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From: a...@herman.UUCP (Alan Kiecker)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <171@herman.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 9-Jan-87 18:03:16 EST
Article-I.D.: herman.171
Posted: Fri Jan  9 18:03:16 1987
Date-Received: Sat, 10-Jan-87 23:50:05 EST
Organization: Unisys Inc.-CSD  Eagan,MN
Lines: 23
Keywords: why


Please, first accept my most humble apologies if this is not the correct
newsgroup to post this request. We don't subscribe to all the newsgroups
and, of the ones we do get, this one appeared to be the most appropriate.


One of our directors is on an advisory board to one of our state colleges.
Currently the college is using a VAX VMS system, but is considering moving
over to UNIX. He has been asked why it would be beneficial for the students
to learn UNIX; i.e. why should the college bother to convert. If anyone has
any comments, I would appreciate it, and will forward them on to our
director. 

(Yeah, I know that UNIX is the greatest thing since [ ... insert your own 
favorite here ...], but what are the REAL reasons that a college would
want its students to learn UNIX).

In advance, I thank any and all who may be so inclined to respond.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Al Kiecker			UUCP:	mecc!herman!alan
Unisys - Computer Systems Div.		ihnp4!{bonnie,clyde}!herman!alan
Eagan,MN				mecc!emspxnx!alan
(612)681-6475

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Path: utzoo!mnetor!seismo!rutgers!mit-eddie!bu-cs!bzs
From: b...@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Barry Shein)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <3353@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Date: Sun, 11-Jan-87 01:49:24 EST
Article-I.D.: bu-cs.3353
Posted: Sun Jan 11 01:49:24 1987
Date-Received: Sun, 11-Jan-87 04:36:18 EST
Organization: Boston U. Comp. Sci.
Lines: 83


From: a...@herman.UUCP (Alan Kiecker)
>One of our directors is on an advisory board to one of our state colleges.
>Currently the college is using a VAX VMS system, but is considering moving
>over to UNIX. He has been asked why it would be beneficial for the students
>to learn UNIX; i.e. why should the college bother to convert. If anyone has
>any comments, I would appreciate it, and will forward them on to our
>director. 

First off, the question is not phrased all that well. Do the students
actually plan on "using" UNIX to actually study other things like
programming, compiler design, numerical analysis etc or is the plan
to "learn UNIX"? Well, there's a subtlety there somewhere. Here's
my list anyhow:

	1. Business perspective - Unix offers the college "vendor
	independence", particularly after the first change. Whereas
	VMS is sold only by DEC (and at a hefty cost for both hardware
	and software) there are literally dozens of vendors selling
	UNIX systems ranging from PCs the students can buy for their
	homes to the largest systems on earth. This trend is expected
	to accelerate in the near future.

	This means that this and future acquisitions can be considered
	competitively and better matched with the price and performance
	needs of both the institution and the students.

	2. Industry/University Relations - you can re-read #1 and
	consider what this may mean in terms of involvement between
	the college and interests of those dozens of vendors (and
	their customers) in regards research, internships etc.

	3. Job Perspectives - I invite you to pick up the Sunday
	employment section of a major newspaper (try the Boston Globe)
	and make a hash mark every time you see a UNIX position and
	others. It should be revealing.

	Honeywell noted this week they were introducing a new UNIX
	system because 67% of all new US Govt RFPs are requiring
	UNIX.

	4. Academic considerations - Unix has been highly praised
	for its consistent goals based upon innovative principles
	of software engineering and design. VMS is expensive.

	5. Commonality - Over 90% of all CS departments in the US
	use UNIX. This is most reflected in the number of texts
	available, check out any large college bookstore and compare
	the number of titles available in various computing subjects
	that are available either on UNIX "the O/S", UNIX as an
	application base, a compiler development environment, a systems
	environment or related (eg. Franz Lisp, UCB Pascal, C, ICON,
	modern networking.) Try to find VMS books...

