[TUHS] environments/universes (was: Unix v6 problem with /tmp)

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sat Jul 30 00:14:47 AEST 2016

On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:05 PM, <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:

> DMR visited one time
> and spoke; I remember him saying that he thought what Pyramid had done
> was an awful idea... :-)

​He was right technically/theoretically, but wrong in practice for economic

Yes, I remember talking to him about the idea at dinner at a USENIX.
​  And I understood and agree the crude and somewhat confusing nature of
the solution.

he basic argument behind them was practicality of porting code from the
different flavors
​ (much less being "finger ROM" compatible for users like me)​
.  At this time System III/V and BSD were very much on divergent paths.
Larger firms like DEC and HP-UX took a stand being either BSD or System V
flavored (Sun started one way, sold there soul, then started to add all the
BSD stuff back into SVR4).
​AT&T was making such a ruckus about "Consider it Standard" - but remember
dmr never used ISV code, he wrote his own.

So the problem was that s
maller firms like Masscomp, P
​, Sequent did not have the leverage that HP, IBM or DEC thought they had
with the ISVs​ (they did originally but time would change as Alpha/Tru64
proved).   Being technically correct was not "good enough" - being
economically for the ISVs and End users was important.  Universes brought
the price of porting code way down, because it allowed the AT&T "standard"
or sort of be true, but still allowing a smaller firm to how their
own extensions/differentiation and provide the "comforts" of BSD.

In the end, it did not matter to the ISVs and why the UNIX "systems"
vendors eventually failed.  It was all about volume and the left UNIX for
Winders when that that system could support their codes and became more
economical.    I remember having the conversation with one of the DEC EVPs
explaining why even the Digitial Equipment Corp could not keep the ISVs on
Alpha/Tru64.  Being only technically correct/great was not a recipe for
financial success of a firm.

​Anyway, he's not here to defend his technical position, but I do think dmr
understood why it was the way it was.​  As you said, he did not like it.

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