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Microsoft's Ancient History w/ Unix

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Unix 403

NutscrapeSucks writes "The Register is running a article which discusses Microsoft's experience running their own version of UNIX, called Xenix, as their standard desktop operating system. Before they got involved with OS/2 and later NT, Microsoft considered UNIX to be the PC operating system of the future. Talks about Bill Gates running vi, difficulties with AT&T, and other interesting tidbits." There's a lot of stuff everyone knows, and a lot of stuff you probably didn't know. Worth a read.

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fp! fp! fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212565)

Hahahah!!

fp is mine, all mine!

I'd like to dedicate this post right here to all dem Caltech bitchez!

I'd like to thank the academy...

Position of the fortnight: (-1, Offtopic)

Pancake Lizard (568459) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212568)

Bored with slashdot polls?

Check this [slashdot.org]

FR15T P@5T (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212570)

F337 MY P@W3R!!!!

7@53R!!!!

Re:FR15T P@5T (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212610)

feet your power? jeez, you are lame.

Re:FR15T P@5T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212615)

heh, what's the world coming to when we have to correct 31337 speak?

Unix is the future. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212573)

Kerberos..
Shortcuts.. Symbolic links.
Multitasking..
How many others?

Not to troll, but a lot of Microsoft's innovations are actually recycled ideas that've been around for years. No, really, not to troll - I'm glad they've taken certain ideas from Unix. It wouldn't make sense for them to have not done so. There's a lot of good stuff in the various Unices out there.

Re:Unix is the future. (2, Interesting)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212606)

Well, multitasking isn't really a Unix specific feature, more of a fairly standard general OS function.
The others though are probably inspired from Unix, don't know of any other OS that unix might have been inspired of (well, except multics), anyone know?
Win NT was designed by the same people who designed VMS IIRC, so I suppose they got lots if inspiration from there as well

Re:Unix is the future. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212682)

Win NT was designed by the same people who designed VMS IIRC
Yup. Easy way to remember: what are the next letters in the alphabet after V, M and S? I think HAL must have been the project leader ;)

Re:Unix is the future. (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212686)

Multitasking predates Gates. Most OS's at the time (including the ones MS used to build their cross compilers) all did multitasking. It was assumed any "real" os would do that.

Re:Unix is the future. (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212707)

indeed. the teachers at my Uni used to think of dos a application launcher rather than as an OS. Mind you was still fun to program for dos, TSRs anyone??? THe smaller the better!

Re:Unix is the future. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212745)

Origins of Unix [bell-labs.com]

Re:Unix is the future. (3, Informative)

The Wookie (31006) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212628)

DOS 2.0 included Unixy features like file descriptors (instead of the old FCB file control blocks), directories, and devices as files (COM1:, LPT0:, etc) that weren't present in DOS 1.0.

Unfortunately, my memory fails as to whether this was still IBM PCDOS or MSDOS. I'm thinking by that time it was MSDOS.

Re:Unix is the future. (2, Informative)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212677)

but those had already found their way into CPM. You could do many unixy things in CPM on machines with at least a few 64k pages.

DOS 1.0 was PCDOS unless you ran it on a DEC rainbow or a few other very rare boxes. MSDOS was later.

Of course the 1.0 and 2.0 syscals are still in win 2002 or whatever its called.

Re:The Microsoft Borg analogy (2, Funny)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212632)

The phrase "Your technological distinctiveness will be added to our own" springs to mind.

*nix a pile a' dogcrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212759)

Unix? The future?? *nix is a sloppy pile a' dogcrap SPLAT run over by a truck-tire. SPLAT ... that's also the sound of 6-finger webtoed weenies reaching under a truck-tire ... hehe

Err (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212575)

So wait, are you trying to say that Bill Gates uses windows now? I find that hard to believe

This isn't surprising. (5, Interesting)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212577)

Bill Gates running vi

I don't know why this in particular would stick out as something surprising. People on this site seem to forget that Gates is a serious geek - he's not some MBA who got lucky. I wouldn't be surprised if he _still_ uses vi, maybe even under Cygwin, on his own machines.

