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* [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
@ 2021-01-24 16:14 ron minnich
  2021-01-24 16:24 ` Michael Kjörling
                   ` (3 more replies)
  0 siblings, 4 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: ron minnich @ 2021-01-24 16:14 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

At some point I thought NeWS source was released. Is it just another
Lost Source or it is out there somewhere?

Do I remember right that it was a Gosling effort?

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 16:14 [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? ron minnich
@ 2021-01-24 16:24 ` Michael Kjörling
  2021-01-24 17:04 ` Clem Cole
                   ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Michael Kjörling @ 2021-01-24 16:24 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 24 Jan 2021 08:14 -0800, from rminnich@gmail.com (ron minnich):
> At some point I thought NeWS source was released. Is it just another
> Lost Source or it is out there somewhere?

If it turns up, consider updating the Wikipedia article; all it seems
to say about general source code access is that "Sun charged a fee to
license the NeWS source code, while the MIT X11 code was free of
cost".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeWS

-- 
Michael Kjörling • https://michael.kjorling.se • michael@kjorling.se
 “Remember when, on the Internet, nobody cared that you were a dog?”


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 16:14 [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? ron minnich
  2021-01-24 16:24 ` Michael Kjörling
@ 2021-01-24 17:04 ` Clem Cole
  2021-01-24 18:36   ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 18:41   ` Toby Thain
  2021-01-24 18:24 ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-24 21:07 ` Rich Morin
  3 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Clem Cole @ 2021-01-24 17:04 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: ron minnich; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 11:15 AM ron minnich <rminnich@gmail.com> wrote:

> At some point I thought NeWS source was released. Is it just another
> Lost Source or it is out there somewhere?
>

As I have said in other replies: "simple economics always beats
sophisticated architecture."

I personally never saw the code, although I did play with the result at one
point.  I believe they licensed Adobe Display PostScript which was one of
the issues.  IIRC was also a trigger for creating Ghostscript.   We toyed
with using it for Stellar.   IIRC, Andy Van Dam was a big fan.



> Do I remember right that it was a Gosling effort?
>
Yep.

Like BLISS vs. C - NeWS did way more than X11 did when it first appeared
and it might have had a chance if Sun had not locked it up the same way DEC
did with BLISS.  Funny, they gave away NFS and basically set a standard
that they controlled.   I have to believe they made way more money selling
systems because NFS was ubiquitous than they would have with license
revenue for NFS.

I suspect NeWS was justified internally differently and the marketing types
saw it as a revenue stream.  Larry, can you enlighten us at all?
ᐧ

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 16:14 [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? ron minnich
  2021-01-24 16:24 ` Michael Kjörling
  2021-01-24 17:04 ` Clem Cole
@ 2021-01-24 18:24 ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-24 18:42   ` arnold
  2021-01-24 21:07 ` Rich Morin
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dan Cross @ 2021-01-24 18:24 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: ron minnich; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 11:16 AM ron minnich <rminnich@gmail.com> wrote:

> At some point I thought NeWS source was released. Is it just another
> Lost Source or it is out there somewhere?
>

I think they open sourced the OpenLook toolkit at some point, though I
don't recall seeing the source code for the NeWS server itself. If I'm
misremembering and Sun didn't open the OLTK, then maybe there was an open
source clone. I am sure there was an alternate window manager that had
virtual desktops.

Starting with, I believe, NeWS 3.0 and later they provided X11 integration.
X had clearly won in the larger world. For that matter, so had Motif, but
you had to pay money for it.

Do I remember right that it was a Gosling effort?
>

Yes, he was the driving force behind NeWS. Display PostScript! A cool
concept.

        - Dan C.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 17:04 ` Clem Cole
@ 2021-01-24 18:36   ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 20:39     ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 18:41   ` Toby Thain
  1 sibling, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-24 18:36 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Clem Cole; +Cc: TUHS main list

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 12:04:09PM -0500, Clem Cole wrote:
> I suspect NeWS was justified internally differently and the marketing types
> saw it as a revenue stream.  Larry, can you enlighten us at all?

NeWS was too much, too soon.  This was back in the days of Mhz rather than
Ghz and NeWS was slow and clunky whereas X11 was good enough.

I don't know what the deal was with locking it up.  I don't even know if
they got any revenue out of it, the only people that I remember liking
it were sort of "zealots" for lack of a better word.  They felt like it
was better answer and just had mumble, mumble when performance was 
brought up.

But I'm a weird person to ask because I started my career as a contractor
at Lachman and the first thing I did on any project was bring up X10,
later X11, and use that.  I'm still carrying around my startx stuff.
To me, having the same UI on every platform dramatically out weighed
any "advantage" $VENDORS window system had.  And in reality, if you had
decent frame buffer drivers, X11 was usually faster than the VENDOR stuff.

So I have little insight into VENDOR UI, I rarely used it for longer than
it took me to build X11.

The only UI stuff I've ever seen that I liked better that X11 was:

Sunview (the X version) because of the clever UI, every interface was
widget(key, value, key, value) and all keys (if I remember correctly)
had defaults that were reasonable.  Super pleasant.

Ousterhout's Tk (but not the tcl stuff, jesus that was horrible).
He approached GUIs from a much higher level and you can throw together
working tools in very few lines of code.  I've still never seen anything
as well thought out though I haven't looked in the last ~5 years.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if his stuff is still the best.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 17:04 ` Clem Cole
  2021-01-24 18:36   ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-24 18:41   ` Toby Thain
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Toby Thain @ 2021-01-24 18:41 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Clem Cole, ron minnich; +Cc: TUHS main list

On 2021-01-24 12:04 p.m., Clem Cole wrote:
> 
> 
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 11:15 AM ron minnich <rminnich@gmail.com
> <mailto:rminnich@gmail.com>> wrote:
> 
>     At some point I thought NeWS source was released. Is it just another
>     Lost Source or it is out there somewhere?
> 
> 
> As I have said in other replies: "simple economics always beats
> sophisticated architecture."
> 
> I personally never saw the code, although I did play with the result at
> one point.  I believe they licensed Adobe Display PostScript which was

As far as I know, they didn't. It was a different implementation.

They did develop the F3 font rasterising engine as part of the project,
iirc.

--Toby

> one of the issues.  IIRC was also a trigger for creating Ghostscript.  
> We toyed with using it for Stellar.   IIRC, Andy Van Dam was a big fan.
> 
> ...

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 18:24 ` Dan Cross
@ 2021-01-24 18:42   ` arnold
  2021-01-24 19:11     ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: arnold @ 2021-01-24 18:42 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: rminnich, crossd; +Cc: tuhs

Dan Cross <crossd@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 11:16 AM ron minnich <rminnich@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > At some point I thought NeWS source was released. Is it just another
> > Lost Source or it is out there somewhere?
> >
>
> I think they open sourced the OpenLook toolkit at some point,

Indeed they did.  I think I have a CD with it somewhere in my
basement....  I am pretty sure it was the X11 version, not
sunview.

I don't think NeWS ever got released.

Arnold

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 18:42   ` arnold
@ 2021-01-24 19:11     ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-24 19:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: arnold; +Cc: tuhs

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 11:42:53AM -0700, arnold@skeeve.com wrote:
> > On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 11:16 AM ron minnich <rminnich@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I think they open sourced the OpenLook toolkit at some point,
> 
> Indeed they did.  I think I have a CD with it somewhere in my
> basement....  I am pretty sure it was the X11 version, not
> sunview.

As much as I loved Sun, I never got happy with Openlook, I just ctwm on
X11 and I was happy.  I liked the Sunview toolkit though, that was better
than average.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 18:36   ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-24 20:39     ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 20:54       ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Ronald Natalie @ 2021-01-24 20:39 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Larry McVoy, Clem Cole; +Cc: TUHS main list

NeWS had a number of problems.   Oddly, James Gosling who designed NeWS 
(along with Owen Dunsmore who made the PostScript class mechanism) went 
on to do Java which got around the simple fact that as far as a 
programming language for human programmers, PostScript is absolutely 
abysmal.    It also suffered from other goofy mistakes like the 
"terminal" window when resized just made the 24x80 bigger by scaling up 
the fonts (most people expect to keep the font size but get more rows 
and columns).

Don Hopkins (is he here?) had done his pi menus (round menus) which were 
a pretty neat concept that never caught on elswehere on NeWS.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 18:36   ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 20:39     ` Ronald Natalie
@ 2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 21:11       ` Larry McVoy
                         ` (3 more replies)
  1 sibling, 4 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-24 20:45 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Larry McVoy writes:
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 12:04:09PM -0500, Clem Cole wrote:
> > I suspect NeWS was justified internally differently and the marketing types
> > saw it as a revenue stream.  Larry, can you enlighten us at all?
>
> NeWS was too much, too soon.  This was back in the days of Mhz rather than
> Ghz and NeWS was slow and clunky whereas X11 was good enough.
>
> I don't know what the deal was with locking it up.  I don't even know if
> they got any revenue out of it, the only people that I remember liking
> it were sort of "zealots" for lack of a better word.  They felt like it
> was better answer and just had mumble, mumble when performance was 
> brought up.
>
> But I'm a weird person to ask because I started my career as a contractor
> at Lachman and the first thing I did on any project was bring up X10,
> later X11, and use that.  I'm still carrying around my startx stuff.
> To me, having the same UI on every platform dramatically out weighed
> any "advantage" $VENDORS window system had.  And in reality, if you had
> decent frame buffer drivers, X11 was usually faster than the VENDOR stuff.
>
> So I have little insight into VENDOR UI, I rarely used it for longer than
> it took me to build X11.
>
> The only UI stuff I've ever seen that I liked better that X11 was:
>
> Sunview (the X version) because of the clever UI, every interface was
> widget(key, value, key, value) and all keys (if I remember correctly)
> had defaults that were reasonable.  Super pleasant.
>
> Ousterhout's Tk (but not the tcl stuff, jesus that was horrible).
> He approached GUIs from a much higher level and you can throw together
> working tools in very few lines of code.  I've still never seen anything
> as well thought out though I haven't looked in the last ~5 years.
> It wouldn't surprise me at all if his stuff is still the best.

Ugh, another flashback.  Reload the brain from back-up tapes time.

Yes, NeWS was primarily Gosling but Rosenthal was also a contributor.
Remember that they did Andrew at CMU.  Historical note on them versus the
X-Men is that when they did Andrew, one of the first things that they
addressed was that UNIX was asynchronous networking; they designed the
protocol to avoid round-trips.  Even though their work pre-dated a lot of
the X work, X through V10 was stuck on the synchronous networking model
since X was really just the W code developed for the V operating system.