	6. Manuals - The full set of UNIX manuals is readily available
	and inexpensive (a very complete set should cost around $100,
	a more than adequate set probably less half that.) In addition
	to this are many tutorials, self-help etc books available in
	most bookstores. VMS manual sets are several times more
	expensive and not readily available. I've never seen a tutorial
	or self-help type book on VMS in the popular press tho it's
	possible there is one available, anything is possible.

	7. Personal Development - UNIX is available for the home and
	promises to be more so in the very near future, this will
	almost certainly never be true for VMS. Although one can
	argue that this would tend one towards MS/DOS it hardly fulfills
	all the other goals (you didn't ask about MS/DOS anyhow.)

	8. Faculty hiring - If 90% of all CS depts use UNIX there must
	be a few people out there available to teach it.

	9. Future - I'll make the brash prediction here that VMS has
	around 2-5 years (max) left. I don't consider it very responsible
	to teach students a system who's days are numbered. The VAX line
	itself (which VMS is hopelessly tied to) seems to be nearing the
	end of its useful life span.

	10. UNIX has better games :-)

Cheers.

		-Barry Shein, Boston University

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Path: utzoo!mnetor!seismo!rochester!cornell!batcomputer!garry
From: ga...@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu (Garry Wiegand)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <1993@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu>
Date: Sun, 11-Jan-87 14:45:24 EST
Article-I.D.: batcompu.1993
Posted: Sun Jan 11 14:45:24 1987
Date-Received: Mon, 12-Jan-87 05:35:57 EST
Reply-To: garry%cadif-...@cu-arpa.cs.cornell.edu
Organization: Cornell Engineering && Flying Moose Graphics
Lines: 123

Oh here we go to the wars again! A lot of what Barry says is perfectly
true, but allow me to edit a few:

In a recent article b...@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Barry Shein) wrote:
>From: a...@herman.UUCP (Alan Kiecker)
>>One of our directors is on an advisory board to one of our state colleges.
>>Currently the college is using a VAX VMS system, but is considering moving
>>over to UNIX...
>...
>
>	1. Business perspective - Unix offers the college "vendor
>	independence", particularly after the first change. Whereas
>	VMS is sold only by DEC (and at a hefty cost for both hardware
>	and software)... 

Unix licenses and source are derived only from AT&T and there is no "vendor
independence" for the software (though there's rumors of new Unixae...)
If you mean "it runs on more CPUs", this is assuredly true.

"Hefty cost": Last time I had need to inquire, commercial Unix for large 
machines was priced comparably to commercial VMS. *Both* big $$$$. And I 
thought AT&T was going to stop giving free Unixes to universities. Can 
anybody comment?

>	2. Industry/University Relations - 

true

>	3. Job Perspectives - I invite you to pick up the Sunday
>	employment section of a major newspaper (try the Boston Globe)
>	and make a hash mark every time you see a UNIX position and
>	others. It should be revealing...

possibly true - I don't get the Globe. (I *thought* the most popular
was something called "OS/MVS" :-)

>
>	4. Academic considerations - Unix has been highly praised
>	for its consistent goals based upon innovative principles
>	of software engineering and design. VMS is expensive.

The Unix kernel is excellently designed. FLAME ON  The Unix utilities,
from a high-quality software-engineering point of view, are trash. Which
what the students have to contend with. FLAME OFF   You're repeating
yourself about "expensive".

>	5. Commonality - Over 90% of all CS departments in the US
>	use UNIX...[describes Unix-related books]... Try to find VMS books...

CS - true (Unix was free for years - excellent marketing move) 

Books - true. But not very interesting. The Unix utilities that are well-enough
written that someone can actually document them seem to be well-enough written
that they also run fine under VMS when I try them.

>	6. Manuals - The full set of UNIX manuals is readily available
>	and inexpensive (a very complete set should cost around $100,
>	a more than adequate set probably less half that.) ...
>	VMS manual sets are several times more...
>	expensive and not readily available. I've never seen a tutorial
>	or self-help type book on VMS in the popular press...

