[TUHS] Windows roots and Unix influence (was Re: Happy birthday, Ken Thompson!)

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Sun Feb 4 15:18:28 AEST 2018

On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 10:06 PM, Wesley Parish <wobblygong at gmail.com> wrote:

> From what little I know, Dave Cutler was wanting to work on a VMS
> (Next Generation) at DEC, but couldn't manage to get management to
> agree, so when the possibility of doing a VMS (Next Gen) at Microsoft
> came up, he jumped for it.
> At least that's what I read back in the late 90s. I've forgotten where
> I read it, unfortunately, so unless someone can come up with a source
> for it, best treat it with a pinch of salt.

This was certainly the story that was going around at the time...


> Wesley Parish
> On 2/4/18, Nemo Nusquam <cym224 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 02/03/18 19:37, Dan Cross wrote (in part):
> >> The design of the original NT kernel was overseen by Dave Cutler, of VMS
> >> and RSX-11M fame, and had a very strong and apparent VMS influence. Some
> >> VAX wizards I know told me that they saw a lot of VMS in NT's design,
> >> but that it probably wasn't as good (different design goals, etc:
> >> apparently Gates wanted DOS++ and a quick time to market; Cutler wanted
> >> to do a *real* OS and they compromised to wind up with VMS--).
> >
> > I recall that Cutler wanted a portable OS and had a cli version running
> > on MIPS first.  Eventually, Gates ordered a GUI "bolted on" and things
> > went bad.
> >
> >> It's true that there was (is? I don't know anymore...) a POSIX
> >> subsystem, but that seemed more oriented at being a marketing check in
> >> the box for sales to the US government and DoD (which had "standardized"
> >> on POSIX and made it a requirement when investing in new systems).
> >
> > Indeed, but it was functionally useless in that it could interact with
> > the NT system.  It always reminds of the time that NT obtained FIPS 140
> > Level 1 but with no network. (Had NIST not re-organised their website, I
> > would link to the certificate.)
> >
> > N.
> >
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