[TUHS] Surprised about Unix System V in the 80's - so sparse!

Adam Thornton athornton at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 06:57:31 AEST 2021

Just because it didn't have TCP/IP doesn't mean it couldn't send mail to
other sites.  UUCP was used for batched file transfer over serial lines,
such as dialup modems.  There was not generally _real-time interactive_
network stuff done with other sites, but there was plenty of
store-and-forward goodness.  Which is probably what Chapter 5 is about.


On Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 1:51 PM Josh Good <pepe at naleco.com> wrote:

> Hello UNIX veterans.
> So I stumbled online upon a copy of the book "SCO Xenix System V Operating
> System User's Guide", from 1988, advertised as having 395 pages, and the
> asked for price was 2.50 EUROs. I bought it, expecting --well, I don't know
> exactly what I was expecting, something quaint and interesting, I suppose.
> I've received the book, and it is not a treasure trobe, to say the least. I
> am in fact surprised at how sparse was UNIX System V of this age, almost
> spartan.
> The chapter titles are:
> 1. Introduction
> 2. vi: A Text Editor
> 3. ed
> 4. mail
> 5. Communicating with Other Sites
> 6. bc: A Calculator
> 7. The Shell
> 8. The C-Shell
> 9. Using the Visual Shell
> And that's it. The communications part only deals the Micnet (a serial-port
> based local networking scheme), and UUCP. No mention at all of the words
> "Internet" or "TCP/IP", no even in the Index.
> Granted, this Xenix version is derived from System V Release 2, and I think
> it was for the Intel 286 (not yet ported to the i386), but hey it's 1988
> already and the Internet is supposed to be thriving on UNIX in the Pacific
> Coast, or so the lore says. I see now that it probably was only in the
> Berkely family that the Internet was going on...
> In truth, I fail to see what was the appeal of such a system, for mere
> users, when in the same PC you could run rich DOS-based applications like
> WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Ventura Publisher and all the PC software from
> those years.
> I mean, mail without Internet is pretty useless, althouhg I understand it
> could be useful for inter-company communications. And yes, it had vi and
> the
> Bourne Shell. But still, it feels very very limited, this Xenix version,
> from a user's point of view.
> I'm probably spoiled from Linux having repositories full of packaged free
> software, where the user just has to worry about "which is the best of":
> email program, text editor, browser, image manipulation program, video
> player, etc. I understand this now pretty well, how spoiled are we these
> days.
> --
> Josh Good
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