SunWindows/SunView was Sun's original window system that was kernel-based.
There were a bazillion ioctls to get things done.  But, it was fast
and reliable.  Ugly inside.

A quick note is that the X-Men sold their stuff as "network-transparent"
which I thought was really idiotic.  Before X, lots of people did network
transparent graphics with Tektronix 4014 terminal emulators.  The main
thing that X did for you was to have your whole UI run on a remote
machine making the performance even worse than what the synchronous
protocol provided.

To the best of my knowledge, NeWS was the first window system to provide
device-independent graphics.  You could just do things without having
to mess around with counting pixels and figuring out what sort of color
system was behind things.

As an aside, I found something when doing my basement archeology that
pre-dated the X11/NeWS tee shirts; there was a color printer at Sun and I
got Dave Lavalle to help me make a Christmas card for Gosling - it read
"Wish you a merry X-Mess and a happy NeWS year".  Could scan it in if
anyone cares.

To me, the biggest problem with NeWS was the "e" part; it was so extensible
that nobody could stop playing around and finish something.  I recall
that they kept on redoing UI toolkits because they got into building an
object-oriented system using PostScript dictionaries and kept changing
things because they were learning as they went.  The name Owen Densmore
is connected to this in my mind.

While there are many different views of what happened, mine is that the
X-Men colluded to form the "Hamilton Group" in an attempt to used monopoly
power to kill NeWS.  One of the leaders of this was Apollo, and according
to folks that I knew there, they felt that their networking was better
than Sun's, but they lost because Sun "gave away" NFS.  Folks were worried
that Sun would do something similar with NeWS, and at the time there was
little industry expertise, especially in the graphics department.  I seem
to recall that Sun bought some company that had figured out font-hinting
along the line.

Moving on, because of the Hamilton Group, Sun was forced into supporting X.
They created X/NeWS on the assumption that X would just be a layer on
top of NeWS and use much of the same code.  Robin Schaufler was project
lead.  Problem was, the X graphics model of knowing exactly where each
pixel was placed was not compatible with the NeWS model of not caring.

Partly in reaction to this, the X-Men worked with Adobe on the Display
PostScript extension.  My recollection was that the original PostScript
for Apple printers was pretty much written in assembler, and so it took
a lot of work and time to get Display PostScript up and running.  It was
not a great fit for X as compared to NeWS as X with Display PostScript
provided a different drawing model as a wart that wasn't well integrated
with the rest of X.  Display PostScript got a temporarily new lease on
life with Next.

XView was a project at Sun that converted SunView programs into X programs.
I remember doing a late night panic consulting project because it came
along around the same time as SPARC, and there was a lot of weird code
in there doing unaligned memory accesses that needed fixing.

In my opinion, the whole NeWS and X/NeWS thing failed because it was done
in a market-insensitive manner.  Among other things, I was doing some
consulting for AED at the time; they were making X accelerator boards
that plugged into Suns.  I convinced them that there wasn't going to be
much of a market.  Instead, I noticed that many large companies were using
SunView applications (think FrameMaker et. al.) for serious work, and were
not just going to ditch it for X just so they could watch the maze program
(there were no real X applications at the time).  AED funded me to do the
XTool (Safe X for Suns) project which made X run in a SunView window.
That allowed customers who depended on SunView to also watch maze
when they were bored.  It had two modes; run an X server in a window,
or use the Sun UI and run each X application in its own SunView window.
Unfortunately, AED had a management change who forced us to ship before
we were ready which made it fail.  Were I smarter I would have tried to
get Sun to buy it.  I think that I have a box of XTool tee shirts around
if anybody wants one.

I don't know if the NeWS source was ever released.  I have a QIC-150 tape
labeled NeWS which I believe has the source.  Have no idea what version
or anything else, and I would have to haul my old SparcStation 20 out of
the basement to try reading it as I don't have SCSI on any modern machine.

John Gilmore might have a copy as I recall that he and Hugh Daniel were
doing some sort of NeWS thing, Grasshopper Group if I remember right.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:39     ` Ronald Natalie
@ 2021-01-24 20:54       ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 21:01         ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 23:38         ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-24 20:54 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Ronald Natalie; +Cc: TUHS main list

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 08:39:13PM +0000, Ronald Natalie wrote:
> to do Java which got around the simple fact that as far as a programming
> language for human programmers, PostScript is absolutely abysmal.   

Abysmal?  Perhaps a bit harsh.  The Sun logo was hand written
postscript and I did the first SPARC Cluster and made a logo that was
4 interconnected Sun logos in the same shape, I can probably dig it up.

I think it was more weird, reminded me of Forth (also weird).  But you
could make stuff work in it.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:54       ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-24 21:01         ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 23:38         ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Ronald Natalie @ 2021-01-24 21:01 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Writing simple renderings isn't too bad.  Trying to implement program 
logic in it is horrid.   Believe me, I spent years dealing with a system 
that was sort of a NeWS spin-off.    Shoot me before I ever have to use 
a language without local variables again.


------ Original Message ------
From: "Larry McVoy" <lm@mcvoy.com>
To: "Ronald Natalie" <ron@ronnatalie.com>
Cc: "Larry McVoy" <lm@mcvoy.com>; "Clem Cole" <clemc@ccc.com>; "TUHS 
main list" <tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org>
Sent: 1/24/2021 3:54:51 PM
Subject: Re: Re[2]: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened 
to NeWS?

>On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 08:39:13PM +0000, Ronald Natalie wrote:
>>  to do Java which got around the simple fact that as far as a programming
>>  language for human programmers, PostScript is absolutely abysmal.
>
>Abysmal?  Perhaps a bit harsh.  The Sun logo was hand written
>postscript and I did the first SPARC Cluster and made a logo that was
>4 interconnected Sun logos in the same shape, I can probably dig it up.
>
>I think it was more weird, reminded me of Forth (also weird).  But you
>could make stuff work in it.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 16:14 [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? ron minnich
                   ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-01-24 18:24 ` Dan Cross
@ 2021-01-24 21:07 ` Rich Morin
  2021-01-24 21:10   ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 21:16   ` Jon Steinhart
  3 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Rich Morin @ 2021-01-24 21:07 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

John Gilmore probably has some interesting stories to tell regarding NeWS; his Grasshopper Group project ported it to A/UX on the Mac.  Don Hopkins and Hugh Daniel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Daniel) did the heavy lifting, IIRC.

I recall hearing that Gosling had to use GCC to compile NeWS.  It seems that the code had an enormous switch statement which spanned more than 64 KB.  The Sun C compiler used SPARC's location-independent conditional branches, which couldn't reach that far; GCC used a combination of branches and jumps, so it had no problem.

Aside from the use of PostScript and the enormous (for the time) resource demands, NeWS also suffered from economic and political issues.  It wasn't free (in any sense), so other vendors would have had to pay a substantial amount of money to use it.  Also, some other vendors were reportedly unwilling to give Sun yet another standards victory.

Too bad.  X won (at least in Unixish systems) and, as Rob Pike put it:  Sometimes when you fill a vacuum, it still sucks.  Curiously, JavaScript (another Gosling effort) is in some ways the modern version of NeWS...

-r




^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:07 ` Rich Morin
@ 2021-01-24 21:10   ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 22:30     ` Rich Morin
  2021-01-24 21:16   ` Jon Steinhart
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Ronald Natalie @ 2021-01-24 21:10 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Rich Morin, TUHS main list


>Too bad.  X won (at least in Unixish systems) and, as Rob Pike put it:  Sometimes when you fill a vacuum, it still sucks.  Curiously, JavaScript (another Gosling effort) is in some ways the modern version of NeWS...
>
>
You mean Java.   JavaScript is a different language that Brendan Eich at 
Netscape wrote for their browser.

>


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-24 21:11       ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 21:14         ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 21:29       ` Al Kossow
                         ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-24 21:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: TUHS main list

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 12:45:13PM -0800, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> power to kill NeWS.  One of the leaders of this was Apollo, and according
> to folks that I knew there, they felt that their networking was better
> than Sun's, but they lost because Sun "gave away" NFS.  

Small hijack because I couldn't help it :)

As someone who has used Apollos side by side with Suns (this was before
I went to work at Sun, around 1987), to say Apollos were better at
anything than a Sun was a joke in bad taste.  If I remember correctly,
they were both based on 68020s, so same baseline.  Apollos just sucked,
their networked file system was slow as molasses.  In spite of having
dozens of Apollos available to me, and just one Sun file server, the first
thing I did at that job was to port the cross compiler from Apollo to Sun,
that one machine was faster than anything I could get done on a pile of
Apollos.  I hated them.

--lm

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:11       ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-24 21:14         ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 21:22           ` [TUHS] Apollo (was NeWS) Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 21:25           ` [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-24 21:14 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Larry McVoy writes:
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 12:45:13PM -0800, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > power to kill NeWS.  One of the leaders of this was Apollo, and according
> > to folks that I knew there, they felt that their networking was better
> > than Sun's, but they lost because Sun "gave away" NFS.  
>
> Small hijack because I couldn't help it :)
>
> As someone who has used Apollos side by side with Suns (this was before
> I went to work at Sun, around 1987), to say Apollos were better at
> anything than a Sun was a joke in bad taste.  If I remember correctly,
> they were both based on 68020s, so same baseline.  Apollos just sucked,
> their networked file system was slow as molasses.  In spite of having
> dozens of Apollos available to me, and just one Sun file server, the first
> thing I did at that job was to port the cross compiler from Apollo to Sun,
> that one machine was faster than anything I could get done on a pile of
> Apollos.  I hated them.
>
> --lm

So I never liked Apollos much.  What I was referring to was Apollo's claim
that their token-ring network performed better for large numbers of nodes.
And they were correct.  However, they didn't consider the eventually
invention of switches that solved the problem.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:07 ` Rich Morin
  2021-01-24 21:10   ` Ronald Natalie
@ 2021-01-24 21:16   ` Jon Steinhart
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-24 21:16 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Rich Morin writes:
> John Gilmore probably has some interesting stories to tell regarding NeWS;
> his Grasshopper Group project ported it to A/UX on the Mac.  Don Hopkins
> and Hugh Daniel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Daniel) did the heavy
> lifting, IIRC.

One of my favorite Don Hopkins quotes was something he said when we were
wandering the floor at XHibition '90.  Something like "Wow!  with the
power of X and Motif I can use a modern processor to get all of the
performance that I used to get on an Intel 8080."

