Tech Insider					   Technology and Trends


			   USENET Archives

Path: utzoo!mnetor!uunet!longway!std-unix
From: std-u...@longway.TIC.COM (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)
Newsgroups: comp.std.unix
Subject: Re: UNIX standard
Message-ID: <147@longway.TIC.COM>
Date: 25 Mar 88 18:45:25 GMT
Reply-To: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)
Organization: Eaton Inc. IMSD, Westlake Village, CA
Lines: 21
Keywords: UNIX SPARC
Summary: Will UNIX become hardware dependent?
Approved: j...@longway.tic.com (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)

From: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)

   We recently had some SUN reps come to give a presentation about SPARC.
   They were strongly suggesting that due to their relationship with AT&T
   (that is AT&T will soon sell SPARC) it will soon be the case that if you
   are not a SPARC machine you will not *really* be UNIX compatible. They
   were talking about a coming binary standard, so that you could buy a
   program written for UNIX and know that it would run on your UNIX machine
   the same way you know that PC software will always run on your Intel/PC.
   This binary standard would assumably be based on the SPARC instruction
   set.
   Is this stuff true or is it just marketing hype? Is UNIX really going to
   become hardware dependent? What about all of us out here with our 680x0
   or 80x86 or VAXen or whatever? Are we going to be second-class UNIX users,
   unable to run the bulk of UNIX software? Can anybody out there clarify
   this?

   -----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Any opinion expressed above is mine only. {ihnp4 or voder}!wlbr!etn-rad!jru

Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 34

Path: utzoo!utgpu!water!watmath!clyde!att-cb!osu-cis!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!
mailrus!umix!uunet!longway!std-unix
From: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)
Newsgroups: comp.std.unix
Subject: Re: UNIX standard
Summary: Not Likely
Keywords: UNIX SPARC
Message-ID: <150@longway.TIC.COM>
Date: 27 Mar 88 21:06:01 GMT
References: <147@longway.TIC.COM>
Sender: std-u...@longway.TIC.COM
Reply-To: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)
Organization: Silicon Graphics Inc, Mountain View, CA
Lines: 63
Approved: j...@longway.tic.com (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)

From: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)

In article <1...@longway.TIC.COM>:
> From: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)
> 
>    We recently had some SUN reps come to give a presentation about SPARC.
>    They were strongly suggesting that due to their relationship with AT&T
>    (that is AT&T will soon sell SPARC) it will soon be the case that if you
>    are not a SPARC machine you will not *really* be UNIX compatible. They
>    were talking about a coming binary standard, so that you could buy a
>    program written for UNIX and know that it would run on your UNIX machine
>    the same way you know that PC software will always run on your Intel/PC.
>    This binary standard would assumably be based on the SPARC instruction
>    set.
>    Is this stuff true or is it just marketing hype? Is UNIX really going to
>    become hardware dependent? What about all of us out here with our 680x0
>    or 80x86 or VAXen or whatever? Are we going to be second-class UNIX users,
>    unable to run the bulk of UNIX software? Can anybody out there clarify
>    this?
> 
>    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
>    Any opinion expressed above is mine only. {ihnp4 or voder}!wlbr!etn-rad!jru
> 
> Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 34

Before one bites too hard on this hype, you should remember that Sun will
soon be selling 80386 based boxes.  How can they sell said systems if
they aren't standard UNIX?  What about all those Sun-3's out there, do they
suddenly become useless to everybody?

You should also check out AT&T's side of the story, which is different
than Sun's.  As far as they are concerned, there will be a binary standard
for UNIX for every type of processor.  Thus, there will be a SPARC ABI,
but it will be just one out of the collection, including 386 ABI
(signed with Microsoft just last year), 68K ABI (signed with Motorola
very recently) and others on the way.

Sun would like to be the IBM of the workstation industry.  Backward technology,
marketing hype, trashing competitors and the like.  AT&T doesn't even claim
that SPARC is state-of-the-art, or best performance anymore either.  Just
that it is standard (Remember, what an "open standard" is by the new rules:
I design something I like, publish barely enough information for somebody
else to >expensively< duplicate it, and proclaim it a standard.  I don't
need your concurrence or opinions, nor do I wan't them.  After all, you
might have a better idea ...).

Finally, think about a sales organization that would send their salepeople
out with such a story.  You are obviously concerned by it, and see the 
flaws.  They trash their own current and future sales of 386 and 68K boxes
to scare you into buying SPARC boxes. 

Would you buy a computer from these people?

[ Ok, folks:  this is a technical newsgroup, for technical discussions.
It's hard to talk about standards without talking about politics, but
let's try to avoid casting aspersions on companies or people.  -mod ]

-- Jim Barton
Silicon Graphics Computing Systems    "UNIX: Live Free Or Die!"
j...@sgi.sgi.com, sgi!...@decwrl.dec.com, ...{decwrl,sun}!sgi!jmb
--

Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 37

Path: utzoo!mnetor!uunet!longway!std-unix
From: std-u...@longway.TIC.COM (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)
Newsgroups: comp.std.unix
Subject: Re: UNIX standard
Message-ID: <151@longway.TIC.COM>
Date: 28 Mar 88 18:28:01 GMT
References: <147@longway.TIC.COM> <150@longway.TIC.COM>
Reply-To: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)
Organization: Eaton Inc. IMSD, Westlake Village, CA
Lines: 32
Keywords: UNIX SPARC
Approved: j...@longway.tic.com (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)

From: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)