Not fair. The Unix manuals are cheap because they:

	1) Are cryptic and obscure,
	2) Are not kept up-to-date,
	3) Contain no examples,
	4) Contain no index,
	5) Assume that you're a wizard.

DEC publishes a number of "tutorial and self-help" books -- there aren't
the popular press books partly because the original manufacturer has acted
responsibly and published them itself. After all, would you prefer to buy 
a "Guide to programming in Fortran on XXX" or "Guide to Text Editing" from 
the manufacturer or from some unknown hacker author?

>	7. Personal Development - UNIX is available for the home and
>	promises to be more so in the very near future, this will
>	almost certainly never be true for VMS....

true (although personal uVAXes are getting closer and closer...)

>	8. Faculty hiring - If 90% of all CS depts use UNIX there must
>	be a few people out there available to teach it.

true. But the professors I've encountered avoid at all costs discussing
practicalities like "talking gracefully to the system", so their presumed
expertise won't help the students.

>	9. Future - I'll make the brash prediction here that VMS has
>	around 2-5 years (max) left. I don't consider it very responsible
>	to teach students a system who's days are numbered. The VAX line
>	itself (which VMS is hopelessly tied to) seems to be nearing the
>	end of its useful life span.

yes, there are indeed starting to be rumors around of what's next - I'm
looking forward to it eagerly!  Unix is now 15 years old, VMS is now 8
years old, it's most certainly time to get on to the next generation!

>	10. UNIX has better games :-)

true

I've tried to limit myself to saying which of your reasons for changing
I don't consider valid; I haven't gone into all the obvious reasons for 
*not* changing (the original poster didn't ask for them.)

But I will mention one: well-thought-out and graceful user interfaces are
very important to me, and I suspect as time goes on they will become more
important to the rest of the world too. It *pains* me for students to be 
subjected to Unix first, with commands and error messages that read like 
modem noise, and for them thus never to be aware that the user interface is 
something anybody considers worth worrying about. 

Enough said.

>		-Barry Shein, Boston University

garry wiegand   (garry%cadif-...@cu-arpa.cs.cornell.edu)

PS - I'm looking forward to our new Cornell/Dec pricing agreement -
     they're bundling in bunches of interesting compilers and layered
     products for a cheap flat price.

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Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!rutgers!im4u!ut-sally!utah-cs!cetron
From: cet...@utah-cs.UUCP
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <4171@utah-cs.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 16-Jan-87 13:18:47 EST
Article-I.D.: utah-cs.4171
Posted: Fri Jan 16 13:18:47 1987
Date-Received: Sat, 17-Jan-87 04:51:54 EST
References: <3353@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <3700002@hpfcph.HP.COM>
Reply-To: cet...@utah-cs.UUCP (Edward J Cetron)
Organization: Center for Engineering Design, Univ of Utah
Lines: 31

In article <3700...@hpfcph.HP.COM> da...@hpfcph.HP.COM ( Dale McCluskey) writes:

>Two comments.  First, while UNIX manuals aren't designed with beginners in
>mind, they DO tell you a great deal that you will have trouble finding in
>VMS manuals - file formats, for instance.  Second, UNIX is a fairly open 
>system that encourages experimenting.  This is aided by the information   
>available in the manuals.

	hmm, I seem to remember seeing file formats, data representations, and
lots of other goodies in my manual set....and at least the vms guides tell you
exactly what the program will do (ever try to actually figure out how to use
badsect or bad144 from their manual pages????)
	And lets face it, to really experiment you have to read the code
anyway for both systems :-)

>
>It is also very  flexible.  An example of this is that one could write a
>shell that would run on UNIX and look like DCL (VMS's shell),  but you
>would have a pretty tough time doing the reverse.