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* [TUHS] Apollo (was NeWS)
  2021-01-24 21:14         ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-24 21:22           ` Ronald Natalie
  2021-01-24 21:25           ` [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? Larry McVoy
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Ronald Natalie @ 2021-01-24 21:22 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list


>So I never liked Apollos much.  What I was referring to was Apollo's claim
>that their token-ring network performed better for large numbers of nodes.
>And they were correct.  However, they didn't consider the eventually
>invention of switches that solved the problem.
>
>
We worked with Apollo for a few years before they got absorbed into HP.  
   I had a DN10000 wthat we used to use.   Amusingly, the window system 
was some X variant with the Apollo's idea of a GUI wrapped around it.   
When I fired up the Motif Window Manager I found that the three little 
windows at the bottom of the screen got their own Motif border.

The DN10000 came with a great set of documentation in five volumes to 
describe all aspects of the hardware.   I really needed volume 3 which 
covered the graphics system.   After much hunting around (even by some 
senior Apollo engineers) everybody came to the conclusion that Volume 3 
never got written.   The other cute thing is that when you opened the 
latchless gull wing doors on the thing it powered off.   I had to tape 
signs on the thing warning people not to open the thing casually.

A few years after HP shutdown the whole Apollo domain thing, I was 
visiting an FAA facility and they showed me this "brand new system they 
just got in."   It was essentially the system that eventually powered 
things like flightaware.com.   It was running on the new obsolete DN300.

The other humerous (to me at least) was when we visited the factory, 
they listed my bosses title as "Present" on the agenda.   We're not sure 
what Steve did, but he was always there.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:14         ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 21:22           ` [TUHS] Apollo (was NeWS) Ronald Natalie
@ 2021-01-24 21:25           ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 22:53             ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-24 23:50             ` Ed Carp
  1 sibling, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-24 21:25 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: TUHS main list

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 01:14:34PM -0800, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> So I never liked Apollos much.  What I was referring to was Apollo's claim
> that their token-ring network performed better for large numbers of nodes.
> And they were correct.  However, they didn't consider the eventually
> invention of switches that solved the problem.

The network performance of the cluster of Apollos we had was awful.
I don't know anything about how you set that up, never liked token rings,
maybe it is possible to set it up wrong, I dunno.  All I know was network
performance was awful on the Apollos.

It's a statistically valid sampling of one case :-)

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 21:11       ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-24 21:29       ` Al Kossow
  2021-01-24 21:53       ` Lars Brinkhoff
  2021-02-14  2:04       ` Greg A. Woods
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Al Kossow @ 2021-01-24 21:29 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 1/24/21 12:45 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> Larry McVoy writes:
>>I was doing some
> consulting for AED at the time; they were making X accelerator boards
> that plugged into Suns.  I convinced them that there wasn't going to be
> much of a market.  Instead, I noticed that many large companies were using
> SunView applications (think FrameMaker et. al.) for serious work, and were
> not just going to ditch it for X just so they could watch the maze program
> (there were no real X applications at the time).  AED funded me to do the
> XTool (Safe X for Suns) project which made X run in a SunView window.
> That allowed customers who depended on SunView to also watch maze
> when they were bored.  It had two modes; run an X server in a window,
> or use the Sun UI and run each X application in its own SunView window.
> Unfortunately, AED had a management change who forced us to ship before
> we were ready which made it fail.  Were I smarter I would have tried to
> get Sun to buy it.  I think that I have a box of XTool tee shirts around
> if anybody wants one.


That was my project before I left for Apple.
Two versions, QBus and VME.
Big mistake was trusting AMD's QPDM.


http://bitsavers.org/pdf/aed/colorware_cards/

Do you still have any of the code for it?


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 21:11       ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 21:29       ` Al Kossow
@ 2021-01-24 21:53       ` Lars Brinkhoff
  2021-02-14  2:04       ` Greg A. Woods
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Lars Brinkhoff @ 2021-01-24 21:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: TUHS main list

Jon Steinhart wrote:
> Instead, I noticed that many large companies were using SunView
> applications (think FrameMaker et. al.) for serious work, and were not
> just going to ditch it for X just so they could watch the maze program
> (there were no real X applications at the time).

Maybe this?  I pulled it out of comp.sources.sun postings.

https://github.com/larsbrinkhoff/sunview-x-mazewar

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:10   ` Ronald Natalie
@ 2021-01-24 22:30     ` Rich Morin
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Rich Morin @ 2021-01-24 22:30 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Yes and no.  I actually had JavaScript (which I _knew_ that Brendan Eich wrote; sigh) in mind.   JavaScript, like NeWS, handles a wide range of display and interaction issues.  Of course, it sits on top of HTTP, but that's just a detail (:-).

-r


> On Jan 24, 2021, at 13:10, Ronald Natalie <ron@ronnatalie.com> wrote:
> 
>> Too bad.  X won (at least in Unixish systems) and, as Rob Pike put it:  Sometimes when you fill a vacuum, it still sucks.  Curiously, JavaScript (another Gosling effort) is in some ways the modern version of NeWS...
>> 
>> 
> You mean Java.   JavaScript is a different language that Brendan Eich at Netscape wrote for their browser.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:25           ` [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-24 22:53             ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-24 23:33               ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-24 23:50             ` Ed Carp
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dan Cross @ 2021-01-24 22:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Larry McVoy; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 4:25 PM Larry McVoy <lm@mcvoy.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 01:14:34PM -0800, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > So I never liked Apollos much.  What I was referring to was Apollo's
> claim
> > that their token-ring network performed better for large numbers of
> nodes.
> > And they were correct.  However, they didn't consider the eventually
> > invention of switches that solved the problem.
>
> The network performance of the cluster of Apollos we had was awful.
> I don't know anything about how you set that up, never liked token rings,
> maybe it is possible to set it up wrong, I dunno.  All I know was network
> performance was awful on the Apollos.
>

Interestingly, descendents of the Apollo RPC system live on in windows, and
if I recall correctly, got there via the DCE/RPC library, largely
contributed by Apollo. Some good judges have said that, on technical
merits, the RPC layer was superior to ONC RPC, though I never used an
Apollo machine to really know.

I remember working at a startup in late 1999/early 2000 that had built some
hokey network daemon to track people logged into their website; this thing
crashed all the time, was slow, and generally not well implemented. It
occurred to me that much of the complexity of dealing with it was in the
level of abstraction for the network being too low: it ran on a Sun, so
reimplemented it on top of ONC/RPC with XDR for architecture independence
(most of the web servers were Intel machines). The new code was a sixth of
the size of what I started with, it was simpler and easier to reason about,
used less memory, was significantly faster, etc. The lesson is that the
right abstractions matter.

I further remember when I got to Google and saw protobuf for the first time
being a little confused. "Why didn't you just use XDR? It's an Internet
standard and there's an RFC defining it, and it's implemented essentially
everywhere. Why do something new?" The response was very much along the
lines of, "ho ho; this is Google, kid. We know what we're doing."
Apparently, the variable-length encoding for integers was considered
particularly important at the time, an argument I never really bought into.
*shrug*

It's a statistically valid sampling of one case :-)
>

I can totally believe that their workstations were slow and the software
environment was a bummer.

The interesting thing about all of this graphics stuff (and to tie it back
to TUHS) is that none of these things ever struck me as particularly Unix-y
in nature. X in particular doesn't seem like it composes nicely with
anything else, and in many ways, Unix from the perspective of a user is all
about composition from smaller parts. But X is this big, monolithic thing
that you kind of bolted on the side. For example, it certainly doesn't
integrate with, say, the permissions model.

I wonder if these seeming impedance mismatches are because pretty much
being all of this stuff invented as folks went along.

        - Dan C.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 22:53             ` Dan Cross
@ 2021-01-24 23:33               ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-25  0:11                 ` Al Kossow
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-24 23:33 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Dan Cross writes:
>
> The interesting thing about all of this graphics stuff (and to tie it back
> to TUHS) is that none of these things ever struck me as particularly Unix-y
> in nature. X in particular doesn't seem like it composes nicely with
> anything else, and in many ways, Unix from the perspective of a user is all
> about composition from smaller parts. But X is this big, monolithic thing
> that you kind of bolted on the side. For example, it certainly doesn't
> integrate with, say, the permissions model.
>
> I wonder if these seeming impedance mismatches are because pretty much
> being all of this stuff invented as folks went along.
>
>         - Dan C.

This wasn't UNIX-y at all, it didn't come from UNIX despite having
its origin in the original Stanford University Network machine.

The problem isn't unique and is one of those things that I'm trying
to help with via mentoring and such.  The big question that few seem
to consider is "Am I adding value with what I'm doing?"  Even if
people think about it, few are learning much about history despite
our attempts here.  I try to point out that learning the history is
important so that instead of repeating mistakes that others have made
one can come up with new and interesting mistakes.

I remember trying to talk to Bob Scheifler about this and was stunned
to hear him say "I don't believe in models because they predispose
your implementation."  As near as I could tell, he didn't look at
anything anyone else had done (with the exception of the W code from
Stanford) which is why he made all sorts of beginner mistakes.  For
example, had he been looking at other projects in the window space
he would have seen how Gosling and Rosenthal designed the Andrew
protocol to minimize network round trips.  But it never seemed to
cross his mind until others pushed for it in response to NeWS.

These mismatches are everywhere today.  Programming is more about
learning secret incantations to make poorly designed stuff sort of
work than it is about actual good design.  At least in my opinion.

BTW, one of my part time projects here which is currently low on the
priority list is to fix this.  I've done some prototyping of a "real
UNIX philosophy" window system which looks a lot like some of the Plan
9 stuff.  I map my desktop into a filesystem and use inotify to monitor
changes.  My goal, which so far seems achievable is to make a system
that requires no new commands and works with all of the existing ones.
Create a directory and fill it with some stuff to make a window.
Delete it to get rid of it.  Write the size and position into files in
the directory to move and resize.  And so on.  Doing this, the window
manager was only a couple of hundred lines of bash script.

Going back to X versus NeWS in a way, one of the stumbling blocks is
how things have gone back to device-dependent graphics.  As near as I
can tell (haven't done too much work here), it takes about a thousand
lines of code using Vulcan to draw a simple straight line these days.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:54       ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 21:01         ` Ronald Natalie
@ 2021-01-24 23:38         ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-25  0:18           ` Larry McVoy
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Grant Taylor via TUHS @ 2021-01-24 23:38 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 311 bytes --]

On 1/24/21 1:54 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> I did the first SPARC Cluster and made a logo that was 4 interconnected 
> Sun logos in the same shape, I can probably dig it up.

