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From: b...@alchemy.UUCP (BBS Administration)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin,comp.unix.sysv386
Subject: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Summary: Is Unix really better than DOS/Novell?
Keywords: Unix, DOS, Novell, Convert?
Message-ID: <531@alchemy.UUCP>
Date: 14 Oct 91 20:58:23 GMT
Reply-To: b...@alchemy.UUCP (BBS Administration)
Organization: Alchemy Software Designs
Lines: 44

Imagine the following situation:

You firmly believe that Unix is the better operating system these days. You
spend money to develop products which must run in a Unix environment.

You find a potential customer who is interested in what you have to offer,
but asks you the question "Why should I go with Unix instead of setting up
a Novell network?"

How would you answer this question?

Beyond stating "Our nifty products which do great things will only run in
a Unix environment, so we must insist you choose this operating system."
what can be said about Unix which is a benefit over Novell? Some of my
first impressions were "Unix is truly multi-tasking" but with Windows
and other "task switchers" around these days, DOS isn't so far behind (or
is it?). Then I thought "Unix is truly multi-user" and as far as I know,
DOS is still a single user OS (as far as different people doing different
things on the same CPU at the same time). So, there is one thing (which
this potential customer might think "So what?").

How would you go about convincing someone that Unix is the best operating
system (or, perhaps just >better< than a Novell network)? We are recommending
SCO ODT which offers NFS and TCP/IP and X and DOS emulation which is good,
but what elements of Unix are so vastly superior to DOS that someone who
perhaps isn't so technically minded would understand and be "converted?"

I'm not going to request that replies be sent via mail since perhaps this
could be an interesting, open discussion. I also want to say that Novell
is not an unacceptable solution for certain configurations; everybody has
their own opinions about how to solve a given problem. I don't want this to
become a religious war where we say one version of Unix is better than
another, I just simply want ideas from people who do feel that Unix has
certain attractive attributes which are not offered by DOS/Novell.

Eagerly awaiting all responses,

-- John

John Donahue, Senior Partner | UUCP: ucrmath!alchemy!{bbs, gumby} | The Future
  Alchemy Software Designs   | INET: {bbs, gum...@alchemy.UUCP    | Begins Now
-------------------+---------+------------------------------------+-----------
Communique On-line | +1-714-278-0862 {12, 24, 96v32, 19.2k} T2500 | Next Wave:
Information System |    Alchemy Software Designs Support System   | Communique

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From: jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu (Jay Maynard)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin,comp.unix.sysv386
Subject: Re: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Keywords: Unix, DOS, Novell, Convert?
Message-ID: <5581@lib.tmc.edu>
Date: 15 Oct 91 15:04:32 GMT
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Just to make the discussion even more interesting: One advantage that
Novell and DOS have over the standard Unix terminals-talking-to-big-computer
scenario is that adding more compute horsepower for more users is easy: just
add workstations. If you get into the workstation-running-Unix-talking-to-
central-computer, then you get into the hassles of administering lots of Unix
systems.
-- 
Jay Maynard, EMT-P, K5ZC, PP-ASEL | Never ascribe to malice that which can
jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu      | adequately be explained by stupidity.
  "ITS was nobody's trademark and damn proud of it." -- Eric S. Raymond,
         _The New Hacker's Dictionary_ (a must for your library!)

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ames!sparkyfs.erg.sri.com!bigmac
From: big...@erg.sri.com (Bryan McDonald)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin
Subject: Re: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Keywords: Unix, DOS, Novell, Convert?
Message-ID: <1991Oct16.001851.23663@erg.sri.com>
Date: 16 Oct 91 00:18:51 GMT
References: <531@alchemy.UUCP> <5581@lib.tmc.edu>
Sender: n...@erg.sri.com
Organization: SRI International, Menlo Park, CA
Lines: 25

In article <5...@lib.tmc.edu> jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu (Jay Maynard) writes:
>Just to make the discussion even more interesting: One advantage that
>Novell and DOS have over the standard Unix terminals-talking-to-big-computer
>scenario is that adding more compute horsepower for more users is easy: just
>add workstations. If you get into the workstation-running-Unix-talking-to-
>central-computer, then you get into the hassles of administering lots of Unix
>systems.

Without denyiong what you say is true, can you explain this concept
further to me?  Whenever I add a UNIX workstation, I usually get about
20 MIPS more horsepower for the new user.  Unless you are thinking
exclusively of a mainframe and terminal environment, but that does not
really apply these days.