	funny, I know of now dcl shells for unix, but I know of two vms
'shells' which emulate unix (including pipes, redirection...) and only
one of the two is from dec (the other is public domain) and at least two
full unix emulators (more than just the shell, libraries, system calls, etc)
for vms - has anyone yet seen a vms emulator for unix ???  :-)

-ed cetron
center for engineering design
cetron%utah-...@utah-cs.arpa
cet...@ced.utah.edu
cet...@utahcca.bitnet

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Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!cbatt!cwruecmp!nitrex!rbl
From: r...@nitrex.UUCP
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <406@nitrex.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 16-Jan-87 13:36:15 EST
Article-I.D.: nitrex.406
Posted: Fri Jan 16 13:36:15 1987
Date-Received: Sat, 17-Jan-87 07:45:40 EST
References: <171@herman.UUCP>
Reply-To: r...@nitrex.UUCP ( Dr. Robin Lake )
Organization: The Standard Oil Co., Cleveland
Lines: 27


<Excluding the original article to save net bandwidth>

I taught UNIX in a Computer Applications graduate program (since early
1970's) before joining industry and still serve on a couple of college
advisory committees.  In addition to Barry Shein's excellent comments
already posted about Why UNIX, there's at least one other factor:

	UNIX, with it's pipe feature and the excellent Software Tools
	books to back it up, serves well in teaching students how to
	quickly analyze an end-user's real needs and quickly prototype
	a solution.  The fast analysis/prototype cycle results in systems
	which more closely meet user needs.
	Of course, there are other neat software concepts that may have
	originated within UNIX and C, but they are now more widely
	available.

"The largest impediment to technology transfer (into industry) may be
the existing skill set of the people already there."

Rob Lake
decvax!cwruecmp!nitrex!rbl
cbatt!nitrex!rbl

Disclaimer: The above opinions reflect my own opinion, expressed under
my adjunct academic appointment's freedom of expression and in no way
reflect any opinion of my employer.

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Posting-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!henry
From: he...@utzoo.UUCP (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <7532@utzoo.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 16-Jan-87 16:41:40 EST
Article-I.D.: utzoo.7532
Posted: Fri Jan 16 16:41:40 1987
Date-Received: Fri, 16-Jan-87 16:41:40 EST
References: <1993@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu>
Organization: U of Toronto Zoology
Lines: 13

> ... After all, would you prefer to buy 
> a "Guide to programming in Fortran on XXX" or "Guide to Text Editing" from 
> the manufacturer or from some unknown hacker author?

Better still, from some known-to-be-good hacker author.  Given only the
choice you present, probably from some unknown hacker author, since it is
a well-known law of nature :-) that manufacturers are incapable of writing
inexpensive readable documentation.  What I've seen on VMS -- admittedly I
have not looked hard, since neither VMS nor VAXen are cost-effective any
more -- has not been an exception.
-- 
Legalize			Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology
freedom!			{allegra,ihnp4,decvax,pyramid}!utzoo!henry

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Path: utzoo!mnetor!seismo!mimsy!chris
From: ch...@mimsy.UUCP (Chris Torek)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <5097@mimsy.UUCP>
Date: Sat, 17-Jan-87 19:12:04 EST
Article-I.D.: mimsy.5097
Posted: Sat Jan 17 19:12:04 1987
Date-Received: Sun, 18-Jan-87 00:47:57 EST
References: <3353@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <3700002@hpfcph.HP.COM> <4171@utah-cs.UUCP>
Organization: U of Maryland, Dept. of Computer Science, Coll. Pk., MD 20742
Lines: 26

In article <4...@utah-cs.UUCP> cet...@utah-cs.UUCP (Edward J Cetron) writes:
>... I know of now dcl shells for unix, but I know of two vms
>'shells' which emulate unix (including pipes, redirection...) ...
>and at least two full unix emulators (more than just the shell,
>libraries, system calls, etc) for vms - has anyone yet seen a vms
>emulator for unix ???  :-)

It takes two things to build an emulator for another system:
ability and desire.