--saint

Re:This isn't surprising. (2)

Marcus Brody (320463) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212596)

I wouldn't be surprised if he [Bill Gates] _still_ uses vi, maybe even under Cygwin

No need. He can use vi for windows [winvi.de] .

ANd yes, I wouldnt be suprised if he did use it. I have heard that quite a few senior MS employees use windows ports of classic UNIX apps. After all, most UNIX apps take some getting used to - but once you do get to know them, they are unbeatable. As the reg article illustrates, many MS people come from a UNIX background, and it is not really suprising they have taken some of this with them.

Cut N Paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212649)

How do you cut n paste in vi ?

beyond the basics of vi ( insert, escape, :q :w :q! :wq! / // etc etc... most people don't how to do moderately complicated stuff that's easy in almost any other editor

I've asked several people, and none of them know how to cut n paste in vi. Most of them recommended opening up a Samba share in the /etc/smb.conf or using FTP to transfer files to Windows to cut n paste in the file, and then transfer the files back. This doesn't indicate a good editor. Perhaps if the vi guys actually provided readable documentation, it'd gain market share. For now, it doesn't have my vote.

Re:Cut N Paste? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212668)

yy dd p

Re:Cut N Paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212762)

dd p
No need for a yy

Re:Cut N Paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212719)

Use vim, not vi. And try :help

Additionally, you can use the mouse to cut and paste to any application in X, using the middle mouse button, or a chord of the left/right.

If using the console, make sure you're running gpm, and the mouse cut/paste features will be available there.

Or, you can learn a little sed, and edit the file without even knowing where it is:

for i in `find ./|grep bla`;do cat $i|sed s/cut/paste/g >$itemp;mv $itemp $i;done

Re:Cut N Paste? (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212723)

If your using :wq you do not understand so give it up.
:wq was replaced by :x in a very early version of bsd. I still don't know where these young whipersnapers learn about the :wq as it was made obsolete in 1978 and I don't think there are too many /. people let alone Unix users that predate that.

Re:Cut N Paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212774)

open up another xterm with the text of what ever file you want, put vi into insert mode, and insert the text with the center mouse button. just don't try to insert text in command mode. sheesh.

Re:This isn't surprising. (2)

PlaysWithMatches (531546) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212672)

Perhaps vim for Windows [sourceforge.net] would be a better choice. I haven't tried "WinVi" but when I'm forced to suffer in a Windows environment from time to time, it's nice to just use vim. It's consistent with what I run on my home machines after all. :)

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

Hank Kingsley (197213) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212734)

I have heard that quite a few senior MS employees use windows ports of classic UNIX apps.

And quite a few of the current "grunts" at MS also use vi & emacs.

Re:This isn't surprising. (5, Funny)

O2n (325189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212600)

I wouldn't be surprised if he _still_ uses vi

Maybe this will become the single most powerful argument in the emacs vs. vi religious war. :)

Re:This isn't surprising. (0, Redundant)

Luke Marsden (313446) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212616)

"Use emacs, because Billy Gates uses vi."

Re:This isn't surprising. (2)

dzym (544085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212623)

Yeah, but for which side? "Bill Gates uses vi! Emacs is god!" ? :)

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

O2n (325189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212629)

obviously... (for me at least).

Re:This isn't surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212637)

My heart is really with emacs, but vi also does out-of-memory editing by default (i.e. don't load the whole damn file into RAM), so you can just vi an ISO or a massive text file without breaking a sweat.

Does anyone know of an out-of-memory editing mode for emacs? Right now I'm using vi for very-large-file work and emacs for all my day-to-day work.

Re:This isn't surprising. (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212604)

Since when does running "vi" make you a geek? Vi is just yet another antiquated shitty text editor that should die off.

I mean am I a geek because I choose todo things the hardway? Does coding in your head straight to x86 binary code make you a geek?

Christ, grow up kids. At the very least consider a text editor that doesn't require a PhD to use. Heck, even the shitty linux OS distro's come with gedit or kedit.

Tom

Vi's longevity. (2)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212620)

Since when does running "vi" make you a geek? Vi is just yet another antiquated shitty text editor that should die off.