I would be curious to see the clustered SUN logo if you could find it 
without much digging.



-- 
Grant. . . .
unix || die


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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 21:25           ` [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? Larry McVoy
  2021-01-24 22:53             ` Dan Cross
@ 2021-01-24 23:50             ` Ed Carp
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Ed Carp @ 2021-01-24 23:50 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Larry McVoy; +Cc: TUHS main list

On 1/24/21, Larry McVoy <lm@mcvoy.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 01:14:34PM -0800, Jon Steinhart wrote:
>> So I never liked Apollos much.  What I was referring to was Apollo's
>> claim
>> that their token-ring network performed better for large numbers of
>> nodes.
>> And they were correct.  However, they didn't consider the eventually
>> invention of switches that solved the problem.
>
> The network performance of the cluster of Apollos we had was awful.
> I don't know anything about how you set that up, never liked token rings,
> maybe it is possible to set it up wrong, I dunno.  All I know was network
> performance was awful on the Apollos.

Until you got over 10% utilization or so, then token-ring would blow
the doors off anything else. At least that was our benchmarking
results.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 23:33               ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-25  0:11                 ` Al Kossow
  2021-01-25  0:21                   ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-25 14:33                   ` Clem Cole
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Al Kossow @ 2021-01-25  0:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 1/24/21 3:33 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> As near as I could tell, he didn't look at
> anything anyone else had done (with the exception of the W code from
> Stanford)

And today it's impossible to find the original W code. At least I've not
been able to find it in decades of looking.

I don't beleive at the time SUN at Stanford was about Unix at all. It
was very much Cheriton and the V Kernel.

In that timeframe, wasn't CMU still into Spice and PERQs ?




^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 23:38         ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
@ 2021-01-25  0:18           ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-25  0:36             ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-25  0:18 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Grant Taylor; +Cc: tuhs

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 04:38:30PM -0700, Grant Taylor via TUHS wrote:
> On 1/24/21 1:54 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> >I did the first SPARC Cluster and made a logo that was 4 interconnected
> >Sun logos in the same shape, I can probably dig it up.
> 
> I would be curious to see the clustered SUN logo if you could find it
> without much digging.

Pretty simple:

%!PS

/inch { 72 mul } def

/offset { .20 inch } def

% Draws a cluster logo slight smaller than a postit note, about 2.5" square
% Drawn with the center at the current point.
/clusters {
    gsave
	newpath
	0 setlinecap
	100 dup dup dup		% XXX - this has to be 100
	4 {
	    gsave
		dup 0 translate 
		45 rotate
		gsave
		    3 44 dup dup scale div setlinewidth
		    -1 -1 moveto -1 1 lineto 
		    1 1 lineto 1 -1 lineto closepath stroke
		    0 1 moveto 0 2 lineto stroke
		    -1 0 moveto -2 0 lineto stroke
		    -1 1 moveto -2 2 lineto stroke
		grestore
		6 setlinewidth
		4 { 90 180
		    2 {
			5 38 moveto
			10 10 5 180 0 arc 15 38 lineto stroke
			40 40 translate rotate
		    } repeat
		} repeat
	    grestore
	    90 rotate
	} repeat
    grestore
} bind def

4 inch 8 inch translate
1 dup scale
clusters
showpage

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25  0:11                 ` Al Kossow
@ 2021-01-25  0:21                   ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-25 14:38                     ` Clem Cole
  2021-01-25 14:33                   ` Clem Cole
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-25  0:21 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Al Kossow writes:
> On 1/24/21 3:33 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > As near as I could tell, he didn't look at
> > anything anyone else had done (with the exception of the W code from
> > Stanford)
>
> And today it's impossible to find the original W code. At least I've not
> been able to find it in decades of looking.
>
> I don't beleive at the time SUN at Stanford was about Unix at all. It
> was very much Cheriton and the V Kernel.
>
> In that timeframe, wasn't CMU still into Spice and PERQs ?

I think that X1 was W.  But I was doing other stuff at the time and don't
know for sure.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25  0:18           ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-25  0:36             ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-25  0:41               ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Grant Taylor via TUHS @ 2021-01-25  0:36 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

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On 1/24/21 5:18 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> Pretty simple:

Thank you Larry.

I put that into a sun-sun-sun-sun.ps file and opened it with gv / 
Ghostscript perfectly fine.

Very nice!  I like it.

Do you mind if I share this with some friends, obviously giving you credit.



-- 
Grant. . . .
unix || die


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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25  0:36             ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
@ 2021-01-25  0:41               ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-25  0:41 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Grant Taylor; +Cc: tuhs

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 05:36:59PM -0700, Grant Taylor via TUHS wrote:
> On 1/24/21 5:18 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> >Pretty simple:
> 
> Thank you Larry.
> 
> I put that into a sun-sun-sun-sun.ps file and opened it with gv /
> Ghostscript perfectly fine.
> 
> Very nice!  I like it.
> 
> Do you mind if I share this with some friends, obviously giving you credit.

It was part of sunbox which became SPARCluster I so I'm sure it is public.
I'll take credit, it was my design and implementation.  It's not much but
I look at that file and kind glaze over, I'd have to go get a Postscript
cheat sheet to tell you how it works.

A rambling way of saying "go for it" :-)

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25  0:11                 ` Al Kossow
  2021-01-25  0:21                   ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-25 14:33                   ` Clem Cole
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Clem Cole @ 2021-01-25 14:33 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Al Kossow; +Cc: TUHS main list

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 403 bytes --]

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 7:11 PM Al Kossow <aek@bitsavers.org> wrote:

> And today it's impossible to find the original W code. At least I've not
> been able to find it in decades of looking.
>
> I don't beleive at the time SUN at Stanford was about Unix at all. It
> was very much Cheriton and the V Kernel.
>
> In that timeframe, wasn't CMU still into Spice and PERQs ?
>
Yes, to both.
ᐧ

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25  0:21                   ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-25 14:38                     ` Clem Cole
  2021-01-25 15:31                       ` Al Kossow
  2021-01-25 15:48                       ` Henry Bent
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Clem Cole @ 2021-01-25 14:38 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 7:21 PM Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:

> I think that X1 was W.  But I was doing other stuff at the time and don't
> know for sure.
>
Gettys or Keith might know = but I think that is close.  My memory was X1
was a port of W to the Vaxstation under Ultrix.  Like you I was not paying
a lot of attention.

Al - is W in with Cheriton's V kernel archives?
ᐧ

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 14:38                     ` Clem Cole
@ 2021-01-25 15:31                       ` Al Kossow
  2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-25 15:48                       ` Henry Bent
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Al Kossow @ 2021-01-25 15:31 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 1/25/21 6:38 AM, Clem Cole wrote:

> Gettys or Keith might know = but I think that is close.  My memory was X1 was a port of W to the Vaxstation under Ultrix.  Like you I was 
> not paying a lot of attention.
> 
> Al - is W in with Cheriton's V kernel archives?
> ᐧ

If it is the stuff I have up on bitsavers, no it isn't.

I wonder if Jim ever found a home for his archives. He talked
to me/CHM about it years ago.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 14:38                     ` Clem Cole
  2021-01-25 15:31                       ` Al Kossow
@ 2021-01-25 15:48                       ` Henry Bent
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Henry Bent @ 2021-01-25 15:48 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Clem Cole; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Mon, 25 Jan 2021 at 09:39, Clem Cole <clemc@ccc.com> wrote:

>
>
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 7:21 PM Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
>
>> I think that X1 was W.  But I was doing other stuff at the time and don't
>> know for sure.
>>
> Gettys or Keith might know = but I think that is close.  My memory was X1
> was a port of W to the Vaxstation under Ultrix.  Like you I was not paying
> a lot of attention.
>

The reference port for X10 was certainly a VAXstation (I/II/GPX).  I've
compiled and run X10 and X11R1 on SIMH's microVAX II emulation running
Ultrix 2.3; my recollection is that it all works right out of the box.
Wikipedia says "DEC, then preparing to release its first Ultrix
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrix> workstation, judged X the only
windowing system likely to become available in time. DEC engineers ported
X6 to DEC's QVSS display on MicroVAX
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroVAX>." To me that's unclear if there
already was an Ultrix / uVAX port of some other nature or if that was the
first iteration.

https://www.talisman.org/x-debut.shtml states that the original X was for
the VAXstation 100.  I have no idea what OS it would have been running; a
release date of 1983 for the VS100 would predate Ultrix 1.0.

-Henry

> ᐧ
>

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 15:31                       ` Al Kossow
@ 2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-25 16:04                           ` Larry McVoy
                                             ` (3 more replies)
  0 siblings, 4 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Richard Salz @ 2021-01-25 15:55 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

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A couple of updates.

At a Usenix (Portland?) dmr had a keynote and he interviewed himself.Q:
"What do you think of X?" A: "Sometimes when you fill a vacuum it still
sucks."  Maybe Rob said it earlier, but that was the first time I heard it
publically.

Osterhout's Tk was beyond amazing. I was at OSF and gave several demo's
(the "windowing ksh" was also available).  The idea that you could "send"
to another GUI program and add buttons, etc., instantaneously! John had
already implemented the Motif look and feel (from the spec), mostly, and
was willing to do anything if OSF would take it and call it Motif. The
Motif leads (I was in DCE) weren't interested, although maybe they'd put it
on the "extra's" tape at the end. This was circa 1992. I once told this
story to some Microsoft PM's, and they agreed it would have completely
killed Visual Basic.  Ah well.

Apollo's had two 68K processors, the second one watched for page faults and
patched things up since it wasn't until 68020 that the faulting stuff
worked properly. The Apollo source control team left after HP and formed
Clearcase.

DCE RPC was based on Apollo NCS which was a very elegant RPC system built
on UDP. It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" and datatypes
were tagged. I don't recall details of the tagging. Digital added TCP
transport. Microsoft took the DCE RPC spec (we had a name for them, I
forget what it was) and used it to implement DCOM's RPC.  There's an IETF
draft, https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-brown-dcom-v1-spec-01, but it
never progressed beyond that.

Hope this is interesting to some.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
@ 2021-01-25 16:04                           ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-25 22:25                           ` Rob Gingell
                                             ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-25 16:04 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Richard Salz; +Cc: TUHS main list

On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 10:55:34AM -0500, Richard Salz wrote:
> Osterhout's Tk was beyond amazing. 

Still is, really.  So far as I know, nobody has come up with anything better.

> It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" and datatypes
> were tagged. 

That's the first I've heard of that and I really like it.  Most of the
time, you are on a network of machines that are the same, so why have
a network byte order, reader makes it right will just work.  Neat.

