From: r...@decwrl.dec.com (Brian Reid)
Subject: Big bad companies and the OSF
Date: 4 Jun 88 18:37:14 GMT
Reply-To: r...@decwrl.UUCP (Brian Reid)
Organization: DEC Western Research
I've been reading everybody's opinion of the OSF for the last month or so,
and I thought I'd toss in a short comment. It goes without saying that my
comments don't represent DEC's official position. DEC almost never has an
official position, but when they do, they don't ask me to represent it.
I work for DEC. I have worked for DEC for about 2 years. I have almost never
used VMS, and most of the people around me haven't either.
DEC is a big company. We have something like 150,000 employees. Mostly they
haven't met each other, and they certainly don't all believe the same thing.
DEC is a decentralized company. It has lots of divisions. Every manager of
every division is constantly looking for ways to make his division better,
and get his employees to do better work, etc. There is no single voice saying
"DEC speaks this" or "DEC believes that".
Decentralized companies have internal feuds. Different groups in big
decentralized companies believe different things. You could probably imagine
that if DEC sells VMS that there is a VMS development group. Since DEC also
sells Ultrix you can imagine that there is probably an Ultrix development
group. You can also imagine that these groups don't necessarily agree with
each other about the best way to do things.
In little companies you can get changes to happen by gathering all of the
employees into the cafeteria and having a pep rally. In medium-size companies
you can get changes to happen by getting various kinds of consensus. In a
company with 150,000 employees change comes very slowly.
One of the reasons that DEC's customers continue to buy DEC computers and run
VMS on them is that DEC and VMS change very slowly. Some customers want
constancy and reliability.
One of the reasons that former DEC customers continue to buy Sun computers
and run SunOS 4.0 on them is that Sun and SunOS change very quickly. Some
customers want adaptibility and change.
You can be fairly confident that within DEC there are some people who think
that Unix is wonderful and some people who think that VMS is wonderful.
Probably only Norman Vincent Peale thinks that they are both wonderful.
When news of the Open Software Foundation reached the building that I work
in, one of the more common reactions was something like "Oh, look! The Unix
lovers are gaining ground." Another common reaction was "Hmm. Trading ATT for
IBM. Is this a bug or a feature?"
DEC doesn't speak with one voice. If there are evil DEC people plotting the
demise of Unix, I haven't met any of them. I've met a lot of DEC people who
have for years been excitedly engineering new Unix-based software, and are
pretty jazzed that they might get a better opportunity to see it go to market.