[TUHS] Dave Cutler recollection about Xenix

segaloco via TUHS tuhs at tuhs.org
Sat Oct 21 10:36:40 AEST 2023

I consistently hear from folks the same about Bill Gates pushing for volume over anything else with Xenix. I wonder to what degree that sort of paradigm shift lead to what we see today with "app stores" and cheap little apps being peddled a dime a dozen. Must be a viable enough business model if people keep doing it, but it makes me die inside. There's also the fact though that as the barrier to entry goes down, well, more folks enter the playing field.

Also I gotta appreciate that Dave Cutler's Bill Gates impersonation is consistent with other folks mocking over the years. He's probably got a pretty thick skin by this point (although the financial success probably helps).

Thanks for the share, there are a few other videos linked there from I assume the same interview, I quite enjoyed them, especially the anecdote of Steve Ballmer's last ditch effort Denny's breakfast to bring Dave on board.

Something this brings back to mind that I always wonder about with Microsoft and their OS choices: So they went with Windows NT for their kernel, scraped the Windows environment off the top of DOS and dolloped it on top. Has there been any explanation over the years why they also decided to keep the MSDOS CLI interface? It's not like the NT kernel couldn't handle simple stuff like a UNIX-y shell, tools like grep and sed, etc. and Microsoft had code in Xenix they probably could've considered using for that. Was it not wanting to have any licensing questions by avoiding anything that smelled like Xenix at all? Or was the consumer base at the time that invested in the MSDOS environment that handing them a Bourne shell with some ubiquitous UNIX tools would've just been unworkable? Feels like a lost opportunity, they could've had their kernel and their desktop environment and still given folks a more robust CLI. Instead stuff like UWIN, Cygwin, etc. had to come along and fill the void. That was something I was hoping he'd talk about when I clicked, but I didn't catch anything particular about the CLI choice.

- Matt G.
------- Original Message -------
On Friday, October 20th, 2023 at 4:27 PM, Skip Tavakkolian <fariborz.t at gmail.com> wrote:

> This might be interesting to some. It is a piece of a longer conversation between Dave Plummer and Dave Cutler (RSX11, VMS, WinNT)
> https://youtu.be/9K3eMzF6x28?feature=shared
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