[rescue] Interesting bit on Multics

Mike Meredith mike at blackhairy.demon.co.uk
Mon Oct 20 13:49:23 CDT 2003

On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 20:06:44 -0700 (PDT), Lionel Peterson wrote:
> My point was that Unix was unsalable - AT&T couldn't sell it as a
> product, it was (originally) an  internal tool and an educational
> oddity. This is for (mainly) legal reasons as I understand it, but I
> am sure there was a fair smattering of ignorance ("Who would pay for
> that?")

They were prevented from selling Unix as a product for legal reasons.
Given the aggressive support for Unix by one of the (non-) PHB's in AT&T
at the time, it is highly possible that it could have been sold as a
product far earlier than it was.

> > What made UNIX worth something is that it grew, and grew, and grew.
> I'm sure Multics grew and grew as well, maybe even faster than Unix!
> ;^)

Probably not. Multics has a fairly sad history as the company it ended
up with weren't that keen on selling Multics systems. And don't forget
that a system to run Multics on would have cost at least an order of
magnitude more than a system to run Unix on (and of course be far more
useful although early Unix was pretty useful itself).

More information about the rescue mailing list