(-5, Troll)

--saint

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212635)

Does coding in your head straight to x86 binary code make you a geek?
um yes, I would say that makes you a quite hardcore geek...
seriously though, you might think vi is and old and hard-to-use editor, but it is popular for a reason, it's not only a 'religious' thing. once you have get used to a tool like vi it seems you're stuck for pretty much life. Got a guy at work who does everything in vi and it's not that he haven't used other editors, he's not even a unix person, pretty much pragmatic over his OS.

Re:This isn't surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212621)

"he's not some MBA who got lucky"

What have you been smoking ?

Next you'll be tell us he is a visionary that has a good understanding of technology.

Hes just another meglamainiac

Re:This isn't surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212643)

M E G A L O M A N I A C

see it, repeat it, write it down, retain it.

megalomaniac: a pathological egotist.

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212645)

He might not use the nicest of business methods, but that doesn't stop him from being a geek. BG dropped out of Uni. and yes he could code [theregister.co.uk]

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212699)

If I had enough money, I could get people to swear I can code too.

I've meet someone that I think is clued in who has been dealing with MS since 1974. The story goes that there was an op code in an assember that didn't work right. Clued in geek calls MS and talks bill into making a patch. The patch is sent out and the new opcode works if you type it in call CAPS and not will most aruments since it wasn't added to the op code table but hard coded.

So far none of the "Bill gates could code" pages ever show any code he did him self but talk about code he might have managed. Come up with some more details and maybe you'll have a point.

Re:This isn't surprising. (0)

billy_troll (567434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212624)

noits not surprising as vi is for losers.
you want the mighty emacs
it kicks your butt anytime

Wrong Way (2, Funny)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212641)

Yeah vi is for losers. Any true geek uses ed.

Re:Wrong Way (1)

birder (61402) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212704)

I use copy con [filename]

I have to rewrite my files everytime I need to make a change. Just makes me do it right the first time...

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

Kircle (564389) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212667)

Even though the article implies that Microsoft is being a hypocrite, I don't think that is this case here. Microsoft is saying that their business model is superior. I guess the best product does not always perform the best in the marketplace.

Re:This isn't surprising. (4, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212678)

I guess the best product does not always perform the best in the marketplace.

Well, shit, you just blew all my fourth grade course material on economics right out the window.

Of course it doesn't. Ever heard of BeOS, or OS/2? How about car companies like DeLorean or Tucker, or hell, even AMC?

--saint

Re:This isn't surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212732)

no bill gates uses microsoft word's voice recognition features to type all his documents now.

Re:This isn't surprising. (1)

calumr (175014) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212785)

Do you think Gates has ever tried emacs? I'd love to be a fly on the wall at that moment.

It's a weak form of Unix (5, Funny)

MBCook (132727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212579)

NT is a weak form of unix like a donught is a weak form of a particle accelerator.

Re:It's a weak form of Unix (0, Offtopic)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212597)

Check your sig. It's "repetitive".

Re:It's a weak form of Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212642)

It really pisses me off that IBM didn't take UNIX back then. We could have had UNIX everywhere now. None of that painful command.com stuff. Course, it'd probably be csh instead of bash, but nothing's perfect.

Of course, from what I've heard of SCO, we might be using a pretty awful UNIX...

Re:It's a weak form of Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212653)

Put a magnet in the hole and put it next to the local MSCE's monitor.

Re:It's a weak form of Unix (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212655)

do not underestimate the power of a doughnut

Re:It's a weak form of Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212702)

If PacMan did, we'd all be eating pills and listening to repeditive music...

Sounds like a pretty accurate description of a raver to me..

Too hard for microsoft (0, Flamebait)

SmBJ (535196) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212580)

I guess they thought ripping UNIX would be too hard.. so they just moved on to OS/2.. Can't blame them. I wouldn't want to see a blue screen on a unix-based shell..

Windows NT == VMS (5, Informative)

quark2universe (38132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212583)

"And through Windows NT, you can see it throughout the design. In a weak sense, it is a form of Unix."

