[rescue] San Antonio, TX area rescue

James Lockwood james at foonly.com
Thu Dec 5 12:16:33 CST 2002

On Wed, 4 Dec 2002, Sheldon T. Hall wrote:

> I can't speak for James, but if you started in this biz before 1980, your
> chances of working on a wide spectrum of hardware/OSes is vastly increased.
> Many of the companies and architectures of the 70s and 80s are gone, and
> we'll be losing more as time goes on.

That sounds about right.

I definitely didn't get into this field as early as many people here.  I
suspect that my experience set is different because I came into Unix from
the other direction.  My first real computing job was hacking assembly on
MVS, and eventually porting to Unix.  There were a lot of interesting mini
architectures still alive and kicking well into the 1990's that I brushed
up against, and many are still going in back rooms behind locked doors.

What won me over about Unix was the inherent architectural independance,
and the fact that you were not tied to a small set of vendors (note: this
was still pre-Linux and 386BSD).  Legacy architectural decisions were
impacting the performance of minis in a significant way and I reasoned
that with a greater freedom to change architecture, Unix would be uniquely
positioned to take advantage of a changing ISA.

I have very, very little experience with x86 relative to some people here.
I didn't touch DOS or Windows until years after discovering BSD 4 and
SunOS.  I love the price/performance ratio of _some x86 gear for some
problems_ (Dave McGuire, note the qualifier here) but have been largely
unable to take advantage of it due to the incredible frustration that sets
in every time I trip over yet another hardware
limitation/bug/incompatability.  I tried to be a Solaris x86 fan, but the
hardware shell-game played by vendors (order 2 cards with the same name
and get two completely different chipsets) plus the lack of driver support
turned me off.

I never got to play with any Thinking Machines gear, but always wanted to.
Maybe one will fall in my lap in a few years.


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