--lm

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 16:04                           ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-25 16:49                               ` Richard Salz
                                                 ` (4 more replies)
  0 siblings, 5 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dan Cross @ 2021-01-25 16:37 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Larry McVoy; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 11:05 AM Larry McVoy <lm@mcvoy.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 10:55:34AM -0500, Richard Salz wrote:
> > Osterhout's Tk was beyond amazing.
>
> Still is, really.  So far as I know, nobody has come up with anything
> better.
>

I think one of the innovations that kept it alive was that people took Tk
itself and separated it from Tcl, so one saw bindings from any number of
languages.

The Inferno operating system that was essentially a commercialization of
plan9, implemented Tk with the Limbo programming language (which in many
ways is perhaps the most direct ancestor of Go). That was neat to play
with. Too bad it didn't have a lot of success.

> It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" and datatypes
> > were tagged.
>
> That's the first I've heard of that and I really like it.  Most of the
> time, you are on a network of machines that are the same, so why have
> a network byte order, reader makes it right will just work.  Neat.
>

I guess I don't quite understand that. I can get how it works for simple
data types (integers, floating point numbers, perhaps strings) but it seems
like it breaks down pretty quickly for anything with a more complex
representation (structures with multiple members, for instance; how does
one deal with padding, etc?). "Reader makes right" makes some sense for any
pair of sender/receiver architectures, but once you have more than a
handful of machine types with potentially different
ABIs/representations/alignment requirements, etc, then it seems like you're
an n^2 mutual ABI understanding issue. Perhaps I'm being naive in assuming
that multi-data structures are just written out in host format, but if you,
say, write element by element to avoid that, then it seems like you're
already nearly at an architecture independent data representation anyway,
so what does NOT having that buy you? I guess it's potentially faster if
you don't have to swab bytes between similar architectures?

        - Dan C.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
@ 2021-01-25 16:49                               ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-25 17:11                               ` Bakul Shah
                                                 ` (3 subsequent siblings)
  4 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Richard Salz @ 2021-01-25 16:49 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dan Cross; +Cc: TUHS main list

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> It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" and datatypes

> > were tagged.
>>
>> That's the first I've heard of that and I really like it.  Most of the
>> time, you are on a network of machines that are the same, so why have
>> a network byte order, reader makes it right will just work.  Neat.
>>
>
> I guess I don't quite understand that. I can get how it works for simple
> data types (integers, floating point numbers, perhaps strings) but it seems
> like it breaks
>

It was only for native types
https://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9629399/chap14.htm   The other things
-- struct, array, pointers, etc -- have rules.  See the link if you care
for nitty-gritty details.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-25 16:49                               ` Richard Salz
@ 2021-01-25 17:11                               ` Bakul Shah
  2021-01-25 17:25                               ` Larry McVoy
                                                 ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  4 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Bakul Shah @ 2021-01-25 17:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dan Cross; +Cc: TUHS main list

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see Ron Rivest’s s-expression serialization: 

http://people.csail.mit.edu/rivest/Sexp.txt

of course, now we have json....

> On Jan 25, 2021, at 8:38 AM, Dan Cross <crossd@gmail.com> wrote:
> I guess I don't quite understand that. I can get how it works for simple data types (integers, floating point numbers, perhaps strings) but it seems like it breaks down pretty quickly for anything with a more complex representation (structures with multiple members, for instance; how does one deal with padding, etc?). "Reader makes right" makes some sense for any pair of sender/receiver architectures, but once you have more than a handful of machine types with potentially different ABIs/representations/alignment requirements, etc, then it seems like you're an n^2 mutual ABI understanding issue. Perhaps I'm being naive in assuming that multi-data structures are just written out in host format, but if you, say, write element by element to avoid that, then it seems like you're already nearly at an architecture independent data representation anyway, so what does NOT having that buy you? I guess it's potentially faster if you don't have to swab bytes between similar architectures?

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
  2021-01-25 16:49                               ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-25 17:11                               ` Bakul Shah
@ 2021-01-25 17:25                               ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-29 20:24                                 ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-25 23:46                               ` John Gilmore
  2021-01-29 19:53                               ` Dave Horsfall
  4 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-25 17:25 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dan Cross; +Cc: TUHS main list

On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 11:37:25AM -0500, Dan Cross wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 11:05 AM Larry McVoy <lm@mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 10:55:34AM -0500, Richard Salz wrote:
> > > Osterhout's Tk was beyond amazing.
> >
> > Still is, really.  So far as I know, nobody has come up with anything
> > better.
> 
> The Inferno operating system that was essentially a commercialization of
> plan9, implemented Tk with the Limbo programming language (which in many
> ways is perhaps the most direct ancestor of Go). That was neat to play
> with. Too bad it didn't have a lot of success.

We did something similar, I hated Tcl so much I paid a friend to make
a compiler for a very C like language that compiled to Tcl byte codes.
It's really what I'd like to see C evolve to:

http://little-lang.org

> > It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" and datatypes
> > > were tagged.
> >
> > That's the first I've heard of that and I really like it.  Most of the
> > time, you are on a network of machines that are the same, so why have
> > a network byte order, reader makes it right will just work.  Neat.
> 
> I guess I don't quite understand that. I can get how it works for simple
> data types (integers, floating point numbers, perhaps strings) but it seems
> like it breaks down pretty quickly for anything with a more complex
> representation (structures with multiple members, for instance; how does
> one deal with padding, etc?). 

Yeah, good points and I suppose that is why Sun did network byte order.
It's still appealing to have reader make right if you can do it, though
with todays out of order CPUs providing a pretty high instructions
per cycle maybe it just doesn't matter.  There is a paper waiting to
be written.

--lm

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-25 16:04                           ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-25 22:25                           ` Rob Gingell
  2021-01-26  1:38                           ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-26  2:45                           ` John Cowan
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Rob Gingell @ 2021-01-25 22:25 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 1/25/2021 7:55 AM, Richard Salz wrote:
> ... It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" ...

Who made it wrong?

The issues addressed by a presentation layer are there whether you 
explicitly make one (XDR) or embed it as a conditional (itself an 
overhead.) But it's a tomayto tomahto thing in the end, just as it was 
30 years ago, the same only different -- and both distinctions opaque to 
who really mattered, the people spending money.

ONC and DCE RPC are both charmingly clear in comparison with the vogue 
of protobufs and grpc. They're also both pervasive today well beyond the 
platforms that birthed them.

A factor in the arc of NeWS' trajectory not thus far mentioned was its 
acceptance by ISVs, though Clem's comment applies:

On Mon Jan 25 03:04:09 AEST 2021, Clem Cole wrote:
 > As I have said in other replies: "simple economics always beats
 > sophisticated architecture."

In these forums there is a lot of discussions about the technical merits 
of this or that technology. It's perhaps unsatisfying to those of us 
invested in those technologies but often those merits (or their lack) 
don't determine what thrives and what doesn't.

I was a distant observer of, and occasional experimenter with, NeWS as a 
technology. My recollections are of impressive capability and 
performance (for the time) and elegance. (But then, my TECO skills were 
still pretty high at the time so PostScript wasn't confronting in 
comparison -- I'm sure I'd think differently coming at it cold now.)

But I was a much closer observer/participant with ISVs. The measure 
which most highly correlated with Sun's ascent and success was the "thud 
factor" of its applications catalog. When it was actually a printed 
thing, at its height the Catalyst catalog had the throw weight of a 
large metropolitan area phone book (hopefully not too dated an analogy.)

Few of Sun's customers bought Sun to have Sun, they were bought to run 
applications that happened to run on Sun. We sold more Suns if we had 
more ISVs on board. If you sold more you got more ISVs. And so it goes 
-- the applications "virtuous cycle". When the feedback loop is 
positive, it turns "selling" into "order taking" which is a pretty clear 
indicator of marketing dollars having been well-spent.

In this relationship there is a tension between platform differentiation 
attempts and keeping the flywheel effect of the virtuous cycle going. An 
ISV is going to look at platform differentiation as either lubrication 
or friction. They're going to resist friction and pursue lubrication. In 
the end, NeWS caused too much friction. (A corollary is that an ISV 
initially views any differentiation as friction, you need to prove it 
can be lubrication, and the ISV's importance to the market determines 
how much energy you put into that.)

There was attraction to NeWS because it was provocatively capable. A 
number of ISVs, important ones, chose to adopt. But each release of 
NeWS, while objectively better, was also sufficiently different that 
what initially appeared to be an attractor was unsustainable for the 
ISVs to keep up with, even in service of Sun as the then market leader. 
Sun's volumes would allow us to get away with imposing a certain amount 
of friction of variation with ISVs but there were always limits to it -- 
the ISVs are trying to run their own businesses with their own 
differentiations and agendas to pursue.

For the ISVs, variations of any sort were not a one-time cost. They 
repeated as qualification events when new software versions or new 
systems were introduced. Just staying still on a platform and with a 
vendor costs them. Making them re-do any portion of the initial effort 
as well is a significant disincentive. You may not be able to introduce 
your new product if they don't come along, they may not come along until 
they're sure your new product will sell enough to make it worthwhile. So 
successfully lubricating those costs as much as possible was for a lot 
of us a primary reason for the Sun's growth. Differentiation "behind 
interfaces" as we did in the operating system space helped lower that 
cost. Binary compatibility was super important. Gratuitous improvements 
that lacked opacity were avoided and we often made vanilla choices. Not 
perfect certainly, but good enough.

NeWS stood out for not doing that, and that fact I think had far more to 
do with its status today than whether or not the source was available. 
Arguably NeWS never got far enough to have the availability conversation 
but now I'm back to being too distant from it to really know.

The tensions being maintained in these market dynamics have multiple 
factors. It's tempting but hard to pick the one true reason for any 
outcome. But the virtuous cycle explains a lot of phenomena. It 
certainly doesn't hurt to be excellent in what you do, but sadly, it's 
not as determinative as we as practitioners might wish it to be. There's 
a reason we can all find examples of technologically superior failures.

That said, I do think the NeWS experience was at least part of what 
later informed Java's compatibility especially at the binary level, the 
separation of the JVM from the language(s) hosted on it. Not the "one 
true reason", but among the mix of considerations.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
                                                 ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-01-25 17:25                               ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-25 23:46                               ` John Gilmore
  2021-01-29 19:53                               ` Dave Horsfall
  4 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: John Gilmore @ 2021-01-25 23:46 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dan Cross; +Cc: TUHS main list

Dan Cross <crossd@gmail.com> wrote:
> I guess it's potentially faster if you don't have to swab
> bytes between similar architectures?