Actually, Windows NT was built very much like VMS, the operating system for the VAX built by DEC. David Cutler, one of the main architects for VMS, was hired by Microsoft to build Windows NT. The name Windows NT itself is one of those HAL like play on letters where each letter is the VMS letter plus 1. WNT VMS

Re:Windows NT == VMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212611)

I've read in several books about Microsoft that NT stands for "new technology." A great book called Showstopper! has a detailed account of how NT was built.

Re:Windows NT == VMS (1)

O2n (325189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212650)

A great book called Showstopper! has a detailed account of how NT was built.

Well,this seems to me as the most inspired title a book about the origins of NT could get. Mmmm... unbeatable. Thanks, Anonymous Coward! :)

Re:Windows NT == VMS (3, Informative)

Michael Winser (27659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212791)

NT stands for n10 which was the intel codename for the i960 risc processor. The n10 was the first platform to run Windows NT.

NT actually started life as OS/2 3.0, not Windows.

Re:Windows NT == VMS (2)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212633)

In the novel 2001, the joke about HAL was that H, A, L are one letter before I, B, M, so HAL was one step ahead of IBM. (There was also an expansion of the acronym: Heuristic ALgorithmetric, I think.) Applying the same logic, are we saying that WNT is one step behind VMS?

Re:Windows NT & acronyms (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212712)

If people start using more than two acronyms per a sentence I start getting a H.E.A.D.A.C.H.E. trying to work out what it is they mean.

OS/2? (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212826)

Uhh where do people get this garbage from? A lot of the stuff from NT is from when MS and IBM were both working on OS/2. Thats why NT can run native OS/2 2.x binaries.

Huh? (1)

joshjs (533522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212585)

Doesn't windows run on top of UNIX? ;p

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212591)

Um, NO

Re:Huh? (1)

SuperCal (549671) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212648)

I remeber reading... a long time ago... that NT was going to be(is?) built on a Mach-like kernel, which, from my limited understanding is used by several UNIX OSs. This may be where the misunderstanding came from...

Re:Huh? (1)

archen (447353) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212754)

if by UNIX you mean the Internet, then yeah, sorta.

So Scientology has Xenu... (2, Funny)

dukethug (319009) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212586)

...and Microsoft has Xenix.

Coincidence? I think not.

ms agreed to never again produce a version of unix (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212592)

I heard that to settle a legal dispute MS agreed to NEVER produce a version of UNIX.

I dont have any more detail than that, can anyone back me up with details ?

a glorified email terminal (4, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212599)

When I worked at Microsoft in the early 90s, the role of Xenix was pretty much relegated to a glorified email terminal. A few old-timer people on the teams I worked with used it, and few of those people did anything but read their email remotely on the Xenix email servers. I don't recall anyone actually running Xenix on any box within their own office.

At no time did I get the impression that a developer at Microsoft felt that Xenix/UNIX was the future of the desktop. It was big, it was bloated, it couldn't run on then-current PCs well, nevermind the smaller machines of the mid-80s.

Sure, maybe there were some hold-outs in groups I didn't interact with, and I was only there long past Xenix heyday, but Xenix had no chance at the desktop, really.

Re:a glorified email terminal (1)

Chas2K (233963) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212714)

Yeah Xenix was bloated. I had the WHOLE enchilada on a 30 meg drive sharing space with DOS. Later SCO UNIX came along with X Windows and an emulator that ran MS Windows 3.x. It ran like a scalded dog on 4 meg of RAM and a shared 40 meg drive also running DOS and Windows 3.1. 20 developers and a communication app. The Xenix box cored one day, was rebooted and never went down again. The SCO UNIX box never stopped. If it didn't run well on your box it might be a personal problem.

Re:a glorified email terminal (2, Interesting)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212822)

SCO was the Santa Cruz Operation (Of Microsoft). They produced Xenix.

Xenix was a not very good Unix. It was not expecially bloated. It was not especially reliable, and not especially expensive. In fact, it was average.

However, it was promoted by MS, until they got bored with it, and sold it. I think it was a management buy-out, which involved MS agreeing never to make a competitive Unix - obviously, otherwise the management would have been shafted in weeks, when MS would have launched ZooNix or something and stolen the market, using a copy of the user base which they had "forgotten about" on a server somewhere. The Xenix name was later used for a version which could run on machines with little or no memory management - eg a 286. (Like Minix and Idris) This was a lame idea from the start, and did not survive the introduction of the 386 commercially.

