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* [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
@ 2021-04-08  5:21 Dan Stromberg
  2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
  2021-04-08  7:24 ` Thomas Paulsen
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Dan Stromberg @ 2021-04-08  5:21 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

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I heard a while back, that the reason that Microsoft has avoided *ix so
meticulously, was that back when they sold Xenix to SCO, as part of the
deal Microsoft signed a noncompete agreement that prevented them from
selling anything at all similar to *ix.

True?

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* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  5:21 [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix Dan Stromberg
@ 2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
  2021-04-08  6:02   ` Steve Nickolas
                     ` (3 more replies)
  2021-04-08  7:24 ` Thomas Paulsen
  1 sibling, 4 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Ed Bradford @ 2021-04-08  5:56 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dan Stromberg; +Cc: TUHS main list

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In the early 80's it was Bill Gates who made strategic decisions for MS.
That was even before they went public. My wonder is if Gates had ever used
Unix. He (personally) developed BASIC for a CPM (I think) machine. I am
unaware of any system level skills in his experience. If he had knowledge
of or used Unix or XENIX (for which he had a master license from AT&T), why
on earth would anyone go down the bazaar path of DOS with lettered drives,
tortuous IO interfaces, and assembly language source code? Why didn't he
choose a far simpler to support and easier to learn operating system that had
10 years of maturity. I would love to hear Bill Gates' description of the
development of a DOS over Unix strategy.

My guess is there wasn't enough memory on the first IBM PC's. I worked with
LSX while at BTL and forget the memory footprint of LSX. Memory protection
was another thing, but LSX looked and felt like UNIX without memory
protection. Does anyone recall how much RAM memory could be put on the
first IBM PC's? That was probably a major problem.

My memory of the LSI-11 architecture has faded. Same for 20286. In the
early 1980's I had never heard of Xenix.

Ed

On Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 12:22 AM Dan Stromberg <drsalists@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> I heard a while back, that the reason that Microsoft has avoided *ix so
> meticulously, was that back when they sold Xenix to SCO, as part of the
> deal Microsoft signed a noncompete agreement that prevented them from
> selling anything at all similar to *ix.
>
> True?
>
>

-- 
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.
  Cicero

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* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
@ 2021-04-08  6:02   ` Steve Nickolas
  2021-04-08  8:16     ` David Arnold
  2021-04-08  6:48   ` Andrew Warkentin
                     ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 9+ messages in thread
From: Steve Nickolas @ 2021-04-08  6:02 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

On Thu, 8 Apr 2021, Ed Bradford wrote:

> Does anyone recall how much RAM memory could be put on the first IBM 
> PC's? That was probably a major problem.

As I recall the earliest models supported 16-64K onboard, with later 
models supporting 64-256K.  The 1981 firmware was, IIRC, limited to 544K 
(changed to 640K in 1982).

-uso.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 9+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
  2021-04-08  6:02   ` Steve Nickolas
@ 2021-04-08  6:48   ` Andrew Warkentin
  2021-04-08  7:32   ` Thomas Paulsen
  2021-04-08 13:42   ` Clem Cole
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Andrew Warkentin @ 2021-04-08  6:48 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

On 4/7/21, Ed Bradford <egbegb2@gmail.com> wrote:
> In the early 80's it was Bill Gates who made strategic decisions for MS.
> That was even before they went public. My wonder is if Gates had ever used
> Unix. He (personally) developed BASIC for a CPM (I think) machine. I am
> unaware of any system level skills in his experience. If he had knowledge
> of or used Unix or XENIX (for which he had a master license from AT&T), why
> on earth would anyone go down the bazaar path of DOS with lettered drives,
> tortuous IO interfaces, and assembly language source code? Why didn't he
> choose a far simpler to support and easier to learn operating system that
> had
> 10 years of maturity. I would love to hear Bill Gates' description of the
> development of a DOS over Unix strategy.
>
> My guess is there wasn't enough memory on the first IBM PC's. I worked with
> LSX while at BTL and forget the memory footprint of LSX. Memory protection
> was another thing, but LSX looked and felt like UNIX without memory
> protection. Does anyone recall how much RAM memory could be put on the
> first IBM PC's? That was probably a major problem.
>
Limited RAM was probably the main factor keeping Microsoft from
replacing DOS with XENIX on early PCs. I think that the main factor
after most PCs started to come with sufficient RAM for Unix might have
been that the divestiture allowed AT&T to fully commercialize Unix and
charge a fortune for licenses. Microsoft did actually talk about
gradually phasing out DOS for XENIX before the divestiture happened.