In article <1...@longway.TIC.COM>:
>From: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)
>
>In article <1...@longway.TIC.COM>:
>> From: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)
>> 
>>    We recently had some SUN reps come to give a presentation about SPARC.
>>    They were strongly suggesting that due to their relationship with AT&T
>>    (that is AT&T will soon sell SPARC) it will soon be the case that if you
>>    are not a SPARC machine you will not *really* be UNIX compatible. They
>
>Finally, think about a sales organization that would send their salepeople
>out with such a story.  You are obviously concerned by it, and see the 
.....
  I realized after posting this article that it sounded critical of SUN,
  and might result in some flames in their direction. That was not at all
  my intention. SUN is an excellent company, and thay have always supported 
  us well. My question was actually more concerned with the future of UNIX
  as an open standard. Obviously keeping UNIX open is a double edged sword 
  for AT&T, they gain great credit as the source of the most widely accepted
  non-hardware dependent OS, but does it really benefit the sales of their
  machines? If AT&T were ever to pick a hardware standard as the basis for
  a product dependent UNIX, the SPARC would be an excellent choice. The 
  real question, I suppose, is can an open standard like UNIX really survive
  in today's feircely competitive marketplace?

  -----------------------------------------------------------------------
  Any opinions expressed above are mine only. {ihnp4 or voder}!wlbr!etn-rad!jru

Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 38

Path: utzoo!mnetor!uunet!longway!std-unix
From: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)
Newsgroups: comp.std.unix
Subject: Re: UNIX standard
Message-ID: <152@longway.TIC.COM>
Date: 29 Mar 88 17:23:10 GMT
References: <147@longway.TIC.COM> <150@longway.TIC.COM> <151@longway.TIC.COM>
Sender: std-u...@longway.TIC.COM
Reply-To: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)
Organization: Silicon Graphics Inc, Mountain View, CA
Lines: 79
Keywords: UNIX SPARC
Summary: Oh no, back again ...
Approved: j...@longway.tic.com (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)

From: j...@patton.SGI.COM (Jim Barton)

Having been justifiably chastised by the moderator, I'll keep my personal
opinions to myself, and stick with the issue at hand, which is "standard"
UNIX.

In article <1...@longway.TIC.COM>:
> From: uunet!wlbr.eaton.com!etn-rad!jru (John Unekis)
   ...
> 
>   ........ My question was actually more concerned with the future of UNIX
>   as an open standard. Obviously keeping UNIX open is a double edged sword 
>   for AT&T, they gain great credit as the source of the most widely accepted
>   non-hardware dependent OS, but does it really benefit the sales of their
>   machines? If AT&T were ever to pick a hardware standard as the basis for
>   a product dependent UNIX, the SPARC would be an excellent choice. The 
>   real question, I suppose, is can an open standard like UNIX really survive
>   in today's feircely competitive marketplace?
> 

AT&T has some real problems in attempting to manage UNIX, and looks to Sun
to solve some of them.  There are several points to consider about the
current mess:

1) AT&T >owns< UNIX, and don't you forget it.  Sun doesn't own it, Berkeley
   doesn't, and CMU doesn't.  They feel very strongly about it.

2) Cassoni (President of AT&T Data Systems) believes that a hardware
   platform is necessary to the success of UNIX, similarly to the
   IBM PC.  I obviously don't.  The PC is basically hardware, and thus
   a different beast than UNIX.  By making UNIX hardware specific, you
   destroy it.

3) AT&T licenses UNIX to a large number of people in various ways.  Were
   they to take action that would seriously harm a large number of licensees
   (especially the big ones) they would be facing an anti-trust suit so
   fast your head would spin.

4) AT&T and Sun are attempting to define a new standard by a simple existence
   proof, the infamous "open" standard.  This group has carried much 
   discussion about P1003 and other efforts; those are a "standard".  AT&T
   and Sun wish to define a standard suitable for their own uses without
   going through the hassle of getting everybody to agree - thus bypassing
   most of the technical community.  Thus, they want an IBM style "standard".
   This is the current, openly announced, plan for V.4.

5) The "open" standard and promises to licensees are efforts by AT&T to
   pacify competitors.  It is clearly to AT&T's advantage to have a "standard"
   which looks open on the surface (i.e., everybody >could< duplicate it
   without AT&T source code), but is really as closed as possible (you
   really have to buy AT&T source and hardware to realize it).  This is
   true today.  Consider RFS, which is in SVID Issue 3, but is un-implementable
   from the SVID as specified.  Somehow, though, this is a "standard".

6) You've obviously been hiding under a rock for the past six months.  A
   large number of UNIX licensees have complained directly to AT&T about
   the AT&T/Sun deal and the pronouncements by Sun salespeople.  AT&T
   has come out with many assurances that they will take care of
   everybody.  Rumoured deals are in the making to work on competing
   versions of UNIX (though obviously >not< with that name).

I'd like to make one last point.  A "competing" standard arose with Berkeley
UNIX because of the legally restricted support that AT&T had to give 
originally and because of the anti-UCB sentiment back in New Jersey.  By
attempting to force one standard without the technical and business input
of the UNIX licensees, AT&T engenders an environment where another
competing standard can rise and flourish.  After all, V.4 will have
Sun's favorite enhancements, but it won't have mine, or yours, and it may
break what I do have.

The heavy-handedness of the AT&T/Sun actions may do more to trash any
emerging UNIX standard than to promote it.

-- Jim Barton
Silicon Graphics Computing Systems    "UNIX: Live Free Or Die!"
j...@sgi.sgi.com, sgi!...@decwrl.dec.com, ...{decwrl,sun}!sgi!jmb
--

Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 39

			   USENET Archives


The materials and information included in this website may only be used
for purposes such as criticism, review, private study, scholarship, or 
research.


Electronic mail:			      WorldWideWeb:
   tech-insider@outlook.com		         http://tech-insider.org/