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From: Clem Cole <>
To: "Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM)" <>
Subject: [TUHS] Re: The USL Toolchest from the 80s and 90s
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2022 13:59:50 -0400	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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On Thu, Sep 15, 2022 at 1:09 PM Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM) <> wrote:

> I forget the exact registration steps, now.  But for delivery you
> set up a UUCP login for the toolchest site on your host, then they
> would call you and transfer the files over.  And bill you some
> outrageous amount of money for the "long distance" charges they
> incurred.  It was quite the scam.  If we had polled them instead
> the LD costs would have been about 30% less.
IIRC there were a bunch of other charges too.   It was not well thought out
and was all part of what ultimately killed the core AT&T IP against the
FOSS world.  The harder the AT&T folks tried to force their way as the
'standard' the more allusive it became.  The problem was that their
monetization model for SW was broken (although to be fair this was true for
a number of folks also).  It  was fine for some very specific things - like
CAD/CAM where the higher effectiveness of an engineer / better accuracy
etc.. could be measured.   But the 'value' of H-D-B UUCP or KSH88 could
never be directly calculated.   So charging thousands of dollars just made
little sense.  Hey even if they had put a single 'Toolchest' source tape
for say $5K they >>might<< have been able to sell it.   But trying to do it
piece meal and each program was hundreds to as I recall H-D-B and KS88 were
close to 1K.

So with the PC business where SW was priced 'high enough' so that people
did not want to steal it, but you got the volume up, you could be successful
  -  $29.99 for Turbo Pascal is probably the best example I can think.

As I have reported a couple of times.   When what would end up becoming the
Sys III license was being negotiated ~Winter 1980 was the one time I was in
a smallish meeting with Bill Gates.  Gates in complete exasperation with
the AT&T 'suits' looked at them and said something I have never forgotten.
 Bill wanted to pay no more $25/copy for UNIX period.   AT&T said if the
volumes made it to millions they would drop to $1000/CPU (for a then $5-7K
PC/AT).  Mind you AT&T had just released its 3B20 and was sure the 3B would
go up against IBM and DEC and take them on --  No more 370s or Vaxen!!!

Anyway, Gates shook his head and said: *"You guys don't get it.    The only
thing that matters in the SW business is volume.  The cost of goods is
zero." * He was trying to help them understand that with SW you have to eat
your development cost and either make the SW completely free (FOSS model)
so close to it (Microsoft/Borland) model.

BTW: for this list, I suppose we should be thankful. DEC never got it.
They wanted $5K/CPU for the BLISS compiler AFTER you already bought your
Vax.    Imagine if they had given their tools away.

PS Minor ... note after 40+ years I'm only starting to be heard at work.
For those that know the Intel compilers are the same DNA as the DEC
compilers and a lot of the same people.   It's only been in the last year
we >>finally<< won that the tools are free.  Yes, we charge the commercial
folks for support that care.  But anyone can use them.

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  reply	other threads:[~2022-09-15 18:01 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 12+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2022-09-08 22:19 [TUHS] " Clem Cole
2022-09-15  1:01 ` [TUHS] " Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM)
2022-09-15  4:23   ` arnold
2022-09-15  6:11     ` Lars Brinkhoff
2022-09-15 17:09     ` Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM)
2022-09-15 17:59       ` Clem Cole [this message]
2022-09-18 18:27   ` Cyrille Lefevre via TUHS
2022-09-19 14:34   ` Cyrille Lefevre via TUHS
2022-09-15  5:59 ` Lars Brinkhoff
2022-09-15  6:40   ` arnold
2022-09-16  9:31     ` arnold
2022-09-15 13:26   ` Clem Cole

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