[TUHS] MacOS X is Unix (tm)

jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com
Sat Mar 11 16:35:49 AEST 2017

NT on the Alpha was... interesting.  The C compiler was a team effort between Microsoft and Dec, but it really really had issues. I had to compile just about anything on /OD ie, no optimizations for anything to really be workable across 2 machines.  The joke being that once they had a solid C compiler, in Visual C++ 6.0 / Visual Basic 6.0 Digitial went to Compaq, and they killed NT Alpha as it was always a threat to Compaq i386 servers.

Alpha servers running NT were basically for people that had gotten themselves in a corner, and needed higher performance, price be damned... And Windows NT 4.0 Entperprise on 8way and UP NT boxes were not cheap by any stretch.  I’ve only seen one in use, and it was a giant DEC Alpha with at the time for 1998 insane specs that would be trivial today... But it was running MS SQL 7.0 for some airline ticking place that used old starship captains as their mascot.  

Qemu can run the MIPS version Windows NT, which is once you’ve installed it, from a user perspective really no different from the i386 version of Windows NT.  The last version of Internet Explorer for the MIPS is version 3.0, which to say is ancient is an understatement.  

Naturally on the Pathworks CD I have, it only has an i386 and Alpha client.  DEC didn’t think you’d dare use Cterm on a PowerPC or MIPS running NT.  Not that it really matters these days, outside of HECnet.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Ron Natalie
Sent: Thursday, 5 January 2017 2:57 AM
To: 'Clem Cole'; 'Joerg Schilling'
Cc: 'TUHS main list'; david at kdbarto.org
Subject: Re: [TUHS] MacOS X is Unix (tm)

Yeah, we were kind of unique in developing a few products that cut across many UNIX architectures:

Sun 4.1.3 / Solaris 2.0
DEC Alpha
HP 9000 (in various incarnations)
SGI in various incarnations (Oxygen, O2, Onyx, …)
Intel processors in both 32 and 64 bit modes
Stellar G1000
MIPS (both MIPS’s native workstation and the DEC SPIM machine)
Some i860 machines from IBM and Oki
IBM RS6000
Cray YMP.

The latter was the one that really had some issues.    The thing really only had char and word.   Int, short, and long were all 64 bits.    That one discovered a portability hack.   At least I had put a diagnostic in to catch the fact I hadn’t implemented such a case in the generic code.    I got a call from the guy doing to port (he had to go to the Cray offices) to tell me that the first thing the product said was “You’ve got to be kidding.”

Later we bopped back and forth between various NT-based systems including Intel at 32 and 64 bits (don’t get me started about the inane DWORD_PTR type which is not a pointer nor a double word) and on the iTanium (which we dubbed the iTanic).   Never got around to trying the NT Alpha.

Not only type sizing issues but having to worry about byte order, etc…

I still remember finding a #define notyet 1 in one piece of code on the Ardent…that onewas scary.

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