Let's Talk ESIX

Bob Palowoda palowoda at fiver.UUCP
Wed Oct 11 07:17:57 AEST 1989

 ESIX 5.3.2B

  Well it has been about two months sence I installed ESIX, formally
know as ENIX 5.3.2 on my 386. I guess it is about time I write what
I think about it. Some of this will be my opionon and is no way 
to be represented as view of the Everex Corporation. 

  For those of you who do not know what the ESIX package is I will
quote what there product profile.            

 The Release 3.2 verson of ESIX/V is a superset implementation of 
AT&T's UNIX System V.3.2. It includes some Berkeley 4.3 Extensions.


Compatibility List
Acer 386/20Mhz
AST Premium 386
Compaq Desk Pro 386 20/25Mhz
Dell 386
Wyse 386 32/16
ALR 386/20Mhz 
Club AT 386
Everex Steps 16/20/25
Intel 386 AT
IBM PS/2 Model 80

Note: I am running mine on a 25Mhz 386 no-name clone with the CT chips set.
      Interleave memory. 

Disk Controllers List (ST506)
Compaq proprietary
IBM Micro Channel Type 1 and 2
Western Digital WD 1003-WAH

ESDI Controllers
Western Digital 1005-WAH
Western Digital 1007A with BIOS
Western Digital 1007-WAH
Adaptec ACB-2320/2322

Note: I am running mine with a Adaptec ACB-2322 with a 150meg Toshiba 
      ESDI hard disk drive.

Cartridge Tape Controllers/Drive combinations
Everex EV-811
Wangtek 5099
Everex EV-833
Wangtek 6099
Wangtek ASY30850-008
Everex EV-831
Everex EV-815 (Micro Channel)

Cassette Tape Controllers
Everex EV-811
Everex BX851

Video Adaptors and Monitors
Compaq Mono, EGA
Everex Mono, EGA
Video 7 Vega, VGA
Probably a bunch more

Note: I am running mine on a Video 7 VGA with Sony monitor.

                          Software Features

User Interface
C Shell
Bourne Shell
FACE  (what a name for a user interface)
X-Windows System R11.3 on EGA & VGA

Note: ATT's ksh will work but is not supplied with the package.
      Document package is extra. (The xenix one will also work with it).

X-Windows Support Utilities
TCP/IP (supports sockets, includes tftpd and telentd)

Configuration Managment
System Administration
Software package install/remove/display

2K file System
File System Switch
XENIX file/record locking
Transport Layer
Reliable Signals (Why would someone by unreliable ones)
Xenix Code compatibility
Software Development System

Device Drivers
Async (big deal)
1/4 inch tape
Cassette tape
Parallell and serial printer drivers
X-mouse, X-display, X-keyboard (for the X-windows package)
Floppies 5-1/4 1.2meg
         3.5 1.44m and 720k

Standard Conformance
ANSI-Standard C 

  Glad that's over with. I didn't want that to be an advertisement
I just wanted to give an idea of the hardware and software. No lets
get to the good stuff. Why did I decide to go with ESIX. I was 
running a BBS on SCO 2.2.2 (on a 286) and was really getting tired 
of the compilier problems with segmented processors. I would compile
public domain programs and post them for users to download and run
on ther Xenix system. I new that one day I would soon upgrade to
a 386 and this gave me a chance to watch the market. In the meantime
I was useing ATT's 3.2, ISC's 2.0.1, SCO's 2.3.2. The day came when
I made my desision, ESIX because of the X-windows 11.3, networking
(includeing sockets) and compatiablity with all the XENIX biniares
I already compilied. Lucky for me becuase five minutes before I 
made my desission my 286 motherboard bit the dust. Another reason
is ESIX is cheaper compared to what you get with the other packages.
$595.00 unlimited version includes the compilier Xwindow's goodies
networking etc. The only thing it dosn't include is the manuals.
I figured I would buy these slowly at the books store and get them
cheaper. They are cheaper too. Everex sells the manuals if you 
want to order them. By the why you can get the cheaper version
of the package (the 1-2 user version) for even less. $395.00
I beleive.

 Installation was easy. Thirty Nine diskettes. Lot's of plug and 
chug. But no install problems. I do recommend you install the
whole package. Some packages are interdependent, like tcp and
Xwindows and if you don't install them it will tell you to later.
Have alot of disk. I recommend at least a 72meg drive. Double that
if your running Usenet news and a BBS like me. This is what my 
drive status is now.

