Date : Sat, 04 Jun 1983 10:29:11-EDT
From : goldfarb.ucf-cs@rand-relay
Subject: Re: S-100 Unix
There is an S-100 68K Unix machine manufactured by Dual Systems which
has been on the market for a couple of years. Furthermore, there is
what Microsoft calls an upgraded V7 (Xenix) and it is strongly rumored
that another major microcomputer software house is working on some form
of a Unix port for micros. Since you specifically mentioned Godbout, I
think it is likely that you'll see a Unix for their 16032; National
Semiconductor is supporting that processor with 4.1bsd.
4.1, which does demand-paging, might be a problem for the slower
Winchesters such as the Morrow disk that Priority One has been selling
for $1295 (I believe the average access time is 195 ms.). Aside from
paging, vanilla Unix does a lot of swapping and thus it goes to the
disk a lot. I have used Fortunes and Wicats whose lack of disk speed
is a major annoyance.
I have no doubt that a good BIOS hacker could figure out how to modify
a bootstrap and write device drivers for Unix. And while working with
the kernel requires a firm educational foundation in operating systems
theory, most of the routines in there were deliberately kept simple,
with complex algorithms being used only when they would result in great
gains. But, then, there is usually little reason to go poking around
in the kernel, anyway, once Unix has been ported to your specific
machine (how often do you modify the BDOS?), nor do most Unix
installations have the luxury of a source license.
That leaves price as the only major obstacle and I confess to knowing
nothing about what will happen to prices in the future. Maybe Dr.
Pournelle has some wisdom to add in this area......