The "potential" speedup is completely superficial, and the N^2
complexities make the code hard to test and hard to maintain.  It's
better to do something simple and correct, and then you can leave it
untouched for a decade.

I implemented the byte-order handling code in the GNU BFD library back
in the early '90s.  We picked up every integer as a series of unsigned
byte accesses and shifted them and added them, even when the byte order
of the data matched the byte order of the machine.  Some machines can do
unaligned 4- or 8-byte fetches and some can't.  The people who design
object file formats (or packet formats) don't always align things on the
boundaries that your hardware prefers.  We wrote simple, easy to test
code that would and did run on ANY machine.  We did the same for stores
as well as loads.

Every data structure had two representations: The external one, defined
by a struct full of unsigned char arrays; and the internal one, in
native data formats.  For each data format, we wrote a trivial routine
to convert the external format to the internal; and its inverse.  These
called a series of the lower level pick-up-bytes-in-particular-order
routines, one call per struct member.  None of this was even inlined at
the time.

I never measured the overhead of these get- or put- routines as being
above 1% or 2% in the execution of the whole program (e.g. the GNU
linker).

We had enough complexity to deal with already, because every vendor made
their own slightly different version of COFF or ELF or a.out object file
formats.  Some of these were in different byte orders.  Some truly
insane vendors had the object file HEADERS in one byte order and the
actual binaries in a different byte order!  We made a library that could
read and write them all -- and manage their symbol tables -- and even
link them together from a variety of formats and write the resulting
binary in a different format.  This was all part of making the GNU
compilers into cross-compilers, in which your "host" byte order and
object file format are completely orthogonal to your "target" byte order
and object file format.  We then built test suites that built the same
test code on a dozen host systems and made sure that all the resulting
binaries for target system "X" were bit-for-bit identical.  Building in
those capabilities, and that level of reliability, was much more
important than any 2% speedup.

Premature optimization is the root of much evil.

	John
	

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-25 16:04                           ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-25 22:25                           ` Rob Gingell
@ 2021-01-26  1:38                           ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-27  3:11                             ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-26  2:45                           ` John Cowan
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-26  1:38 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

Richard Salz writes:
>
> A couple of updates.
>
> At a Usenix (Portland?) dmr had a keynote and he interviewed himself.Q:
> "What do you think of X?" A: "Sometimes when you fill a vacuum it still
> sucks."  Maybe Rob said it earlier, but that was the first time I heard it
> publically.

Just in case someone has been living under a rock and hasn't heard this one...

We're lucky that Don Knuth had nothing to do with X?

Why?

He would have called it ecccchhhhh.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
                                             ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-01-26  1:38                           ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-26  2:45                           ` John Cowan
  2021-01-27 19:34                             ` Nemo Nusquam
  2021-01-29 22:02                             ` Dave Horsfall
  3 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: John Cowan @ 2021-01-26  2:45 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Richard Salz; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 10:56 AM Richard Salz <rich.salz@gmail.com> wrote:


> DCE RPC was based on Apollo NCS which was a very elegant RPC system built
> on UDP. It had no XDR because it was "reader makes it right" and datatypes
> were tagged.
>

I've been messing around with X.680, aka ASN/1.  Its reputation for
horrible evilness, I find, primarily comes from the Packed Encoding Rules
and the interface with statically typed languages, both of which require
dealing with the schema language programmatically.  But if you want to
drive it from a dynamically typed language, it's dirt simple: to write, see
what data type you have, output a type and length and value (or type and
value and terminator), and there you are.

I've got a little back burner project called Twinjo that provides two
equivalent serialization formats: X.680 and an extensible S-expression
format.  If anyone's interested, you can read about it at <
https://github.com/johnwcowan/r7rs-work/edit/master/Twinjo.md>.



John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan@ccil.org
He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars;
General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer:
For Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.
  --William Blake, il miglior fabbro

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-26  1:38                           ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-27  3:11                             ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-27  3:54                               ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-27 15:47                               ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2021-01-27  3:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Mon, 25 Jan 2021, Jon Steinhart wrote:

> We're lucky that Don Knuth had nothing to do with X?
>
> Why?
>
> He would have called it ecccchhhhh.

An oldie but a goodie :-)

Heh; at one job I was asked whether I knew X; I answered that I could 
spell it...  $PHB not impressed, but I quickly learned it.

Ugh!  I've seen some ugly windowing systems in my time, but X...  Heck, 
even CP/M had a better system, IIRC.  Talk about heavyweight; how many 
lines of code were required to write "Hello, world"?

That, BTW, is my benchmark for usability etc.  And yes, I've seen all the 
jokes; my favourite is manager to worker bee: "I need a program to print 
'Hello World' by this afternoon".

-- Dave, who might even tell the OS/360 "EI" story from an old boss

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  3:11                             ` Dave Horsfall
@ 2021-01-27  3:54                               ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-27  5:15                                 ` George Michaelson
  2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-27 15:47                               ` Larry McVoy
  1 sibling, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-27  3:54 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

Dave Horsfall writes:
>
> Ugh!  I've seen some ugly windowing systems in my time, but X...  Heck, 
> even CP/M had a better system, IIRC.  Talk about heavyweight; how many 
> lines of code were required to write "Hello, world"?

Well, as I've said before, I think that it's our job as geezers in the
field to help younger folks learn to design and build things in a better
way.  Hard to figure out how to do this effectively given the huge push
to turn out lots of low-quality coders so that they don't have to be paid
much above minimum wage.

Found a listing on actual prehistoric line printer paper that seems to
indicate that my copy of the NeWS source, if readable, dates back to 1985.
Don't know what the provenance of this code is; it's not something that I
had around from doing some work on X/NeWS so I'm not sure why I have it.

One of the things that I'll hopefully find during basement archeology is
a paper by Gosling about a tool that we wrote to go along with NeWS.  Don't
remember what it was called, but it was a preprocessor that allowed one to
specify things about the (graphics) hardware, and would, for example,
automatically unroll certain loops where there would be a benefit.  This
allowed different hardware to be driven efficently from a single hunk of
source code without #ifdefs all over the place.

Also, I do have a couple of notebooks of stuff from V and W that I can scan
in if it's not available elsewhere.  Oh, wow, and an original IRIS-4D paper
from Silicon Graphics, and the programming manual for Imagen laser printers.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  3:54                               ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-27  5:15                                 ` George Michaelson
  2021-01-27  5:52                                   ` George Michaelson
  2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: George Michaelson @ 2021-01-27  5:15 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

From the side, I remember when X10R4 hit the Decstations we had at
UCL, and how deeply confusing it was having "server" and "client"
inverted for what we all thought we were doing, using the local
workstation as a client to connect to a more distant (across the
machineroom) server like a Pyramid or a bigger Vax.

One of those "ok I see why you did that, but Maaaaan this is inverted
to what I expected" moments.

We'd been coding in SunView quite happily. SunView might have been
proprietary, but we knew what we were doing. Kinda.

NeWS, had this wonderful quality of being code, expressed inside other
code. So, if the two code(s) had been syntactically the same, I
suspect the confusion would have been even worserer. But, as it was
you were reading C, and suddenly, wrapped in what I will morally call
printf() you have "machine(stack) reverse polish notation here because
reasons pop pop pop") sentences. It was .. confusing.

It is not unlike being totally glued to N/Roff, introduced to T/Roff,
then introduced to family (a) of macros, then learn to cope with
family (b), and then have EQN and TBL thrown at you.. meantime..
somebody else passes you {relax} a {relax} TeX book {relax}

I couldn't {relax}

-G

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  3:54                               ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-27  5:15                                 ` George Michaelson
@ 2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-27  6:19                                   ` Henry Bent
                                                     ` (3 more replies)
  1 sibling, 4 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Grant Taylor via TUHS @ 2021-01-27  5:48 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 322 bytes --]

On 1/26/21 8:54 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> stuff from V and W

Um ... I'm showing my (lack of) age and my ignorance here.

I assume that W is the window system that preceded X.

But "V"?  I've never heard of that.

Would someone please educate and enlighten this youngin?



-- 
Grant. . . .
unix || die


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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  5:15                                 ` George Michaelson
@ 2021-01-27  5:52                                   ` George Michaelson
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: George Michaelson @ 2021-01-27  5:52 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

Also to this, I think much was lost, when the Andrews X system lost
impetus. The filesystem lived on (they always do) but somehow, people
lost interest in WYSIWYG built around the X fonts, and Troff. I rather
liked it, used it heavily. I produced the university Phonebook for a
while in it, and adjunct scripts. (EQN for some things)

There was a rather nice animation tool, somebody obviously either was,
or was dating a ballet major at the uni, and decided to code something
pretty: the worked example was very dance-oriented.

(I know this is a layer "up" from X itself, but it goes to what might
have been, if the critical mass had been there)

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
@ 2021-01-27  6:19                                   ` Henry Bent
  2021-01-27  7:28                                   ` Jon Steinhart
                                                     ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Henry Bent @ 2021-01-27  6:19 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Grant Taylor; +Cc: TUHS main list

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 434 bytes --]

On Wed, 27 Jan 2021 at 00:49, Grant Taylor via TUHS <tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org>
wrote:

> On 1/26/21 8:54 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > stuff from V and W
>
> Um ... I'm showing my (lack of) age and my ignorance here.
>
> I assume that W is the window system that preceded X.
>
> But "V"?  I've never heard of that.
>
> Would someone please educate and enlighten this youngin?
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_(operating_system)

-Henry

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-27  6:19                                   ` Henry Bent
@ 2021-01-27  7:28                                   ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-01-27 10:02                                   ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-27 18:32                                   ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-01-27  7:28 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Grant Taylor via TUHS writes:
>
> On 1/26/21 8:54 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > stuff from V and W
>
> Um ... I'm showing my (lack of) age and my ignorance here.
>
> I assume that W is the window system that preceded X.
>
> But "V"?  I've never heard of that.
>
> Would someone please educate and enlighten this youngin?

V is an operating system written at Stanford for the original
Stanford University Network Board.  It featured very fast
synchronous IPC.  W is the window system that ran on V.  It
was porting to UNIX and renamed X, but performed terribly
because of the lack of fast synchronous IPC.  That got somewhat
changed in X11 which was done to try to outcompete NeWS.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-27  6:19                                   ` Henry Bent
  2021-01-27  7:28                                   ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-27 10:02                                   ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-27 18:32                                   ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2021-01-27 10:02 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Tue, 26 Jan 2021, Grant Taylor via TUHS wrote:

> Um ... I'm showing my (lack of) age and my ignorance here.
>
> I assume that W is the window system that preceded X.
>
> But "V"?  I've never heard of that.

