[TUHS] Story about Microsoft and *ix

Ed Bradford egbegb2 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 8 15:56:35 AEST 2021

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.


On Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 12:22 AM Dan Stromberg <drsalists at 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.
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