[TUHS] Old mainframe I/O speed (was: core)

Lawrence Stewart stewart at serissa.com
Mon Jun 25 00:41:42 AEST 2018

> On 2018, Jun 24, at 9:03 AM, Paul Winalski <paul.winalski at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 6/23/18, Norman Wilson <norman at oclsc.org> wrote:
>> Ron Minnich:
>>  Jon Hall used to love telling the story of the VAX backplane with the
>> glue
>>  in the board slots, which clever customers managed to damage and have
>>  repaired with a non-glued-up backplane.
> That was the VAXstation-11/RC.  Marketing wanted a VAXstation with
> fewer backplane slots that it could sell at a cheaper price.  Rather
> than manufacture a different board, they just filled the extra
> backplane slots with glue to render them unusable.  "RC" officially
> stood for "restricted configuration", but we in Engineering called it
> "resin caulked".
> -Paul W.

Some customers of the 11/RC figured out how to buy the full backplane as “spare parts” which worked for a while.

Every industry with up-front R&D or capital costs has the problem that the marginal cost of goods is much lower than the average cost.  It happens to airlines, chip companies, system companies and especially commercial software companies.  Trying to introduce product differentiation is one solution. Glue or microcode NOPs or DRM licence unlock codes work, but they tend to damage your reputation.


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