W, X, Y, Z ("Zee" for Yanks :-)

-- Dave

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  3:11                             ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-27  3:54                               ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-01-27 15:47                               ` Larry McVoy
  2021-01-27 16:40                                 ` Stephen Clark
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-27 15:47 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dave Horsfall; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 02:11:26PM +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> Ugh!  I've seen some ugly windowing systems in my time, but X...  Heck, even
> CP/M had a better system, IIRC.  

CP/M didn't have a window system, at least mine didn't.  Hard to do that
in 64K (I had 128K banked with the crt mapped into the 2nd bank).

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27 15:47                               ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-27 16:40                                 ` Stephen Clark
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Stephen Clark @ 2021-01-27 16:40 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Larry McVoy, Dave Horsfall; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On 1/27/21 10:47 AM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 02:11:26PM +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
>> Ugh!  I've seen some ugly windowing systems in my time, but X...  Heck, even
>> CP/M had a better system, IIRC.
> CP/M didn't have a window system, at least mine didn't.  Hard to do that
> in 64K (I had 128K banked with the crt mapped into the 2nd bank).
Neither did mine I had an original Altair 8800 I had built and started with CP/M 
2.2 then upgraded to 3.0 and wrote my
own bios and flashed into a prom board I had built from kit. Computers were sure 
a lot simpler in those days.


-- 

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety."  (Ben Franklin)

"The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty
decreases."  (Thomas Jefferson)

"Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy!" (Ben Franklin)


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
                                                     ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-01-27 10:02                                   ` Dave Horsfall
@ 2021-01-27 18:32                                   ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  2021-01-27 19:26                                     ` Nemo Nusquam
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Grant Taylor via TUHS @ 2021-01-27 18:32 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

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On 1/26/21 10:48 PM, Grant Taylor via TUHS wrote:
> Would someone please educate and enlighten this youngin?

Thank you Henry, Dave, and Jon for enlightening me.

Now I have yet another thing to learn about.



-- 
Grant. . . .
unix || die


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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-27 18:32                                   ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
@ 2021-01-27 19:26                                     ` Nemo Nusquam
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Nemo Nusquam @ 2021-01-27 19:26 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 01/27/21 13:32, Grant Taylor via TUHS wrote:
> On 1/26/21 10:48 PM, Grant Taylor via TUHS wrote:
>> Would someone please educate and enlighten this youngin?
>
> Thank you Henry, Dave, and Jon for enlightening me.
>
> Now I have yet another thing to learn about.

Borenstein wrote a book ("Programming as if people mattered: Friendly 
Programs, Software Engineering, and Other Noble Delusions") in which he 
mused about W and X and Andrew.  (A very nice read but horribly 
expensive -- fortunately I bought it when PUP had reasonably priced 
paperbacks.)

N.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-26  2:45                           ` John Cowan
@ 2021-01-27 19:34                             ` Nemo Nusquam
  2021-01-29 22:02                             ` Dave Horsfall
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Nemo Nusquam @ 2021-01-27 19:34 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

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On 01/25/21 21:45, John Conan wrote (in part):
> I've been messing around with X.680, aka ASN/1.  Its reputation for 
> horrible evilness, I find, primarily comes from the Packed Encoding 
> Rules and the interface with statically typed languages, both of which 
> require dealing with the schema language programmatically.

I would beg to differ.  Have you ever seen the ASN.1 in the various 
crypto standards?  (This mess is independent of PER.)

N.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
                                                 ` (3 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-01-25 23:46                               ` John Gilmore
@ 2021-01-29 19:53                               ` Dave Horsfall
  4 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2021-01-29 19:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Mon, 25 Jan 2021, Dan Cross wrote:

> I think one of the innovations that kept it alive was that people took Tk
> itself and separated it from Tcl, so one saw bindings from any number of
> languages.

Tcl is a perfect example of how *not* to design a language; Tk is wonderful
(and I'm starting to use Perl/Tk; it's a great combinaion for GUI tools).

-- Dave

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-25 17:25                               ` Larry McVoy
@ 2021-01-29 20:24                                 ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-29 20:31                                   ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2021-01-29 20:24 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Mon, 25 Jan 2021, Larry McVoy wrote:

> We did something similar, I hated Tcl so much I paid a friend to make a 
> compiler for a very C like language that compiled to Tcl byte codes. 
> It's really what I'd like to see C evolve to:
>
> http://little-lang.org

Wow - another language for my collection :-)  Looks neat.

-- Dave

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-29 20:24                                 ` Dave Horsfall
@ 2021-01-29 20:31                                   ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2021-01-29 20:31 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dave Horsfall; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Sat, Jan 30, 2021 at 07:24:53AM +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> On Mon, 25 Jan 2021, Larry McVoy wrote:
> 
> >We did something similar, I hated Tcl so much I paid a friend to make a
> >compiler for a very C like language that compiled to Tcl byte codes. It's
> >really what I'd like to see C evolve to:
> >
> >http://little-lang.org
> 
> Wow - another language for my collection :-)  Looks neat.

It is if you like C syntax and you like perl usefulness.  It's sort of a
blend of those.  Has some short comings but I like it.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-26  2:45                           ` John Cowan
  2021-01-27 19:34                             ` Nemo Nusquam
@ 2021-01-29 22:02                             ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-30  1:50                               ` Nemo Nusquam
  2021-01-30  3:51                               ` Richard Salz
  1 sibling, 2 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2021-01-29 22:02 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

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On Mon, 25 Jan 2021, John Cowan wrote:

> I've been messing around with X.680, aka ASN/1.  Its reputation for 
> horrible evilness, I find, primarily comes from the Packed Encoding 
> Rules and the interface with statically typed languages, both of which 
> require dealing with the schema language programmatically.  But if you 
> want to drive it from a dynamically typed language, it's dirt simple: to 
> write, see what data type you have, output a type and length and value 
> (or type and value and terminator), and there you are.

I was never quite sure what to make of ASN.1 and BER; it seemed to solve 
the problem of OpenLDAP applications talking to each other (and I got 
quite good at reading wire traces), but it somehow seemed wrong when every 
box was running FreeBSD on Intel/AMD.

-- Dave

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-29 22:02                             ` Dave Horsfall
@ 2021-01-30  1:50                               ` Nemo Nusquam
  2021-01-31  2:42                                 ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-30  3:51                               ` Richard Salz
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Nemo Nusquam @ 2021-01-30  1:50 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

On 29/01/2021 17:02, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> On Mon, 25 Jan 2021, John Cowan wrote:
>
>> I've been messing around with X.680, aka ASN/1.  Its reputation for 
>> horrible evilness, I find, primarily comes from the Packed Encoding 
>> Rules and the interface with statically typed languages, both of 
>> which require dealing with the schema language programmatically.  But 
>> if you want to drive it from a dynamically typed language, it's dirt 
>> simple: to write, see what data type you have, output a type and 
>> length and value (or type and value and terminator), and there you are.
>
> I was never quite sure what to make of ASN.1 and BER; it seemed to 
> solve the problem of OpenLDAP applications talking to each other (and 
> I got quite good at reading wire traces), but it somehow seemed wrong 
> when every box was running FreeBSD on Intel/AMD.
>
> -- Dave
BER does not work for digital signatures (because encodings are not 
unique), hence DER.

N.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-29 22:02                             ` Dave Horsfall
  2021-01-30  1:50                               ` Nemo Nusquam
@ 2021-01-30  3:51                               ` Richard Salz
  2021-01-30 23:20                                 ` John Cowan
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Richard Salz @ 2021-01-30  3:51 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dave Horsfall; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

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PER is not the reason for the hatred of ASN.1, it's more that the specs
were created by a pay-to-play organization that fought against TCP/IP, the
specs were not freely available for long years, BER was too flexible, and
the DER rules were almost too hard to get right.  Just a terse summary
because this is probably off-topic for TUHS.

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-30  3:51                               ` Richard Salz
@ 2021-01-30 23:20                                 ` John Cowan
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: John Cowan @ 2021-01-30 23:20 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Richard Salz; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

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Those were just examples.  The hard part is parsing schemas, especially if
you're writing in C and don't know about yacc and lex.  That code tends to
be horribly buggy.

But unless you need to support PER (which outright requires the schema) or
unless you are trying to map ASN.1 compound objects to C structs or the
equivalent, you can just process the whole thing in the same way you would
JSON, except that it's binary and there are more types.  Easy-peasy,
especially in a dynamically typed language.

Once there was a person on the xml-dev mailing list who kept repeating
himself, insisting on the superiority of ASN.1 to XML.  Finally I told him
privately that his emails could be encoded in PER by using 0x01 to
represent him (as the value of the author field) and allowing the
recipients to reconstruct the message from that!  He took it in good part.



John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan@ccil.org
Don't be so humble.  You're not that great.
        --Golda Meir


On Fri, Jan 29, 2021 at 10:52 PM Richard Salz <rich.salz@gmail.com> wrote:

> PER is not the reason for the hatred of ASN.1, it's more that the specs
> were created by a pay-to-play organization that fought against TCP/IP, the
> specs were not freely available for long years, BER was too flexible, and
> the DER rules were almost too hard to get right.  Just a terse summary
> because this is probably off-topic for TUHS.
>

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-30  1:50                               ` Nemo Nusquam
@ 2021-01-31  2:42                                 ` Dave Horsfall
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2021-01-31  2:42 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Fri, 29 Jan 2021, Nemo Nusquam wrote:

>> I was never quite sure what to make of ASN.1 and BER; it seemed to 
>> solve the problem of OpenLDAP applications talking to each other (and I 
>> got quite good at reading wire traces), but it somehow seemed wrong 
>> when every box was running FreeBSD on Intel/AMD.
> 
> BER does not work for digital signatures (because encodings are not 
> unique), hence DER.

Oops, my fault; I read DER as BER.

-- Dave, needing new glasses

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
                         ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-01-24 21:53       ` Lars Brinkhoff
@ 2021-02-14  2:04       ` Greg A. Woods
  2021-02-14  2:49         ` Jon Steinhart
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Greg A. Woods @ 2021-02-14  2:04 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

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At Sun, 24 Jan 2021 12:45:13 -0800, Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
Subject: Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
>
> To the best of my knowledge, NeWS was the first window system to provide
> device-independent graphics.  You could just do things without having
> to mess around with counting pixels and figuring out what sort of color
> system was behind things.

I'm not so sure about that.