I wonder if Microsoft would have actually followed through on
replacing DOS with XENIX had the divestiture either not happened at
all, or happened in a form that still restricted AT&T from
commercializing Unix (maybe a vertical divestiture in which the Bell
System continued to exist but was forced to become a wholesaler only).
It would probably have been the path of least resistance. History
would very likely have gone better than it actually did here, with
Unix likely becoming the dominant OS family by the early to mid 90s.
With their flagship OS being a Unix, Microsoft would have had a bit
harder time being as anti-competitive as they were here, and at least
they would have been pushing an OS that was sort of reasonable unlike
anything in the DOS-like family. XENIX would probably have gone on to
be the dominant implementation of Unix, but it's likely that
compatibility layers for it would have been common (as some PC Unices
actually did here).

I guess things could have also gone a lot worse than they did here
though. Linux sucks in quite a few ways, but Microsoft could very well
have actually finished winning the Unix wars in the early 2000s had
Linux not been there at the right time to emerge as the ultimate
victor. At least the possibility of writing a better OS and having it
be at least modestly successful by being Linux-compatible still
remains here, whereas it would be much harder for a better OS to
succeed in a world where Windows was pretty much the only relevant OS.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 9+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  5:21 [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix Dan Stromberg
  2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
@ 2021-04-08  7:24 ` Thomas Paulsen
  2021-04-08 22:25   ` Heinz Lycklama
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 9+ messages in thread
From: Thomas Paulsen @ 2021-04-08  7:24 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dan Stromberg; +Cc: tuhs

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* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
  2021-04-08  6:02   ` Steve Nickolas
  2021-04-08  6:48   ` Andrew Warkentin
@ 2021-04-08  7:32   ` Thomas Paulsen
  2021-04-08 13:42   ` Clem Cole
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Thomas Paulsen @ 2021-04-08  7:32 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Ed Bradford; +Cc: tuhs

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* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  6:02   ` Steve Nickolas
@ 2021-04-08  8:16     ` David Arnold
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: David Arnold @ 2021-04-08  8:16 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Steve Nickolas; +Cc: TUHS main list

> On 8 Apr 2021, at 16:02, Steve Nickolas <usotsuki@buric.co> wrote:
> 
> On Thu, 8 Apr 2021, Ed Bradford wrote:
> 
>> Does anyone recall how much RAM memory could be put on the first IBM PC's? That was probably a major problem.
> 
> As I recall the earliest models supported 16-64K onboard, with later models supporting 64-256K.  The 1981 firmware was, IIRC, limited to 544K (changed to 640K in 1982).

Wikipedia agrees.  $1565 minimum configuration had 16KB RAM, CGA graphics, and single 5.25” floppy drive (that is, no hard drive).

DOS 2.0, 2 years later, shipped with the XT which had 128KB RAM and a 10MB hard drive.  That might have been more practical.



d


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 9+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
                     ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2021-04-08  7:32   ` Thomas Paulsen
@ 2021-04-08 13:42   ` Clem Cole
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Clem Cole @ 2021-04-08 13:42 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Ed Bradford; +Cc: TUHS main list

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On Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 1:58 AM Ed Bradford <egbegb2@gmail.com> wrote:

> In the early 80's it was Bill Gates who made strategic decisions for MS.
> That was even before they went public. My wonder is if Gates had ever used
> Unix. He (personally) developed BASIC for a CPM (I think) machine. I am
> unaware of any system level skills in his experience.
>
I can say I have personally seen him do so ;-)  He and Bob Greenberg were
at Ricki's Hyatt at the infamous meeting with AT&T in  late 1979/early 1980
[I have forgotten the precise date it was early/mid-winter IIRC -- I was
there as ½ of Tektronix's reps - this meeting would lead the Sys III
license].  Bob and Bill had some sort of PC with them running a pre-Xenix
of some type as an example.  Please remember that he and his team ran the
Seventh edition of UNIX on a PDP-11/70 at Microsoft (called 'kermit' IIRC)
and also TOPS-10 on a KL -- I believe that both of these systems are at the
LCM in Seattle these days (which is currently in mothballs due to CV-19 and
funding which is a real shame).