Microsoft.com VS slashdot.com - NT vs Linux! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212601)

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Gates as a closet Linux user (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212603)

I can see that being revealed in the future. By day CEO of Microsoft, by night coding for 10 different free sofware projects under psuedonyms, like B1ll G4t3s.

NHS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212607)

If I remember correctly my Dad's GP surgery (England) used to use Xenix

Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212618)

Or am I smoking crack?

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212631)

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/levenez/unix/history.html

BTW, this whole "wait 20 seconds" thing is really, really, REALLY FUCKING GAY.

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (0, Redundant)

cscx (541332) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212657)

SCO had UnixWare, Xenix was Microsoft's baby.

You might want to lay off that crack you mention...

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212741)

Actually SCO did distribute SCO Xenix the name Changed to SCO Unix as it became more SYS Vr3 compliant. UnixWare happened IIRC once they (SCO) bought the Unix trademark from Novel and incorporated Novel's netware features into the OS

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (4, Informative)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212755)

>SCO had UnixWare, Xenix was Microsoft's baby.
>
>You might want to lay off that crack you
>mention...

Actually, he's not on any more crack than you.

Microsoft didn't sell Xenix directly - they licenced it to various companies, including SCO. They are the ones who actually sold Xenix for Intel processors, starting with SCO Xenix System V way back in 1983.

This is the eventually became the basis for SCO UNIX in 1989. When they released version 3.2v4.2 of this product, they also started selling it under the named Openserver and Opendesktop around 1991. Around 1995 they dropped the SCO Unix and SCO Opendesktop brandings, and sold exclusively under the name Openserver (in Host, Enterprise and Desktop configurations).

Unixware, far from being SCO's baby, was originally put out directly by AT&T's Unix System Labs back in 1992. They divested themselves rather quickly of this product by selling it to Novell in 1993, who themselves sold it to SCO in 1995.

Finally, in 2001, Caldera aquired the entire Unix division of SCO, to become the controller of the Xenix grandchild Openserver and the Unixware product lines.

Mind you, over the years SCO has stripped out virtually all of the Microsoft code in their product line, but had to go into litigation to remove some DOS compatibility code they by contract included in their software.

In any case, back to the point - SCO had 16 years of experience with Microsoft Xenix products before it even touched Unixware, and Unixware had 4 years of existence before SCO got their hands on it.

So both you and the person you responded to didn't have it quite right. :)

Matt

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212802)

Good time line but actually UnixWare was Novels product which SCO aquired in 95

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (2)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212816)

>Good time line but actually UnixWare was Novels
>product which SCO aquired in 95

Actually, I did address that:

Unixware, far from being SCO's baby, was
originally put out directly by AT&T's Unix
System Labs back in 1992. They divested
themselves rather quickly of this product by
selling it to Novell in 1993, who themselves
sold it to SCO in 1995.

It came to SCO via Novell, but before that it was a USL project.

(I am so glad that my years selling and supporting SCO have come in handy... even if it is just for Slashdot posts :P)

Matt

Re:Xenix? That's SCO's distro, isn't it? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212823)

I must be on the same crack as the parent posters

Yet more proof microsoft is actually... (0, Flamebait)

josquint (193951) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212626)

...a recycling company.

Microsoft: What do you want to redo today?

They really havnt had all that much originality(save for maybe having to hit 'start' to 'shut down')
But, there agian, why reinvent the wheel?

If its not your wheel to reinvent, though, go get your own

Re:Yet more proof microsoft is actually... (4, Funny)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212684)

Why is somebody with a URL of 'linuxdistro.com' talking about a company being bad for reinventing the wheel?

Heh, vi / groff / ntroff (1)

fire-eyes (522894) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212627)

The part that made me really laugh was how everything was written in vi on those "goddamn Xenix" boxes.

This is what I've been saying for a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212634)

Vi users are evil. Switch to Emacs before you are assimilated by the MS-borg.

Xenix was for email and little else (5, Informative)

Michael Winser (27659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212636)

Xenix was used for email and a few administrative tasks (where networked security was needed).

