Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 27th Jul 2013 12:50 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Windows Windows NT turned 20 years old today. From a 1998 story about NT, written by Mark Russinovich, "I'll take you on a short tour of NT's lineage, which leads back to Digital and its VMS OS. Most of NT's lead developers, including VMS's chief architect, came from Digital, and their background heavily influenced NT's development. After I talk about NT's roots, I'll discuss the more-than-coincidental similarities between NT and VMS, and how Digital reacted to NT's release."
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Prism and Mica
by znby on Sat 27th Jul 2013 16:23 UTC
znby
Member since:
2012-02-03

For the computer history buffs out there, bitsavers has a nice collection of documents describing the Mica OS (the basis of NT), the PRISM architecture that it was meant to run on, and the internal politics that eventually lead to its demise.

http://www.textfiles.com/bitsavers/pdf/dec/prism/

Reply Score: 5

RE: Prism and Mica
by Tuishimi on Sat 27th Jul 2013 17:27 UTC in reply to "Prism and Mica"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Thanks for the link! Cool stuff!!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Prism and Mica
by PLan on Sun 28th Jul 2013 12:30 UTC in reply to "Prism and Mica"
PLan Member since:
2006-01-10

Also worth purchasing a copy of Showstopper! which is a very readable account of a potentially dry topic.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Prism and Mica
by flydpnkrtn on Sun 28th Jul 2013 22:01 UTC in reply to "Prism and Mica"
flydpnkrtn Member since:
2009-01-02

Thanks for the bitsavers link! I had no idea that project even existed.

Also "Show Stopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft" is a great book! I've read the bloody thing in the past but I completely forgot about it... this is why I keep coming back to OSNews ;) The book did a great job of taking a potentially dry and boring subject and keeping it quite interesting in my humble opinion.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by judgen
by judgen on Sat 27th Jul 2013 16:56 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

David Cutler is brilliant and he foresaw lots of things in computing. That given, he did not see the problems in the NT kernel or even NTFS that would arise due to numerating faults in the design.

When he left along with his VAX friends hardly anyone at redmond knew how to fix the problems and the lesson learned is "document everything". Not only did microsoft do well after they implemented that philosophy, but to this date core-code submitted is never allowed to be even reviewed unless documented.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by judgen
by BluenoseJake on Sat 27th Jul 2013 22:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by judgen"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I tend to disagree with your statements about the NT kernel, it's a fine kernel, the problems with Windows NT has always been, and probably always will be, the userland. It's a mess of compatibility shims, apis, and libraries, some of which, like dll hell, can only be solved with brute force solutions. The kernel, like all modern kernels, is not perfect, but it does it's job well.

Reply Score: 4

VMS
by WorknMan on Sat 27th Jul 2013 17:04 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

When I started going to my local community college in 1994, they were running the place on VMS/VAX servers, which were two machines about the size of a mini fridge. They even had a class on VMS, which was mandatory for a 2-year computer science degree. Since leaving there a couple years later, I have heard virtually nothing about VMS. I assume it's probably used mainly in 'legacy' environments these days.

Edited 2013-07-27 17:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: VMS
by Tuishimi on Sat 27th Jul 2013 17:25 UTC in reply to "VMS"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Pretty much the case. Shame, too.

Reply Score: 2

RE: VMS
by znby on Sat 27th Jul 2013 18:08 UTC in reply to "VMS"
znby Member since:
2012-02-03

Its End of Life was announced not so long ago.

Reply Score: 5

Comment after linked article...
by Tuishimi on Sat 27th Jul 2013 17:43 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

LOL!!!

------

At Last the truth is comming out about what sort of theft goes on inside the MS Corp corridors... I am not going to say any more except that WindBlows will never regain it's strangle hold over the computing world The arrival of Linux was just the start of the onslaught against the MS Corp Pete

------

...anyway, I was privileged to work on OpenVMS 7.0 and 7.1 during my latter years at DEC. It was a TON of fun! I made a decision to leave to work with an ex-colleague... It was probably fortuitous in hindsight. I worked at DEC for 11 good years.

