS
  2021-04-07 15:57 ` heinz
  2021-04-08 22:31 ` Warner Losh
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 8+ messages in thread
From: Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS @ 2021-04-07  7:52 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

> I developed LSX at Bell Labs in Murray Hill NJ in the 1974-1975 
> timeframe.
> An existing C compiler made it possible without too much effort. The 
> UNIX
> source was available to Universities by then. I also developed Mini-UNIX
> for the PDP11/10  (also no memory protection) in the 1976 timeframe.
> This source code was also made available to Universities, but the source
> code for LSX was not.
> 
> Peter Weiner, the founder of INTERACTIVE Systems Corp.(ISC) in June 
> 1977,
> the first commercial company to license UNIX source from Western
> Electric for $20,000. Binary licenses were available at the same time.
> I joined ISC in May of 1978 when ISC was the first company to offer
> UNIX support services to third parties. There was never any talk about
> licensing  UNIX source code from Western Electric (WE) from the founding
> of ISC to when the Intel 8086 micro became available in 1981.
> DEC never really targeted the PC market with the LSI-11 micro,
> and WE never made it easy to license binary copies of the UNIX
> source code, So LSX never really caught on in the commercial market.
> ISC was in the business of porting the UNIX source code to other
> computers, micro to mainframe, as new computer architectures
> were developed.
> 
> Heinz

The Wikipedia page for ISC has the following paragraphs:

"Although observers in the early 1980s expected that IBM would choose Microsoft Xenix or a version from AT&T Corporation as the Unix for its microcomputer, PC/IX was the first Unix implementation for the IBM PC XT available directly from IBM. According to Bob Blake, the PC/IX product manager for IBM, their "primary objective was to make a credible Unix system - [...] not try to 'IBM-ize' the product. PC-IX is System III Unix." PC/IX was not, however, the first Unix port to the XT: Venix/86 preceded PC/IX by about a year, although it was based on the older Version 7 Unix.

The main addition to PC/IX was the INed screen editor from ISC. INed offered multiple windows and context-sensitive help, paragraph justification and margin changes, although it was not a fully fledged word processor. PC/IX omitted the System III FORTRAN compiler and the tar file archiver, and did not add BSD tools like vi or the C shell. One reason for not porting these was that in PC/IX, individual applications were limited to a single segment of 64 kB of RAM.

To achieve good filesystem performance, PC/IX addressed the XT hard drive directly, rather than doing this through the BIOS, which gave it a significant speed advantage compared to MS-DOS. Because of the lack of true memory protection in the 8088 chips, IBM only sold single-user licenses for PC/IX.

The PC/IX distribution came on 19 floppy disks and was accompanied by a 1,800-page manual. Installed, PC/IX took approximately 4.5 MB of disk space. An editorial by Bill Machrone in PC Magazine at the time of PC/IX's launch flagged the $900 price as a show stopper given its lack of compatibility with MS-DOS applications. PC/IX was not a commercial success although BYTE in August 1984 described it as "a complete, usable single-user implementation that does what can be done with the 8088", noting that PC/IX on the PC outperformed Venix on the PDP-11/23.”

It seems like Venix/86 came out in Spring 1983 and PC/IX in Spring 1984. I guess by then RAM had become cheap enough that running in 64KB of core was no longer a requirement and LSX and MX did not make sense anymore. Does that sound right?




^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 8+ messages in thread

end of thread, other threads:[~2021-04-08 22:32 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 8+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2021-04-07  8:20 [TUHS] PC Unix Paul Ruizendaal
2021-04-07 18:04 ` John Gilmore
2021-04-07 22:18   ` Thomas Paulsen
2021-04-07 22:40     ` Larry McVoy
2021-04-07 23:04       ` Jon Steinhart
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2021-04-07  7:52 Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS
2021-04-07 15:57 ` heinz
2021-04-08 22:31 ` Warner Losh

The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

This inbox may be cloned and mirrored by anyone:

	git clone --mirror http://inbox.vuxu.org/tuhs

	# If you have public-inbox 1.1+ installed, you may
	# initialize and index your mirror using the following commands:
	public-inbox-init -V1 tuhs tuhs/ http://inbox.vuxu.org/tuhs \
		tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org
	public-inbox-index tuhs

Example config snippet for mirrors.
Newsgroup available over NNTP:
	nntp://inbox.vuxu.org/vuxu.archive.tuhs


AGPL code for this site: git clone https://public-inbox.org/public-inbox.git