PUPS and BUPS (burp!) thoughts.....

Ian King iking at KillTheWabbit.org
Thu Jul 30 16:02:39 AEST 1998

I'm glad there are people and codebases that compete with Microsoft -- and I work for Microsoft.  It keeps us on our toes.  :-)  I run NT 4.0 and Linux 2.0.30 side-by-side at home, on the selfsame network -- and all on Intel hardware.  I am on this mailing list because I am gaining a PDP 11/34 as a new resident in my home, which will be networked together with the Intel hardware (so I don't have to run downstairs all the time -- the PDP is too large for my computer room upstairs).  Why?  Call it a sense of history....

Why shouldn't UNIX run on everything?  The beauty of the UNIX idea -- which has been cloned and transported and transliterated and transmogrified a myriad times a myriad times -- is that it expresses a rich metaphor for computation, which allows us to make use of these metal monsters.  I have the greatest respect for "true" UNIX and its parents and godparents.  I also have a lot of respect for Linus Torvalds and the incredible piece of work he birthed -- a true UNIX version that makes excellent use of the PC architecture.  

The PC architecture has commoditized significant computing power in a manner that Digital could never have done (or at least, never did), and placed that into the hands of many people who would be otherwise financially barred from playing this game.  IMHO it's specious to demonize a particular machine architecture and declare that UNIXes running on it are somehow illegitimate.  

Cheers -- Ian King

NOTE:  this is strictly my personal ramblings, and does not in any way represent the official position of the Microsoft Corporation.  

> From: User Rdkeys Robert D. Keys <rdkeys at seedlab1.cropsci.ncsu.edu>
> To: Michael Sokolov <msokolov at blackwidow.SOML.CWRU.Edu>
> Cc: bups at minnie.cs.adfa.oz.au; pups at minnie.cs.adfa.oz.au
> Subject: Re: PUPS and BUPS (burp!) thoughts.....
> Date: Wednesday, July 29, 1998 10:27 AM
> >    "User Rdkeys Robert D. Keys" <rdkeys at seedlab1.cropsci.ncsu.edu> wrote:
> > > It is obvious that none of the old toys are going to be competing with
> > > the rush to NT and SCOish things.
> >    
> >    Excuse me, sir, but I have to make a point here. They _ARE_ competing!
> No excuses necessary.  But, please relax a bit and don't let the blood
> boil to much.  All of us here, are interested in the preservation of the
> beast.  Granted many may run it for a living, me included, to some extent.
> But, likewise most or many of us are the same folks that have a vaxen
> or pdp-11 in the basement (I remember seeing a pix of one of our leader's
> machines next to the kitchen fridge?).  Clearly, the basement/kitchen toys
> are not competing.  They are purely hobby related.  My dumpster risc box
> won't ever compete again, but is fun to spin up a TeX and troff on.
> > My office is the largest room in the department, and it's filled with VAXen
> > of all kinds. My goal is to get 4.3BSD-* running on all of them and operate
> > this system in direct competition with other UNIX systems on our campus,
> > which are all Pentiums or SPARCs. Since my system administration skills and
> > friendliness to students surpass those of other campus UNIX systems' admins
> > by many orders of binary magnitude, I plan to urge people to migrate to my
> > VAXen this way. Yes, my plan is total world VAX domination! This is exactly
> > why I want to modify Berkeley VAX UNIX to run on all VAX models from 11/780
> > to 10000. (An EXTREMELY daring and ambitious goal, needless to say.)
> Clearly yours are more mainstream related.  
> Kudos for the sysadmin handholding towards the students.  Mentoring, one
> on one is the best way to handle many computer learning things.
> Although vaxen may dominate the world (or did at one time, according to
> Henry Spencer's infamous ten commandments for C programmers), there are
> many lesser breeds that I sense others of us partake of.  Also, there
> are insufficient numbers of remaining vaxen and pdp-11's for all of us
> to have one in the home hobbyroom.  Because of that, I would suggest
> that maybe there is interest in the other lines of machines and their
> related unices, even the 32bitters.
> >    I have two strong and radical views:
> >    
> >    0. The only higher-than-PDP-11 computers that can be allowed to run UNIX
> > are DEC VAXen. I oppose the idea of running UNIX on PeeCees and shit like
> > that.
> Not so, IMHO.  The purist may run a vaxen in the manner of the Bugattis
> of old, but us garage monkeywrench types may be stuck with even a lowly
> PC thingie.  Don't quite put the PC flavors down, since I can attest to
> their utility in poverty stricken research projects for at least the past
> 10 years, courtesy Big Blue and that hybrid PC unix of theirs (AIX 1.x).
> Also, the freebie BSD's are sufficiently close to the real thing, that
> most average users would not know the difference.  Cat is cat is cat,
> no matter how it is coded (and they all look remarkably similar).
> >    1. I consider it the ultimate in blasphemy to attempt to create "UNIX
> > clones" that people dare to call "Unix" but don't really contain any code
> > written by God Ritchie, God Thompson, or God Kernighan. I never use any
> > "free Unices" like FreeBSD and NetBSD. Right now I use Ultrix and SunOS,
> > which are kosher in the above sense but binary-only for most people. The
> > latter part is why I want to move to 4.3BSD-*. Also my belief in True
> > licensed UNIX(R) is the reason I have joined PUPS, as it seems to be the
> > only remaining group dealing with such UNIX.
> Well, yes and no.
> I consider it a tribute to the likes of Thompson, Ritchie, Kernighan,
> Ossanna, and a string of others down the trees, that the wisdom of their
> reasoning and toiling has had fruition even in the lowly PC's.  Why did
> the freebies catch on like they have?  Because the folks wanted something
> like a BSD, and the corporate bean counters and lawyers missed their chance.
> As to which flavor to use, I use what I have that will run on whichever
> box I have on.  I prefer a BSDish box, but even a V7 is fun, and with
> a viish terminal driver and troff, still runs with the best of the big
> dogs, and even AIX is usable if you get used to its quirks.
> But, for sure, the point of all this is to preserve the history, code,
> nuances, and whatever else can be maintained, unless I am sorely amiss
> of the PUPS goals.  I only think it needs to include the castoff 32
> bit machines, too, hence the need for a BUPS group, IMHO.
> >    Sincerely,
> >    Michael Sokolov
> With all due respect.
> R.D. Keys
> rdkeys at seedlab1.cropsci.ncsu.edu

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