> If he had knowledge of or used Unix or XENIX (for which he had a master
> license from AT&T), why on earth would anyone go down the bazaar path of
> DOS with lettered drives, tortuous IO interfaces, and assembly language
> source code?
>
To answer this I have a few educated >>guesses<< which are based on the
history of the times and practical reality.  Gates (and Paul Allen) had
personally grown up TOPS-10 and RSTS in HS and in his 2 semesters at
Harvard; so the DEC disk naming scheme for having the system written
using assembler
was natural to him since DEC did that too.   And second, DOS was purchased
from Seattle Computer Products (SCP - story told elsewhere and not UNIX
history) and it has been written to be modeled after CP/M (which had been
modeled at RT/11 and DOS/11 - the last two again using DEC style naming
conventions).  Interestingly enough, CP/M had been written in PL/M which
was Kidall's simplified PL/360 style language for the 8080 that he eventual
sold to Intel.   I was under the impression SCP used 8086 assembler
language for the development of their DOS86 system which was the direct
parent to MS/DOS - but they might have used PL/M.    So you can add, that
an issue at the time was that Intel's PL/M tools were not very portable and
since the primary development systems at Microsoft were TOPS-10 and RSTS
(and Bob was trying to replace RSTS with UNIX at the time), I don't think
there were PL/M tools that ran on them.
ᐧ

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* Re: [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
  2021-04-08  7:24 ` Thomas Paulsen
@ 2021-04-08 22:25   ` Heinz Lycklama
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Heinz Lycklama @ 2021-04-08 22:25 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

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As part of UNIX/Xenix history it is interesting to note that
Microsoft did participate in the early /usr/group Standard.
We started this work in 1981 and produced the Standard
in November 1984. The Standard focused primarily on the
C language interface to the UNIX operating system.

We made every effort to include as many companies as
possible in the development of UNIX systems, Including
UNIX-like systems, and companies involved in developing UNIX
applications. About 70 people from more than 50 companies
are listed as involved in the development of the /usr/group
Standard. This included IBM, AT&T, DEC, SCO, ISC, plus many
other companies - large and small. Henry Burgess of Microsoft
was one of the early members, but Bill Gates stopped his
participation in this standards effort about one year after
the start of this standards effort, as I recall.

At the end of the development of this standard, further work
on standardization was handed over to IEEE for the development
of the POSIX Standard. The first edition of the IEEE Standard
Portable Operating System Interface for Computer Environments
(IEEE Std 1003.1) was published in 1988.

Heinz

On 4/8/2021 12:24 AM, Thomas Paulsen wrote:
> Hi,
> please red 
> http://www.softpanorama.org/People/Torvalds/Finland_period/xenix_microsoft_shortlived_love_affair_with_unix.shtml
> before posting. I can confirm many of the topics the author mentions.­
>
>     *Von:* Dan Stromberg <drsalists@gmail.com>
>     *Datum:* 08.04.2021 07:21:12
>     *An:* TUHS main list <tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org>
>     *Betreff:* [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix
>
>     I heard a while back, that the reason that Microsoft has avoided
>     *ix so meticulously, was that back when they sold Xenix to SCO, as
>     part of the deal Microsoft signed a noncompete agreement that
>     prevented them from selling anything at all similar to *ix.
>     True?
>
>
>
> *Gesendet mit Firemail.de - Freemail* 


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end of thread, other threads:[~2021-04-08 22:25 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 9+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2021-04-08  5:21 [TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix Dan Stromberg
2021-04-08  5:56 ` Ed Bradford
2021-04-08  6:02   ` Steve Nickolas
2021-04-08  8:16     ` David Arnold
2021-04-08  6:48   ` Andrew Warkentin
2021-04-08  7:32   ` Thomas Paulsen
2021-04-08 13:42   ` Clem Cole
2021-04-08  7:24 ` Thomas Paulsen
2021-04-08 22:25   ` Heinz Lycklama

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