[TUHS] Dave Cutler recollection about Xenix

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Sun Oct 22 02:40:27 AEST 2023

On Sat, Oct 21, 2023 at 11:37 AM Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl> wrote:

> An interesting set of videos indeed, although I wish they were not all
> chopped up in 5 minute segments.

The alternative nowadays is for YouTube to chop videos up themselves with

The below site has a very nice summary of Xenix at Microsoft (I’ve linked
> it a couple of times before):
> http://seefigure1.com/2014/04/15/xenixtime.html

By this time, there was growing retail demand for Xenix on IBM-compatible
> personal computer hardware, but Microsoft made the strategic decision not
> to sell Xenix in the consumer market; instead, they entered into an
> agreement with a company called the Santa Cruz Operation to package, sell
> and support Xenix for those customers.

That's not entirely true.  The first personal computer I used was an IBM
PC/AT, and I bought MS-branded Xenix (System III) for it.  It was a box
full of floppies, and it came with the MS C compiler (CL.EXE etc.) which
could compile for Xenix or cross-compile for MS-DOS.  That way I could
write command-line programs on Xenix and deliver them for DOS.

 In a way it is the same dynamic that kept C89 and Bash in place for so
> long: people know it, it is good enough and it works everywhere.

C89 has plenty of obvious successors; bash does not.

Seeing the Cutler interviews reminded me of the old joke that there are
> only two operating systems left: Unix and VMS (Linux being Unix-family and
> Windows being VMS-family).

OS/360 (now in the form of z/OS) is still very much with us.  z/OS is
Posix-certified, but it is fairly distant from Linux, *BSD, or Solaris.
(It is not to be confused with Linux running on System Z virtualized.)
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