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

Henry Bent henry.r.bent at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 07:29:40 AEST 2021

On Wed, 17 Mar 2021 at 16:52, Josh Good <pepe at naleco.com> wrote:

> 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.

Not a total surprise.  In 1988, the average home user had probably barely
even heard of the internet.  Even business users were only concerned with
on-site networking, and that was a fairly expensive proposition.

> 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.

Indeed, from the perspective of a home user you didn't really need an
expensive UNIX box to do normal household chores.  I was more than happy
with a Visual 1050 running CP/M (and Wordstar, Multiplan, etc.) well into
the late '80s.

> 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.

Which might well explain why Xenix failed to gain much ground with normal
folks at home.  If you used a UNIX at work, sure, you might want to pay the
money to have it at home.  But why spend the $ for an operating system that
didn't have widespread application development?

> 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.

The proliferation of free software is practically unthinkable from the
standpoint of a home user 30 years ago.

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