Edited 2013-07-27 17:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Oops. I accidentally voted you down when I meant to vote you up. Too bad there's not a way to undo that.

Reply Score: 4

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

What bugs me more is that as soon as you comment you can no longer vote. I always forget to go through, vote first for the comments I think add the most, then add my own (usually worthless) comment.

Reply Score: 3

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I sorta understand why you can't vote after commenting, so you dont' down-vote replies to your own comment, but I would love to at least be able to upvote people after I comment.

And, change my vote. That'd be cool.

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Don't panic, I back-up-voted him for you.

Reply Score: 2

flydpnkrtn Member since:
2009-01-02

I saw that comment too, and I chuckled a bit :-)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Sat 27th Jul 2013 18:54 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

I ran bot NT4 and Win98 a long time ago. The couple of games I played ran much, much better in NT than '98.

Win2K was also a great gaming platform, esp. since it allowed the newest DirectX versions. I remember installing XP, then downgrading back to 2K because 2K ran my DOS games better (once VDMSound was installed, that is).

I have so much nostalgia for Win2K, I forget how much better of an OS Windows is overall.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by Stephen! on Sun 28th Jul 2013 10:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

I have so much nostalgia for Win2K, I forget how much better of an OS Windows is overall.


For the most part. Aside from Explorer's tendency to crash at times, even though Win2k was given four service packs.

Reply Score: 2

surreal
by NuxRo on Sat 27th Jul 2013 21:58 UTC
NuxRo
Member since:
2010-09-25

Wow, that story of the lineage seems so surreal, like watching an old soviet scifi film.
I wonder how in 50 years time our kids and grankids will look back at our current technology.

Reply Score: 4

RE: surreal
by shotsman on Sun 28th Jul 2013 05:26 UTC in reply to "surreal"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

They will look back and shake their heads in amazement at how primitive we all were. The term 'embedded' will have a very different meaning to what we refer to today.

On the subject of VMS and Dave Cutler, my friends from those days at Spitbrook Road all said that he was a PITA to work with and that many felt happy when he left to goto Microsoft.

I can't help but smile in that MS might be going through the same 'events' that DEC did in 1991/92 when the market for the mini-computer disappeared almost overnight and the senior management were seemingly oblivious to it. With the PC market tanking and MS seemingly thrashing around trying to find a new relevance I can't help but draw parallels to the DEC of '91/'92.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: surreal
by Tuishimi on Sun 28th Jul 2013 07:54 UTC in reply to "RE: surreal"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I never worked with him personally, I joined VMS after he left. I rented from someone who worked in VMS while he was there and he never complained... but then again he usually left work AT work.

Reply Score: 2

RE: surreal
by Drumhellar on Sun 28th Jul 2013 08:10 UTC in reply to "surreal"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Today: Embedded refers to pretty much anything that either serves a specific, limited purpose, or more generally, anything that fits in a tiny box (like a cellphone).

50 years from now: Embedded refers to that chip that is embedded in your eyeball because you have detached retinas and this is how you see.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 28th Jul 2013 08:01 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

When I started as a system administrator that company had an NT 4 server (IBM PC Server 325), 180 Mhz Pentium Pro + 128 MB RAM, that had two 2 GB disks, one for the OS and one for the file server. We had almost 50 users storing their files on it.

Later we added a fax board. It also ran some other server tasks, which is rather amazing looking back at the rather limited hardware.

The machine ran fine until I replaced it with a Linux Samba server.

i still have it, in the attic. Upgraded to 2 x 200 Mhz Pentium Pro and 384 MB of RAM + an extra hard disk. It was my Linux server for a while, until I retired it. Last year I reinstalled NT 4 on it. It keeps crashing after a while, it also did so when it ran Linux. Maybe some internal cleaning could fix it.

For all its flaws and limitation I still have a soft spot for NT 4. Windows 2000 was nicer as a desktop OS, but I never liked it on the server.

Sadly it's no longer possible to install NT 4 and run Windows Update on it.

Reply Score: 3