[TUHS] PC Unix (had been How to Kill a Technical Conference

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Wed Apr 7 07:06:03 AEST 2021

Like a lot of things, it depends.  In the early 80s, they tried to break
the 'small' computer market that had been using minis like PDP-11s or DG
Novas.   A saw a lot of small installations at places like car
dealerships and repair houses.   You strapped a cheap terminal [Wyse
25/50/60/75 were very popular].  My local Chinese restaurant still runs
with 3 Wyse 60s talking to something in the back.   It used to be a Wyse
386:16 running Xenix.

As Charlie said he ran a UUCP server on one.    Someone (3COM maybe) added
an ethernet and an 8/16 line serial board like the Rocket Board (which I
think I may still have one around) and sold them as terminal servers. to
larger systems.

A few things happen ---  the 68000 style machines such as Masscomp, Apollo,
and Sun could do the same thing much better and were not much different in
price (remember an original PC/AT 286 with max memory and DOS cost $5K at
computerland and it was another $1k for Xenix plus whatever the app cost).
Compaq was cheaper but not much.   A diskless Sun3 was 7.5K also, but you
needed at least one full Sun3 to be the server (and they also sucked, most
people bought add-in disk Unix for another 4K -- another good story for
another time]. The Apps cost the same between Xenix and Sun and that sort
of sealed the deal, particularly when the apps moved to DOS and then were
cheaper still.

So if you wanted a timing sharing box there were options that were in the
same price range and basically 'better' AND IBM/Compaq started to push DOS
and that ecosystem which was cheaper.

On Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 4:12 PM Josh Good <pepe at naleco.com> wrote:

> On 2021 Apr  6, 12:32, Charles H Sauer wrote:
> > For much of my last few years at IBM, my uucp machine, ibmchs, was an AT
> > running Xenix, probably that version of Xenix.
> Hi. I'm curious about that Xenix vintage. How did you use that machine:
> headless from a serial terminal?, or at the VGA console? Was it "single
> user" or shared among several people? Did you run Xenix and only SCO
> provided software, or did you had third party software in it? Were you
> using it by choice as your favourite Unix, or merely because it was the
> only Unix you could have? Did you like living with Xenix? Did it have
> problems, o was it "setup and forget"?
> If you feel like sharing that experience, thank you very much.
> --
> Josh Good
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