There was Project JADE from University of Calgary:

	http://hdl.handle.net/1880/46070

I rarely see it mentioned, yet it was in my experience quite far ahead
of its time in all aspects of distributed computing, complete with a
nice GUI able to run on generic bit-mapped display workstations and
using Unix servers.  The lack of knowledge about it dismays me somewhat
because I knew the guys who created it -- they were grad students at the
time I was an undergrad at UofC.

Now interestingly enough James Gosling would likely have known all about
this, since he kept ties with UofC for quite some time, and in the same
timeframe.  I remember sitting beside him in a terminal room at UofC
near xmas time in about 1980 or 1981 while he upgraded the version of
Gosmacs we used on the main undergrad 11/780.  That was about the time
that Project JADE was beginning too.

I don't know too much about the history of NeWS, except I didn't see
even a hint of it until long after JADE was already long in the tooth.

--
					Greg A. Woods <gwoods@acm.org>

Kelowna, BC     +1 250 762-7675           RoboHack <woods@robohack.ca>
Planix, Inc. <woods@planix.com>     Avoncote Farms <woods@avoncote.ca>

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-02-14  2:04       ` Greg A. Woods
@ 2021-02-14  2:49         ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-02-14  4:53           ` Rich Morin
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 71+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-02-14  2:49 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

Greg A. Woods writes:
>
> At Sun, 24 Jan 2021 12:45:13 -0800, Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
> >
> > To the best of my knowledge, NeWS was the first window system to provide
> > device-independent graphics.  You could just do things without having
> > to mess around with counting pixels and figuring out what sort of color
> > system was behind things.
>
> I'm not so sure about that.
>
> There was Project JADE from University of Calgary:
>
> 	http://hdl.handle.net/1880/46070
>
> I rarely see it mentioned, yet it was in my experience quite far ahead
> of its time in all aspects of distributed computing, complete with a
> nice GUI able to run on generic bit-mapped display workstations and
> using Unix servers.  The lack of knowledge about it dismays me somewhat
> because I knew the guys who created it -- they were grad students at the
> time I was an undergrad at UofC.
>
> Now interestingly enough James Gosling would likely have known all about
> this, since he kept ties with UofC for quite some time, and in the same
> timeframe.  I remember sitting beside him in a terminal room at UofC
> near xmas time in about 1980 or 1981 while he upgraded the version of
> Gosmacs we used on the main undergrad 11/780.  That was about the time
> that Project JADE was beginning too.
>
> I don't know too much about the history of NeWS, except I didn't see
> even a hint of it until long after JADE was already long in the tooth.

Thanks, I had forgotten about that.

The question of device independent graphics is a hard one.  Device
independent graphics had been around for a long time in terms of
various display list processors that got mangled into things like
CORE, GKS, and PHIGS.  But just because, for example, Sun provided
a GKS package on top of SunView didn't make SunView device independent.
You're probably correct that NeWS was not the first window system to
support device independent graphics.  I do believe that it was the
first one to be "ubiquitous" in that the window system itself used
the same graphics as was available to the user.

Doesn't that document just scream "troff" at you?

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
  2021-02-14  2:49         ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-02-14  4:53           ` Rich Morin
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Rich Morin @ 2021-02-14  4:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Unix Heritage Society mailing list; +Cc: Vicki Brown

small, possibly relevant anecdote...

> On Feb 13, 2021, at 18:49, Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
> 
> Greg A. Woods writes:
>> 
>> At Sun, 24 Jan 2021 12:45:13 -0800, Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>> To the best of my knowledge, NeWS was the first window system to provide
>>> device-independent graphics.  You could just do things without having
>>> to mess around with counting pixels and figuring out what sort of color
>>> system was behind things.
>> 
> ...
> The question of device independent graphics is a hard one.  Device
> independent graphics had been around for a long time in terms of
> various display list processors that got mangled into things like
> CORE, GKS, and PHIGS.  But just because, for example, Sun provided
> a GKS package on top of SunView didn't make SunView device independent.

Dunno if anyone will find this interesting, but I hacked up a text-based
front end for SunCORE, back in 1983 or so.  IIRC, it was called iC, for
interpreted Core.  It read a line-oriented stream of ASCII commands and
argument lists.  After parsing these lines, it used the SunCORE library
to render the result.  I also wrote a utility to grab screen images and
dump them to a dot matrix printer.

The only "production" user for these hacks was my spouse, Vicki Brown.
She used them to generate graphics (e.g., dendograms) for her Master's
thesis (M.S. Microbiology, University of Maryland).  The source data
for the graphics was line printer plot output from a pair of UMD (IBM
and Univac) mainframes.

The text of the thesis was formatted using nroff and ms macros, then
printed on a Datel 30 (IBM I/O Selectric clone), using still more hacky
software.  I had to translate the ASCII to BCDIC, add shift and timing
characters, etc.  (But it all worked and got her thesis printed... :-)

Because the mainframe analysis programs used very different data formats,
Vicki created a third format for text entry, preafrooding, etc.  She
then transcoded the data using sed(1) and pushed it (at 300 BAUD) to UMD.
She then captured and downloaded the line printer files, transcoded back
to ASCII, and used awk(1) to boil down the line printer plots (which ran
on for MANY sheets of paper) so they would fit on single letter-size
pages.

Dr. Rita R. Colwell (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_R._Colwell) was
her thesis advisor.  After accepting the thesis, she asked Vicki to
translate the AWK scripts into Fortran, so her team could render the
plots on a Calcomp plotter.  The translated code, predictably, was a great
deal larger (and took longer to run :-) than the AWK version.

-r

P.S.  Vicki and I learned awk(1) and sed(2) with the kind help of Jim
Joyce, who got me interested in Unix all those years ago...

P.P.S. Vicki has since moved through Perl to Python and such and would be
happy to find remote work as a data massager.  Please respond off-list...




^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
@ 2021-01-28  9:24 Noel Chiappa
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Noel Chiappa @ 2021-01-28  9:24 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs; +Cc: jnc

    > From: Norman Wilson

    > You get a good deal and support a worthwhile small business (not just
    > ABE but the individual selling shop) at the same time.

ABE isn't a small business (any more); Amazon bought them a couple of years
ago. Biblio (https://www.biblio.com/) is the same basic thing ("more than 6500
independent book stores"), but independent. There's also Alibris
(https://www.alibris.com/), but I like Biblio's site better; YMMV.

	 Noel

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?
@ 2021-01-28  2:48 Norman Wilson
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 71+ messages in thread
From: Norman Wilson @ 2021-01-28  2:48 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Nemo Nusquam:

  Borenstein wrote a book ("Programming as if people mattered: Friendly 
  Programs, Software Engineering, and Other Noble Delusions") in which he 
  mused about W and X and Andrew.  (A very nice read but horribly 
  expensive -- fortunately I bought it when PUP had reasonably priced 
  paperbacks.)

======

abebooks.com is your friend here.  I just bought a used paperback copy
for about USD 15 including shipping to Canada.  There are others of
similar price.  Shipping to the US is probably a little cheaper.
There's at least one copy available from a seller in the UK as
well (and doubtless some from other countries if you dig further
in the listings).

For those who don't know, ABE is a central place for independent
booksellers, including used-book shops, to sell online.  You get
a good deal and support a worthwhile small business (not just ABE
but the individual selling shop) at the same time.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 71+ messages in thread

end of thread, other threads:[~2021-02-14  4:54 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 71+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2021-01-24 16:14 [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? ron minnich
2021-01-24 16:24 ` Michael Kjörling
2021-01-24 17:04 ` Clem Cole
2021-01-24 18:36   ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-24 20:39     ` Ronald Natalie
2021-01-24 20:54       ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-24 21:01         ` Ronald Natalie
2021-01-24 23:38         ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2021-01-25  0:18           ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-25  0:36             ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2021-01-25  0:41               ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-24 20:45     ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-24 21:11       ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-24 21:14         ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-24 21:22           ` [TUHS] Apollo (was NeWS) Ronald Natalie
2021-01-24 21:25           ` [TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS? Larry McVoy
2021-01-24 22:53             ` Dan Cross
2021-01-24 23:33               ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-25  0:11                 ` Al Kossow
2021-01-25  0:21                   ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-25 14:38                     ` Clem Cole
2021-01-25 15:31                       ` Al Kossow
2021-01-25 15:55                         ` Richard Salz
2021-01-25 16:04                           ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-25 16:37                             ` Dan Cross
2021-01-25 16:49                               ` Richard Salz
2021-01-25 17:11                               ` Bakul Shah
2021-01-25 17:25                               ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-29 20:24                                 ` Dave Horsfall
2021-01-29 20:31                                   ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-25 23:46                               ` John Gilmore
2021-01-29 19:53                               ` Dave Horsfall
2021-01-25 22:25                           ` Rob Gingell
2021-01-26  1:38                           ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-27  3:11                             ` Dave Horsfall
2021-01-27  3:54                               ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-27  5:15                                 ` George Michaelson
2021-01-27  5:52                                   ` George Michaelson
2021-01-27  5:48                                 ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2021-01-27  6:19                                   ` Henry Bent
2021-01-27  7:28                                   ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-27 10:02                                   ` Dave Horsfall
2021-01-27 18:32                                   ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2021-01-27 19:26                                     ` Nemo Nusquam
2021-01-27 15:47                               ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-27 16:40                                 ` Stephen Clark
2021-01-26  2:45                           ` John Cowan
2021-01-27 19:34                             ` Nemo Nusquam
2021-01-29 22:02                             ` Dave Horsfall
2021-01-30  1:50                               ` Nemo Nusquam
2021-01-31  2:42                                 ` Dave Horsfall
2021-01-30  3:51                               ` Richard Salz
2021-01-30 23:20                                 ` John Cowan
2021-01-25 15:48                       ` Henry Bent
2021-01-25 14:33                   ` Clem Cole
2021-01-24 23:50             ` Ed Carp
2021-01-24 21:29       ` Al Kossow
2021-01-24 21:53       ` Lars Brinkhoff
2021-02-14  2:04       ` Greg A. Woods
2021-02-14  2:49         ` Jon Steinhart
2021-02-14  4:53           ` Rich Morin
2021-01-24 18:41   ` Toby Thain
2021-01-24 18:24 ` Dan Cross
2021-01-24 18:42   ` arnold
2021-01-24 19:11     ` Larry McVoy
2021-01-24 21:07 ` Rich Morin
2021-01-24 21:10   ` Ronald Natalie
2021-01-24 22:30     ` Rich Morin
2021-01-24 21:16   ` Jon Steinhart
2021-01-28  2:48 Norman Wilson
2021-01-28  9:24 Noel Chiappa

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