I joined Microsoft in 1988 and after working on QNX I was stunned at how primitive their development environment was. I would have been only too happy to develop on Unix

Instead, all development was done on PCs running DOS.

I don't know who the unnamed "former grunt" quoted in the article is but he's full of it.

"I think the original DOS might have been developed on one of their old VAX mini's but by the time I got there everything including DOS 2.x, all their languages and applications, Mac Word and Mac Excel, Windows Excel and Windows Word were written in vi and compiled on those goddamn Xenix boxes, and all their documentation was written in vi and compiled in troff and nroff. I don't think [they] really moved to the PC platform for development until around the time Windows 3.1 came out."

Re:Xenix was for email and little else (1)

uniq (109504) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212776)

I worked in the applications support group (I don't recall if that was actually the name of the group, but we supported the folks writing applications) for the first 6-7 months in 1990.

At that time, the development platform was pretty much OS/2. "NT OS/2" was out there, and I believe that's what morphed into "Windows NT" when Win 3.x proved to be extremely successful.

As others have noted, Xenix was the platform of choice for email, although I think some folks were starting to use GUIs on OS/2. At that time, Microsoft was still getting mail via UUCP, too, and I'm not sure what UUCP software was around for OS/2... ;-)

Emacs vs Vi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212644)

Now if Bill Gates used vi then it's obvious that
vi sucks and emacs rulez ;)

Microsoft and UNIX (5, Informative)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212665)

Microsoft dropped UNIX when they hired Dave Cuttler, from Digital, to create NT. Dave, of course, helped create VMS, and hated UNIX with a passion for it's lack of direction.

Re:Microsoft and UNIX (5, Informative)

dhogaza (64507) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212727)

I think Cutler's dislike of Unix is as much jealousy as anything. His first effort at DEC, RSX-11M, was unloved by any user I ever talked to - including myself (who used it as rarely as possible). Unix was ported to the VAX shortly after the machine was released, and immediately became popular in the University environment, much as Unix for the PDP-11 had. When the arrival of the M68K triggered the appearance of cheap M68K boxes Unix exploded in popularity. Unix became so popular that DEC ended up having to provide it, as well as VMS, for VAX systems. This decision created a great deal of bitterness among those in DEC VMS software engineering who openly disliked Unix and felt betrayed by management.

With NT, Cutler finally designed and helped implement an operating system explicitly meant to run on multiple hardware platforms, about 20 years after the second implementation of Unix in C made its debut.

Cutler's spent most of his life trying to snuff Unix, poor boy. The booming popularity of Linux in the server world running on those PCs must be incredibly frustrating to the NT hackers at MS who thought they were going to finally drive the last nails into the Unix coffin ...

Re:Microsoft and UNIX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212781)

If Dave hates UNIX because of its 'lack of direction'

1) What does he think of the 'change of direction' from 3.1 NT to today?
2) Linux, give how scatter-shot its development is.

If Bill didn't abandon Xenix... (1)

Hank Kingsley (197213) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212679)


Or if Microsoft had stuck with Xenix rather than throwing it back into the pot... But enough of that.

That was actually the most interesting speculation. What if MS kept Xenix and was successful with it? Considering its history co-opting & corrupting good technology, and its propensity toward monopolization through its proprietary property, perhaps Xenix would be the only widely implemented form of *nix around today. And if we still had a Linux, it might be a whole different OS.

UNIX! (0, Troll)

qslack (239825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212689)

Ha-ha. Microsoft had a product named "UNIX." That's such a stupid name, obviously no one there ever said it out loud.

M$ sucks!

