Interactive UNIX 2.2 (really V.3 and V.4)

Dick Dunn rcd at
Thu May 31 15:17:50 AEST 1990

capslock at wet.UUCP (Allen Crider) writes:
> Amazing to see Interactive charge such prices for their upgrade...

As for upgrade prices...without analyzing the costs and benefits (and
certainly not acting as a spokesman for Interactive!), I can note that the
upgrades add online manual pages (which involves a licensing issue) and
the new manuals for the heavily-used stuff are looseleaf.  There's more to
it than that, but I'll leave it to someone *not* connected with ISC to
make some detailed comparisons.

>...SystemV.4 is overdue now--how are they going to compete when it
> finally hits the streets?...

Depends on when it hits the streets and what it looks like when it gets
there, doesn't it?!?  2.2 is a release for now--*right* now, today, when
you've got a machine sitting there and you need an OS.  I haven't seen a
firm release date for V.4 from anyone.  Everybody's looking at it and
working hard on it, but that's nowhere near to promising the ship date.

I can suggest how someone with a V.3 product will compete when V.4 comes
out:  They'll be selling an established, stable release against a new
product.  They may also be selling a system which, although it has fewer
features, also uses fewer machine resources.  Sure, V.3 will go away
eventually, but it's not going to happen in 3Q90!  There are people who
need a working system today, not a promise.

As for what V.4 offers:  Yes, there are lots of new features (and old
features the BSD world has that we want...there are days I'd kill for long
file names).  Are those features free?  Of course not.  What are the
tradeoffs?  Are they worthwhile for everybody?  Perhaps not.  Now, I'm out
on a limb here, but I can see big users (government, research, industry)
wanting V.4 right away, but small users (home machines, little companies)
holding off for a bit.  Maybe not; maybe the incremental cost isn't that
much...but it's something to think about.

>  I'd advise anyone who can stand the wait to wait for V.4...

How long are you advising them to wait?  If somebody's got a plan for the
distant future (let's say mid-91 or beyond), he can afford the gamble of
waiting.  If he's looking at early 91, there will probably be V.4's out
there, but how stable will they be?  If he's looking at late 90, it might
work out but *I* wouldn't write a business plan based on it.

And, mind you, none of this is based on any real knowledge of how V.4 is
coming along.  I hear bits of stuff; I read the trade press carefully...
but most of what I'm saying is simple observation:  You don't assume a
system is "just around the corner" until you start hearing about major beta
shipments to happy people.

In short, if you must have the two-way sneeze-through wind vents, star-
studded mud guards, edible sponge steering column, and chrome fender dents,
AND you can afford to wait some amount of time, not yet determined but
definitely measured in months, wait for V.4.  If you need a stable OS
today, but without some of the stuff you'd like, go with V.3.  (That
advice has nothing much to do with ISC's could just as well
be said about SCO, ESIX, etc.)
Dick Dunn     rcd at    uucp: {ncar,nbires}!ico!rcd     (303)449-2870
   ...Simpler is better.

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