Does Microport offer Updates to its users?

Bill Kennedy bill at ssbn.WLK.COM
Sat Sep 1 23:56:59 AEST 1990

In article <723 at vidiot.UUCP> brown at vidiot.UUCP (Vidiot) writes:
>In article <334 at uport.UUCP> lee at uport.UUCP (Lee Crocker) writes:
[ Microport invitation and phone number ... ]
>Is uport thinking about trying to attract us ISC customers that are getting
>a little fed up with ISC and their support/software update pricing schedule
>by doing a trade-in offer?  You know, we send you our ISC disks and you give
>us a great price on your software?!?!?
>Vidiot  ucbvax!uwvax..........!astroatc!vidiot!brown

That might sound like a good idea at first glance, it probably sounds pretty
good to the "new" Microport.  In case anyone has forgotten, I have been one
of ISC's more vocal critics, so there's no love lost there either.  Let's
recall some historical facts for the benefit of the netters who came after
ubug's demise.

Microport said that they would be the first to ship System V for the '386
and they were true to their word.  As best I recall that was the last time
they were true to their word and it was too bad, V/386 needed a few more
months of work as evidenced by AT&T and ISC's several month delay after
Microport started shipping.  The Microport effort (I would not call it
"product" then, nor will I now) was buggy, unreliable, poorly supported, and
Merge had an appetite for super blocks.  Merge, even though sold at full
retail price, was clearly marked "Beta Test Version", and victims who
bought it were sent a letter thanking the "pioneers" (their words) and
promising a free upgrade.  There was no beta level tech support and when
the upgrade was offered it was not free.  In 1988 my article described
the Microport effort "I would not dignify it by calling it excrement".
The software was lousy, support non-existant, and documentation print
quality very poor (there was even an apology for that enclosed).

For the sake of the discussion let's say that the charlatans have all been
replaced, all management and technical attitudes are new.  That was, after
all what got them their just desserts.  Let's also presume (note that _no_
_one_ from Microport has even suggested this) that they'd like to collect
some i386 customers by offering a deal.  The reincarnated Microport
presumably inherited the intellectual property, the buggy code, poor
documentation.  Such a deal!  Do you believe that they went through all of
the bug reports and fixed everything?  If so, then why no 3.2?  Do you
believe that they just picked up the buggy code and plastered it over the
Vr4 port?  Such a deal!  If their Merge caper is any precedent then here
they go again (at significantly higher prices) selling beta stuff with
a promise of a free upgrade.  Are you going to go for that?  If you are,
please send me a blank check, I'll fill in the amount and send you some
of my old equipment here, as much as I think is worth what I wrote on your

I'll try to be fair and wait to see if the leopard has changed it's spots.
I'll not accuse the new crew of perpetuating the ethics and attitudes
that killed the first Microport and maimed its customers.  You'll have a
tough time convincing me that the intellectual property has improved with
age.  The happiest I ever was with V/386 was when the UPS driver carried
it away, I'd hide and lock the doors if I thought he might bring me another
Microport effort...  Caveat emptor isn't enough, you have to push it
through banner first onto billboard size paper.

I'll grumble and growl about ISC and AT&T but I'll stick with them because
their products work.  There are quirks and thinks that annoy, but they
don't hurt you.  I screamed and howled about Microport because they hurt
you and laugh about it.
Bill Kennedy  usenet      {att,,sun!daver}!ssbn!bill
              internet    bill at ssbn.WLK.COM   or attmail!ssbn!bill

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