ESIX versus 386/ix?

John S Labovitz jsl at
Sat Oct 28 06:46:15 AEST 1989

I've been looking at various Unixes for a couple of weeks now, and have
narrowed it down to either Interactive's 386/ix or Everex's ESIX.  I
was wondering if anyone had any comments on comparing the two systems.

First, some background:  This will be running on some type of 20mhz 386
machine with 4mb RAM, a large hard disk, tape drive, 8-port I/O card (have
not decided between intelligent and dumb) -- a pretty standard machine.
No graphics needed yet, but X may be used in the future. The purpose of
the machine will be a public access Unix site and a development machine.
There will probably be three 2400 baud modems, a Trailblazer, a PostScript
printer, and possibly a 19.2k baud terminal attached to the machine.

ESIX is attractive mostly because of the low price -- $1150 for the whole
system (with manuals), versus over $3000 for the equivalent in 386/ix.
However, I'm not yet going to be using X or TCP/IP (which are included in
ESIX), so the actual cost difference is more like $1150 versus $1445.
(This is all from the current price lists.)

One thing I noticed about ESIX is the absolute lack of troff/ntroff.  Everex
says they don't even have a version planned.  This is a problem, but not a
large one -- I have a Mac, so I'm not planning on using Unix for text
processing, but I can't even print out manual pages! (That is, if they even
came with the system, which they apparently don't on either ISC or ESIX; I'm
talking more about USENET software man pages and the like.)

I've talked to ELAN Computer Group in Mountain View about their EROFF,
but $895 is a lot of money just to print man pages.  Are there any other
companies that sells a troff/nroff for cheaper?  (I just thought of something -
ISC sells their text processing package for $345.  Would that work?)

Or is there any public domain or shareware nroff clone?

Is there anything major missing from ESIX?  With a price so much lower than
their competitors, I feel a bit hesitant.  I don't want to end up having to
pay a lot more later.

Any help would be appreciated.  Unless you think it's important for everyone
right now, please mail your replies to "xylo at" (which is *not* what
you'll get if you just reply to this message!).  I will summarize.

--John Labovitz

* Domain: xylo at / jsl at
* UUCP:   ...!pacbell!mslbrb!sly!xylo
* Phone:  707/823-2919
* USPS:   P.O. Box 523, Graton, CA 95444

More information about the Comp.unix.i386 mailing list