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

Wesley Parish wobblygong at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 15:10:22 AEST 2021

On 3/18/21, Henry Bent <henry.r.bent at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

FWVVLIW, I was not a computer user in 1989, and I had heard of the
Internet, such as it was back then, through the pages of a little
paperback highly critical of the SDI (or as Arthur C. Clarke retitled
it, the BDI - Budgetary Defense Initiative). The author of that book
the title of which I can't recall, talked about a computer network
that was designed to stay up and working in spite of having bits and
pieces shot out of it ... obviously not the Interwebs we today are
blessed with, where a half-hearted DDoS can make the experience ...
interesting ... if you happen to be on an ISP that's even remotely
connected to the site undergoing the DDoS ... at the time I was
envious and wished that the Pentagon and the US university system
would make it more widely available. Be careful what you wish for (he
growls to himself) you just might get it.

Wesley Parish
>> 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.

Shareware was a big concept a few decades ago, and PC/MS/DR DOS was
very well supplied with useful programs. Even the Mac had its share,
though significantly less than the *DOS family of OSes. It's amusing
that Lotus' heavy-handed approach to its 1-2-3 spreadsheet interface
succeeded in driving its direct competitors AsEasyAs and some others,
into shareware distribution. Nobody as far as I know, ever tried to
compete with WordPerfect by copying its interface - the shareware DOS
word processors I tried, had their own approach.

That small one-man shareware businesses could compete with big
multinational companies for market share with products often as good
or better, should've given Microsoft pause when it came out swinging
against Linux in the late 90s and early 2000s. None so blind as those
who will not see.

Wesley Parish
> -Henry

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