I wonder which is missing? :-)

That VMS is able to emulate Unix demonstrates its flexibility.
What does the fact that such emulators are used say about VMS's
desirability? :-)

Small serious note:  I doubt Unix would be able to emulate VMS
efficiently without at least some minor kernel hacks.  There really
*are* some good ideas in VMS.  Most hardcore Unix hacker will admit
this.  There are also some really bad ideas.  Most hardcore VMS
fans will admit this.  It works the other way too.  Personally, I
prefer Unix, but as Kirk said of the tribbles, there is no accounting
for tastes. :-)
-- 
In-Real-Life: Chris Torek, Univ of MD Comp Sci Dept (+1 301 454 7690)
UUCP:	seismo!mimsy!chris	ARPA/CSNet:	ch...@mimsy.umd.edu

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Path: utzoo!mnetor!seismo!rochester!cornell!batcomputer!garry
From: ga...@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu (Garry Wiegand)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <2083@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu>
Date: Tue, 20-Jan-87 04:01:06 EST
Article-I.D.: batcompu.2083
Posted: Tue Jan 20 04:01:06 1987
Date-Received: Tue, 20-Jan-87 23:59:54 EST
Reply-To: garry%cadif-...@cu-arpa.cs.cornell.edu
Organization: Cornell Engineering && Flying Moose Graphics
Lines: 11

In a recent article r...@nitrex.UUCP ( Dr. Robin Lake ) wrote:
>	UNIX, with it's pipe feature and the excellent Software Tools
>	books to back it up, serves well in teaching students how to
>	quickly analyze an end-user's real needs and quickly prototype
>	a solution.  The fast analysis/prototype cycle results in systems...

WHAT IN THE HOLY GOOD GOD EARTH DO PIPES HAVE TO DO WITH RAPID PROTOTYPING????

This article sounds like a snow job...   growl.

garry wiegand   (garry%cadif-...@cu-arpa.cs.cornell.edu)

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Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!rutgers!mit-eddie!cybvax0!frog!john
From: j...@frog.UUCP
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <1238@frog.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 27-Jan-87 22:49:00 EST
Article-I.D.: frog.1238
Posted: Tue Jan 27 22:49:00 1987
Date-Received: Thu, 29-Jan-87 03:47:48 EST
References: <2083@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu>
Organization: Superfrog Heaven [ CRDS, Framingham MA ]
Lines: 31

> In a recent article r...@nitrex.UUCP ( Dr. Robin Lake ) wrote:
> >	UNIX, with it's pipe feature and the excellent Software Tools
> >	books to back it up, serves well in teaching students how to
> >	quickly analyze an end-user's real needs and quickly prototype
> >	a solution.  The fast analysis/prototype cycle results in systems...
> 
> WHAT IN THE HOLY GOOD GOD EARTH DO PIPES HAVE TO DO WITH RAPID PROTOTYPING??
> 
> This article sounds like a snow job...   growl.
> 
> garry wiegand   (garry%cadif-...@cu-arpa.cs.cornell.edu)

A quick spelling checker:

tr '\t ' '\n' | sort | uniq | comm -23 - /usr/lib/dict/wordlist

Took me 3 minutes to write, including fishing around for the manual.

Given this, I can try it out, spell a few documents, and discover what I
need to add.  Eventually I'll reach the point where I ought to code it in
C, but by then I'll have a very good idea of how it should work.

Note that I used 3 pipes and 4 "Software Tools" that perform limited,
precisely describable jobs.


