[TUHS] AT&T UNIX Support Activities Post-1983

segaloco via TUHS tuhs at tuhs.org
Thu Jul 20 09:18:30 AEST 2023

Hello, I received in the mail today a USOC listing from the NY Bell division listing various standardized service codes in 1982. I wasn't particularly expecting to see anything relevant to UNIX in there, but flipping through the pages, it did have me curious on one point. Prior to divestiture, one of the conditions placed on Bell was that they could not support UNIX. Sure, tapes could find their way to individuals for service costs or under particular agreements, but this provision of "service" seemed to be right out and not allowed under their then-terms. This is presumably why there is nothing resembling UNIX in this manual, nor can I find anything implying 3B20(D/S) services.

So after 1983 when the cat is out of the bag and AT&T begins aggressive marketing, what sorts of "services" were they then providing to UNIX customers that they couldn't before? One item I've got that further complicates my understanding, a class listing from Western Electric Corporate Education from July, 1983[1]. Did offering classes like this not constitute "support", or was there a little window between 1982 and 1984 where AT&T could start their true marketing and support in earnest while still not being absolutely complete with the divestiture of the Western Electric business? In any case, if WECo was out the door as part of the legal settlement, it does strike me as a bit odd they'd put any work into spinning up the WECo Corporate Education machine on this for the space of just part of a year in 1983, only to then rebrand it all for ATTIS when Jan 1st passes. An additional time-frame indicator is while this foldout does list WECo, it is devoid of Bell system logos, consistent with the date as that was one of the conditions that started to take effect that summer.

Anywho, I'm sure some of the general information what services they provided in addition to licensing and distributing for UNIX license holders lives in documentation out there, so I'll be reading up too, but figured it'd be good to ask if nothing else to figure out what was going on in the early 80s, because that WECo training document certainly has me a bit curious on the timeframe vs what they could and couldn't do throughout the Bell System breakup years.

- Matt G.

[1] -https://imgur.com/a/xbEOGZn

Note, I intend to do a proper scan on glass with this after I get through some IBM stuff I'm working on, so don't worry, I don't intend these photos to be historical record.
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