And it is true that you get the hassles of administering many UNIX boxes,
but what about administering many DOS boxes.  It is just as difficult to
administer 100 PC's as it is to administer 100 Sun's, give or take
rdist and a few other automatic UNIX routines.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Bryan McDonald        |   Computer, Hardware, And Operations Support
Postmaster            |                     CHAOS
Systems Administrator |            ITAD - SRI International
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Internet: big...@erg.sri.com                   Compuserve: 71321,552

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usenet.ins.cwru.edu!ncoast!allbery
From: allb...@NCoast.ORG (Brandon S. Allbery KF8NH)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin,comp.unix.sysv386
Subject: Re: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Message-ID: <1991Oct16.004235.3352@NCoast.ORG>
Date: 16 Oct 91 00:42:35 GMT
References: <531@alchemy.UUCP>
Reply-To: allb...@ncoast.ORG (Brandon S. Allbery KF8NH)
Followup-To: comp.unix.admin
Organization: North Coast Public Access Un*x (ncoast)
Lines: 65

As quoted from <5...@alchemy.UUCP> by b...@alchemy.UUCP (BBS Administration):
+---------------
| first impressions were "Unix is truly multi-tasking" but with Windows
| and other "task switchers" around these days, DOS isn't so far behind (or
| is it?). Then I thought "Unix is truly multi-user" and as far as I know,
| DOS is still a single user OS (as far as different people doing different
| things on the same CPU at the same time). So, there is one thing (which
| this potential customer might think "So what?").
+---------------

DOS task switchers require more overhead, because almost every DOS program
which does useful work accesses some piece of hardware (COM ports and video
are most common) directly and therefore require i386 intercepts on the port
and video addresses.  A context switch per byte written to screen memory gets
expensive quite fast.  (I've seen the speed of Windows 3.0....)

+---------------
| How would you go about convincing someone that Unix is the best operating
| system (or, perhaps just >better< than a Novell network)? We are recommending
| SCO ODT which offers NFS and TCP/IP and X and DOS emulation which is good,
| but what elements of Unix are so vastly superior to DOS that someone who
| perhaps isn't so technically minded would understand and be "converted?"
+---------------

Well, I'd lose X unless they *need* graphics.  Besides which, X is rather
badly designed (it just kinda grew...); MGR is much smaller and faster,
proving that graphics *can* be done without the enormous amounts of overhead
required by both Win3.0 and X.  And if all you want is multiple text windows,
JSB MultiView is even faster.  Or if they can be full screen, use BSD
"screen".  Etc.

Come to think of it, the preceding paragraph points out something else:  you
can easily change things under Unix.  MGR and screen are both user-mode, with
no kernel hacks needed (MGR likes to use one for the bell, but this is an SCO
Unix bug workaround:  KIOCSOUND doesn't work).  They don't even need to be
setuid, although MGR will put windows in /etc/utmp for the benefit of
write/talk/SCO "hello"/whatever if it is.  Also consider e.g. sh vs. csh vs.
ksh vs. tcsh vs. bash vs. zsh vs. the posted rc, etc., etc., etc.  In
comparison, switching between, say, Windows and DesqView is nowhere near as
easy (unless you run Windows under DesqView:  sounds like slow cubed to me).
And you *certainly* aren't going to find freeware task switchers for DOS on a
BBS; compare "screen", for instance, which is on uunet.  (Someday I may get
the time to finish qtm as well....)

Networking in general has the difficulty that system administration of more
than one machine is more complex than for a single machine, especially if they
need to talk together.  (While I'm not impressed with SCO Unix/ODT as Unix, I
will admit that system administration is simpler than with real Unix --- and
FAR simpler than administrating a PC network.)  Moreover, networked DOS
databases tend to use rather stupid "distributed data" schemes which are
remarkably slow in practice.  I had to live with one such system on a Novell
network:  with 20000 rows it took 5 minutes to find a single row by its last
name field.  And even so, it's not *truly* distributed: the data lives on the
server and has to be shipped across the network to the user's PC.  (True
distributed databases are even slower.)

Bottom line:  I have yet to see a Novell PC network that performed as well as
Unix systems installed by people with equivalent knowledge.  (Read:  an
uninformed idiot can quite easily turn either into trash... then again, I get
paid for being able to quickly straighten out scrambled Unix boxes.)