</sarcasm> :)

Brighten up everyone!!! (4, Insightful)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212692)

There are so many post I'd like to respond to that instead I'll post my replys in this one big message.
First of all, to the moderator who moderated to 0 the comment about NT meaning "New Technology", go read a little and you'll find out that it's true.
Second of all, Microsoft didn't rip off Unix. No sir they didn't. They just applied concepts that everyone has been incorporating for years in their OSes. It's like saying that the Saturn cars are ripping the 1900's Fords because Ford has been here for almost a century (I think, maybe it's some other company).
Third, if you've programmed a lot in Windows, you'll notice that the API is very different then it's Unix conterpart, and by that I don,t mean only different names for same methods. Ever noticed that everything in Windows is centralized around handles, objects and the WaitForSingleObject/WaitForMultipleObject that are used everywhere in the OS to wait for something to complete/release/signal/join? That's pretty elegant, and it enables a user to lock a lot of different resources (mutexes, event, thread, semaphores, sockets) all in once, helping to avoid some pretty nasty deadlocks sometimes. Unix and Linux doesn't have these. Go through the API, you'll say that it's very rich and not that much borrowed from Unix.
There are a lot of other Microsoft myths out there, and I guess that's because a lot of people just think they know stuff because they know how to recompile their kernel, when in fact they know "shit" about OS infrastructure and concepts.

Re:Brighten up everyone!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212794)

Bullshit. It must be such a boring rainey day in Redmond that you have to write about users...users locking resources all at once. M$ api's are nothing but bloated undocumented class upon class upon class garbage that m$ spews out for everybody else to use while the use the secret hooks to make their programs work better then everybody elses.

Tell Bill to get his dick out of your ass and maybe you'll be able to think clearer in the morning.

fa! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212711)

The person they interviewed sounds like a total luser. Poor sod, can't even write programs in vi, as if it was a programming language to begin with.

ATT's "failure" to properly manage UNIX (5, Informative)

mikewas (119762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212718)

ATT had no reason to "properly manage" UNIX. ATT's forays into areas that the FCC deemed outside of the realm of telecommunications (i.e. computer HW & SW) resulted in a a choice for ATT:
1. retain the telecommunications monopoly but refrain from any money-making ventures outside of the telecom area
2. become a real business, make money on anything you want, and open up competition in telecommunications.

ATT chose choice #1 -- retain the monopoly. This was for them a sure thing. They had always managed to retain the monopoly in the past and it provided a steady source of income. Computers were new, and internally were not percieved as a consumer item.

So at the time Bill was talking about ATT, the UNIX development/administration/lisencing was, by legal necesity, not a money-making area for ATT. UNIX was a tool to develop telecom products, the real business of ATT. Giving the technology away and managing the process "for the public good" was a means to demonstrate that it was not a money-making venture as well as a way to trumpet Bell Labs. It didn't recieve the best support from management, though, as they were focused on the money-making areas of the business.

On the other hand, the statement that ATT didn't know what they had, was that ever true! Once they did figure it out it was too late, they were legally barred from that market untl after deregulation (nothing is forever!) -- too late!

msdos ...? (5, Funny)

rkoot (557181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212722)

Wasn't QDOS short for Quick 'n Dirty Operating System ? Must have been....
And that way MS-DOS isn't Microsoft Disk Operating System but Microsoft's Dirty Operating System.
First they took out the Quick Bits and kept the dirty bits....

roger

Spin is not correct (3, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212738)

Bill Gates was the keynote speaker at the Trenton Computer Festival in the early 90's. He spoke about His Vision, which included a processor per person, or even more. He said "There are more people running DOS than anything else". Later, when he took questions, I asked him about Unix: "But each Unix machine serves multiple people at the same time". He countered that with "Unix isn't the future."
-russ

Sinix (2, Informative)

motox (312416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212748)

I also worked on Siemens SINIX and most of the kernel includes were (C) Microsoft Corporation :)

Road Ahead (1)

desierto (568467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3212767)

So what your saying is that to get started out on the Road Ahead, Mr. Gates needed a jumpstart from a unix beater or a vax cadillac, and his driving manual was written in vi?

There is no contradiction in MS philosophy here (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3212777)

I don't see how Microsoft incorporating UNIX pirinciples into NT demonstrates any hypocrisy on their part. When they said they wanted a different business model and direction than UNIX, yet expounded UNIX for its technical elegance and power, how can this be rectified?

Well, they incorporated UNIX principles as desired into a new system that they felt could gain wider desktop acceptance.

If the author is indignant that MS rejected the precious UN*X philosophy (whose design goals could arguably be mutually exclusive with widespread desktop acceptance), he should just say it. If he really doesn't understand, his reasoning faculties should be brought into question.
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