[TUHS] Bill Joy on the "Open Systems Imperative"

Greg A. Woods woods at robohack.ca
Thu May 13 05:43:09 AEST 2021

At Wed, 12 May 2021 08:58:21 -0400, Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:
Subject: [TUHS] Bill Joy on the "Open Systems Imperative"
> This video got passed around at my (new!) job, and I think it's very
> relevant to this list. It's Bill Joy talking about what he and Sun were
> thinking about as the future of workstations and computing in general ca
> 1987. Some of the predictions were not accurate, but some were.
> I'm curious what others think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8Pd6xYaHGU

I'm pretty sure Bill Joy gave that same talk as a keynote at the
/usr/group/cdn conference and trade show that I think was in the summer
of 1987 in Toronto.  I can't find a programme for it at the moment
(maybe there's one in my old files somewhere, if I didn't recycle all of
the old /usr/group/cdn stuff), but my memory of the talk very closely
matches what's in the video, and given how little remains of some of
those old conferences and trade shows, this is a remarkable video to
still have access to.  I distinctly remember him comparing the
1-MIP/1-Megabyte/1-megapixel workstation with his predictions and I also
distinctly remember his analogy with warp speed in space travel compared
to a 100-year @ 1-MIP problem on a VAX vs. waiting 15 years and running
it all in 8 hours.  At that time I would have been quite happy to have a
1m/1m/1m machine, but just two years later I had a 3B2/500 and a DMD5620.
(and the latter alone more or less matched that spec)

I was fairly amazed by some of his predictions at the time, particularly
on the hardware front, and not all have turned out true of course, but I
was also quite hopeful that they would come true.

And now I'm currently contemplating buying a new workstation that in
many ways exceeds many of the specifications he proposed; and it will be
running a derivative of Unix.

					Greg A. Woods <gwoods at acm.org>

Kelowna, BC     +1 250 762-7675           RoboHack <woods at robohack.ca>
Planix, Inc. <woods at planix.com>     Avoncote Farms <woods at avoncote.ca>
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