++Brandon
-- 
Brandon S. Allbery		      KF8NH: DC to LIGHT!  [44.70.4.88]
allb...@NCoast.ORG		      uunet!usenet.ins.cwru.edu!ncoast!allbery

Path: gmdzi!unido!mcsun!uunet!cs.utexas.edu!bcm!lib!oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu!jmaynard
From: jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu (Jay Maynard)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin
Subject: Re: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Keywords: Unix, DOS, Novell, Convert?
Message-ID: <5588@lib.tmc.edu>
Date: 16 Oct 91 18:24:26 GMT
References: <531@alchemy.UUCP> <5581@lib.tmc.edu> <1991Oct16.001851.23663@erg.sri.com>
Sender: use...@lib.tmc.edu
Organization: Office of Academic Computing, Houston, TX
Lines: 35
Nntp-Posting-Host: oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu

In article <1991Oct16.001851.23...@erg.sri.com> big...@erg.sri.com 
(Bryan McDonald) writes:
>Without denyiong what you say is true, can you explain this concept
>further to me?  Whenever I add a UNIX workstation, I usually get about
>20 MIPS more horsepower for the new user.  Unless you are thinking
>exclusively of a mainframe and terminal environment, but that does not
>really apply these days.

To expand on what I was talking about:
Case 1 is the mainframe and terminal environment. Here, adding horsepower
ranges from expensive to expensive and difficult. I brought this up because I
got an email objection to my _Unix Today!_ net.views answer about the hassles
of administering Unix on everyone's desk pointing out that this kind of
operation was still viable.
Case 2 is what you're thinking of: individual workstations running Unix.

>And it is true that you get the hassles of administering many UNIX boxes,
>but what about administering many DOS boxes.  It is just as difficult to
>administer 100 PC's as it is to administer 100 Sun's, give or take
>rdist and a few other automatic UNIX routines.

Administering 100 DOS PCs is trivial: you let the user do it. The chances are
extremely good that they already have what little expertise is necessary. You
have one guy who's responsible for administering the LAN, but that can be a
(very) part-time job, if the LAN is small enough. 
Administering 100 Suns takes either 100 users who know how to administer Unix
(decidedly nontrivial), or a dedicated support staff (probably more than one
person) - and that staff gets you right back into the same kinds of people
problems that centralized computing gets you, with an additional twist: now,
you have a big, bad computer staff messing around with what the users think of
as _their_ own computers! This is a major user heartburn generator.
-- 
Jay Maynard, EMT-P, K5ZC, PP-ASEL | Never ascribe to malice that which can
jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu      | adequately be explained by stupidity.
  "ITS was nobody's trademark and damn proud of it." -- Eric S. Raymond,
         _The New Hacker's Dictionary_ (a must for your library!)

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nuchat!steve
From: st...@nuchat.sccsi.com (Steve Nuchia)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin
Subject: Re: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Keywords: Unix, DOS, Novell, Convert?
Message-ID: <1991Oct18.004732.24846@nuchat.sccsi.com>
Date: 18 Oct 91 00:47:32 GMT
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In article <5...@lib.tmc.edu> jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu (Jay Maynard) writes:
>add workstations. If you get into the workstation-running-Unix-talking-to-
>central-computer, then you get into the hassles of administering lots of Unix
>systems.

And it isn't a hassle to maintain lots of DOS boxes?  Ok, only
if they have local disks.

And only if you bother to do it right.

But then, the same is true of Unix.  Funny how that works, isn't it?

The biggest problem I have with Novell is that you CAN'T run
anything on the file server.  Some disk-intensive operations
would complete much more quickly if that were an option.
-- 
Steve Nuchia	      South Coast Computing Services      (713) 880-0099

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From: pe...@ficc.ferranti.com (Peter da Silva)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.admin
Subject: Re: Marketing Unix in a PC world
Keywords: Unix, DOS, Novell, Convert?
Message-ID: <id.BIYJ.7E8@xds13.ferranti.com>
Date: 23 Oct 91 20:43:48 GMT
References: <531@alchemy.UUCP> <5581@lib.tmc.edu> 
<1991Oct16.001851.23663@erg.sri.com> <5588@lib.tmc.edu>
Reply-To: pe...@ficc.ferranti.com (Peter da Silva)
Organization: Xenix Support, FICC
Lines: 20

In article <5...@lib.tmc.edu> jmayn...@oac.hsc.uth.tmc.edu (Jay Maynard) writes:
> Administering 100 DOS PCs is trivial: you let the user do it.

ROFL

Not if they're on a network, you don't. Not if you care that stuff gets
backed up (or not), you don't. Not if they have to share any non-trivial
amount of data (even with a network) you don't.

> You
> have one guy who's responsible for administering the LAN, but that can be a
> (very) part-time job, if the LAN is small enough. 

With 100 DOS PCs on a Lan you need more than one part-time guy. In fact you
need more support crew than you do with 100 terminals on UNIX.
-- 
-- Peter da Silva
-- Ferranti International Controls Corporation
-- Sugar Land, TX  77487-5012;  +1 713 274 5180
-- "Have you hugged your wolf today?"

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		       SCO Files Lawsuit Against IBM

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