--
John Woods, Charles River Data Systems, Framingham MA, (617) 626-1101
...!decvax!frog!john, ...!mit-eddie!jfw, jfw%mit-...@MIT-XX.ARPA

 WITH YOUR MESSAGE ***

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Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!rutgers!mit-eddie!bacchus!husc6!ut-sally!utah-cs!cetron
From: cet...@utah-cs.UUCP
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX
Message-ID: <4221@utah-cs.UUCP>
Date: Wed, 28-Jan-87 11:42:47 EST
Article-I.D.: utah-cs.4221
Posted: Wed Jan 28 11:42:47 1987
Date-Received: Thu, 29-Jan-87 06:18:12 EST
References: <2083@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu> <1238@frog.UUCP>
Reply-To: cet...@utah-cs.UUCP (Edward J Cetron)
Organization: Center for Engineering Design, Univ of Utah
Lines: 32

In article <1...@frog.UUCP> j...@frog.UUCP (John Woods, Software) writes:
->> In a recent article r...@nitrex.UUCP ( Dr. Robin Lake ) wrote:
->> >	UNIX, with it's pipe feature and the excellent Software Tools
->> >	books to back it up, serves well in teaching students how to
->> 
->> WHAT IN THE HOLY GOOD GOD EARTH DO PIPES HAVE TO DO WITH RAPID PROTOTYPING??
->> 
->> This article sounds like a snow job...   growl.
->> 
->> garry wiegand   (garry%cadif-...@cu-arpa.cs.cornell.edu)
->
->A quick spelling checker:
->
->tr '\t ' '\n' | sort | uniq | comm -23 - /usr/lib/dict/wordlist
->
->Took me 3 minutes to write, including fishing around for the manual.
->
		.....

->Note that I used 3 pipes and 4 "Software Tools" that perform limited,
->precisely describable jobs.
->

hmm, this fascinated me... so I decided to try it, and it worked, and I did
it as written on my VMS machine....  Now, explain to me why if I can do this
on my UNIX machine  AND I can do it on my VMS  machine, why UNIX is better 
than VMS.

-ed cetron
 
in fact, I then went and tried it on my RSX-11M+ machine, hmmm, worked there
two.....this is getting strange :-)

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!rutgers!uwvax!mcvoy
From: mc...@uwvax.UUCP
Newsgroups: comp.unix.questions
Subject: Re: why learn UNIX (because it's there)
Message-ID: <3172@rsch.WISC.EDU>
Date: Wed, 28-Jan-87 18:46:15 EST
Article-I.D.: rsch.3172
Posted: Wed Jan 28 18:46:15 1987
Date-Received: Fri, 30-Jan-87 00:48:12 EST
References: <2083@batcomputer.tn.cornell.edu> <1238@frog.UUCP> <4221@utah-cs.UUCP>
Reply-To: mc...@rsch.WISC.EDU (Lawrence W. McVoy)
Followup-To: /dev/null  ||  mcvoy@rsch
Organization: U of Wisconsin CS Dept
Lines: 29

In article <4...@utah-cs.UUCP> cet...@utah-cs.UUCP (Edward J Cetron) writes:

    [spelling prog w/ lots of parts & pipes]

    hmm, this fascinated me... so I decided to try it, and it worked, and I did
    it as written on my VMS machine....  Now, explain to me why if I can do this
    on my UNIX machine  AND I can do it on my VMS  machine, why UNIX is better 
    than VMS.

Well, how about this: pipes, like many other innovative and unique
ideas, were found on Unix first.  Pipes, and other tools, are slowly
becoming implemented in other systems, such as yours.

So why is Unix better?  Well, tell me, ed, how long have pipes been
available on your machine?  Not very long, I'll bet.  While you have
been starting to use some of the ideas founded by Unix hackers, those
hackers have not been sitting idle.  They're off hacking on something
new.  You know, networks, and graphics, and window managers.  Stuff you
hear Unix types talking about and wish you had (or would wish you had
if you knew what it was).  Unix is good because it's an environment
made for and used by programmers.  That encourages new ideas, ideas
that you will (eventually) use.

'Nuff said, I don't want to start any wars, so follow up to me.
-- 
Larry McVoy 	        mc...@rsch.wisc.edu, 
      		        {seismo, topaz, harvard, ihnp4, etc}!uwvax!mcvoy

"They're coming soon!  Quad-stated guru-gates!"

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