[TUHS] My EuroBSDcon talk (preview for commentary)

William Pechter pechter at gmail.com
Mon Sep 16 11:31:28 AEST 2019

On 9/15/19 5:46 PM, Clem Cole wrote:
> Funny the things you think about at 3 in the AM.
> Idris is interesting in that when Plauger built it, he did get in 
> trouble at the UDel USENIX when he tried to 'hawk it' and basically 
> was booed (how he did was as much of a problem as that fact that he 
> did it).  But by that point, there was another commercial UNIX 
> available.   What's interesting is that there was not an official V6 
> redistribution license like there was for V7; so I'm not 100% sure I 
> know how it was done and I would love to enlightened.
Interesting... I was at Concurrent messing around with a couple of 
truckloads of 7350 boxes they were trashing.  They were still being 
built (or supported) by Concurrent in 87 or so (I think that's when the 
Masscomp merger happened)... They were an 8mhz 68000 running either 
Uniplus+ (Sys III) or Idris (IIRC) or MicroXelos System V (which I think 
is a rebadged Uniplus SysV renamed to match the Concurrent 3200 Xelos 

They used them internal around '83 when they went to a Rand Editor and  
some *Roff based formatting for their office automation.  The motto for 
the IT move to desktop Unix was "Paper Free in '83."

Soon PC's and laser printers killed any hope of "paper free" as the 
staff spent way too much time chosing fonts for BS memos.

Here's some info on the very slow 68k I ran a newsfeed on: 

> I know this much of the story.
> As I mentioned before the first commercial user of UNIX was Rand 
> Corporation in LA.  Al Arms of AT&T legal wrote the original $15K/CPU 
> license for them.   I don't know how many of those licenses were made 
> available, but I've always been under the impression it was under 10.  
> Like a lot of people at the time, this was when the 'glass tty' was 
> just showing up in force and Rand updated/wrote a version of ed(1) 
> called the rand(1) editor [IIRC, its still available as the 'grand 
> editor' from Dave Yost].
Perkin-Elmer had a port of the Rand Editor "E" which worked on both the 
block mode and text terminals and they were using this for their office 
automation stuff internal on the desktops until they went Windows and 
Microsoft around 86 or so.

I rescued a bunch of the trash bound 7350's and set up a small Cnews 
relay around Monmouth and Ocean counties in NJ.  For a while I upgraded 
to an AT&T6300 with Xenix-86 on it which outran the 6 or 8 mhz 68k in 
the Perkin-Elmer box.

Cheap RLL disks and higher speed serial ports were to obsolete 
everything below a 386 for the news feed so I upgraded it.

One of the great things about the editor on the box was the Rand Editor 
version allowed block copy of column data -- which I could only do on my 
CP/M box under Wordstar.

I kept the boxes around until a Trenton Computer Festival.  When I 
couldn't unload them in the 90-91 time frame I used the free dumpsters 
there to finish the destruction that Concurrent had planned.

I wiped and reused the ton of Uniplus disks I had at the time as scratch 
floppies.  I wish I had a copy left for historical reasons.  I kept the 
full manual set until I had a full *BSD 4.2,4.3 set and a full SysV set 
so I dumped the Idris and SysIII stuff.

My original degree was history and I never found an old computer or doc 
I didn't try to save.


Digital had it then.  Don't you wish you could buy it now!
pechter-at-gmail.com  http://xkcd.com/705/

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