[TUHS] Happy birthday, Dennis Ritchie!

Paul Winalski paul.winalski at gmail.com
Tue Sep 12 02:30:47 AEST 2017


On 9/8/17, William Pechter <pechter at gmail.com> wrote:
> If it wasn't for Unix, it possibly would have been VMS on Alpha... Or OS/2.
> Early Windows 3.x wouldn't have cut it.
>
> Perhaps without the Unix workstations DEC might have survived.
>
> Interesting alternate history...

Clem Cole and I could go on for pages on why DEC went out of business.
But it's pretty much off-topic for this list.

SUN captured the workstation market from Apollo and DEC because they
managed to sell workstations cheaper than their competitors.  I don't
think that the OS being UNIX had very much to do with it.  But using
UNIX probably lowered SUN's software development costs, and no doubt
that contributed to their lower workstation cost.

What ultimately did in DEC was missing the PC wave.  PCs did the same
thing to the minicomputer and workstation companies that minicomputers
did to mainframes in the 1970s.  PCs offered equivalent (or better)
capabilities at much reduced cost.  First they ate the word processor
market (remember Wang?) and then minicomputers and workstations.  UNIX
workstation manufacturers such as SUN suffered the same fate as DEC at
the hands of the PC.  UNIX did not save them.

-Paul W.


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