/         :	Disk space:   6.46 MB of  32.16 MB available (20.11%).
/usr      :	Disk space:   1.93 MB of  48.51 MB available ( 3.99%).
  This is mostly system software 

/usr2     :	Disk space:   1.55 MB of  53.78 MB available ( 2.90%).
Total Disk Space:   9.96 MB of 134.47 MB available ( 7.41%).

  Hey I'm full. Alot of people tell me I'm full of it. The ESDI drive's
are great. I'm getting about 400-500k/bytes a second transfer running
under ESIX. When I run DOS under UNIX (I'm going to call it UNIX from
now on) I get about 200-300k/bytes a second. Depends how many dos 
sessions I start up and if someone else is useing the system. 
Someone got a spare ESDI drive?

Yes ESIX works with Simul-Task a ATT addin product that
allows you to run dos packages. It works but has bugs. Not enough bugs
to stop me from useing it though. I run dos games that do direct screen
writes. 3-D chess, mahjongg couple of others. I run Quattro spreadsheet,
here's where a bug comes up. The spreadsheet works but when you go to
display the graphics screen the screen turns white. I suspect that 
Simul-Task is not displaying the correct video page. But at least I 
still get to use the spreadsheet. One package that worked very well
was Turbo-C 2.0, even Sidekick worked. A couple of other packages that
where designed for VGA only seemed to loose sync on the monitor and
the screen went blank. The only redeming feature was a control-alt-reset
reboots the dos session without bringing down the whole system. Many
dos packages have no problem at all, Wordstar, Foxbase (the dos version) .
The one thing that's supriseing is you can use dos over the modem port.
The key sequences are a bit different, like <F1> becomes <esc><f><1>,
but nothing a little software couldn't fix up to become more friendly.
The speed of running a dos seesion is like working on an XT.

  X-windows, one of the main reasons I got the ESIX package. I fired it
up in the 16 color VGA mode first. Nice fonts, I like the TWM window       
TO USE IN ANY SITUATION. As a friend indicated UNACCEPTABLE. It's really
too bad because in all honesty this the only major bug I ran into with
ESIX. To be fare here they are makeing the speed changes to the Xwindows
as there top priority. It's only than will I begin to compile Xwindows
programs for my users to download. Another lacking feature is a device
driver for the bus mouse. And support to run dos in one of the Xwindows
would be nice. The two color mode was so, so. But the bottom line is 
if you expect to use X-windows, errr don't. How do you like that a 
product that makes UNIX shine and you can't even use it. Will see with
the next release.

 I didn't get a chance to test the RFS and STREAMS. I doubt that I ever
will. You have to have two 386 machines. I do know some one that uses
Western digital WD8003's along with NCSA telnet (public domain tcp/ip
for dos) to login and/or transfer files from dos to his ESIX machine.
I use NFS at work and will eventually like to find a NFS package that
works with ESIX.

 Modem's and communications software. Well you got your typicial SysV
setup problems but this is in all versions of System V, Xenix, ISC,
Dell, and ATT. But after you get all your line settings correct and
modem controls right your off. I run two incoming lines, one a Telebit
TrailBlazer at 19.2kbps and another one a Packard Bell at 2400bps 
Hayes compatable.  What was nice when I did the conversion over from
Xenix, I could run my Xenix compilied XBBS software straight on the
ESIX system. It ran slower through the 286 emulator but never the
less no down time. In fact I'm still running Xenix software that I
have to recompile. Something I found out the other day is you can
compile dos programs and run them through the XBBS software.
 Software support, I don't think I'm qualified to answer that. I'm
mostly a hacker and work through the inconsistenties of UNIX myself.
On the occasion I did call there software support there was no 
wait, the support was free and they answered the questions imeadiately.
I'm sure if everyone on the net programmed there modem to call 
there voice number the software support would degrade.:-)

 Is there a future for ESIX. I guess and hope so. There still 
makeing there software updates and should be out with a new release
soon. I don't have any reason to think there going the Microport 
route. I think they have the spirit to bring robust version of 
SysV 3.2 to the market for a better price. This seems to be there
competitive edge. The things I would like to see in the next release
is a faster X-windows, support for two disk controllers, support
for enchanced X-windows modes (i.e. 800x600 vga color), and a fix
for the Simul-Task screen bug (of coarse this might not be there
software). In the meantime I think they have done so very good work.


Bob Palowoda  packbell!indetech!palowoda    *Home of Fiver BBS*  login: bbs
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