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Jim Hunt

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Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« on: March 04, 2019, 11:39:10 AM »
In order to avoid an off topic rant by yours truly elsewhere, let's let off steam about CP/M, QDOS, IBM PC DOS et seq. here instead shall we?

To set the ball rolling, here is the Wikipedia article entitled simply "DOS":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS

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DOS is a family of disk operating systems, hence the name.[2] DOS primarily consists of MS-DOS and a rebranded version under the name IBM PC DOS, both of which were introduced in 1981. Other later compatible systems from other manufacturers include DR-DOS (1988), ROM-DOS (1989), PTS-DOS (1993), and FreeDOS (1998). MS-DOS dominated the x86-based IBM PC compatible market between 1981 and 1995.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

NeilT

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2019, 12:54:20 AM »
When IBM decided to use the new Intel x86 processor (the 16 bit 8086), they needed an operating system for it.  IBM were hugely invested in their Mainframe systems and also UNIX, but not really in CP/M, which was the dominant operating system on Mini computers which ran everything else and ran on 8 bit chips.  Mini systems were the backbone of the SME computing environments.

So that sets the scene.

Here is the approach difference.  Gary Kildall, the owner of Digital Research, didn't see the deal with IBM, for the new 16 bit technology of the Personal Computer ( the IBM PC), as much of a big deal.  8 Bit computing was the world of CP/M and dominated by DR.  So Kildall and DR decided to try and use their dominance of the small computer world to strong arm IBM and make as much money as possible.

Bill Gates, on the other hand, didn't have an operating system.  Microsoft was a software house and not an Operating System company.  However when IBM came calling Microsoft cut a deal with IBM for an operating system they did not have and could not produce.  IBM wanted a fixed price for the OS and total ownership, Gates beat them down to a very low cost, per unit, license and ownership of PC/Dos or MS/Dos with Microsoft.

Once the deal was struck Gates then went to Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products and cut a deal to buy their x86 DOS (nicknamed QDOS for quick and dirty OS), as a single purchase with full ownership and license to distribute.  Microsoft then took x86 DOS (which Paterson had cobbled together to work with the new Intel boards), and developed it into the first PC/Dos and MS/Dos versions.

Microsoft was very typical of a young and vibrant company.  Driving very close to the wind on regulations and using every dirty trick in the book to keep ahead.  Microsoft had a saying, early on, "The job's not done till Lotus won't run".  This may seem like some kind of fairy story but I actually lived the situation where, over a period of years, Microsoft modified Windows 3.1 so that the (very late to market), DR/Dos from Digital Research, could not be used to run Windows 3.1.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Microsoft sailed close to the wind, broke laws, was fined, became anti competitive and monopolistic.  It was allowed to do so because IBM had so badly abused their monopoly in the previous decades that nobody wanted to let them do what Microsoft was doing.

The point is that, at this time, the technology of personal computing was moving incredibly rapidly.  Incumbents were unable to compete, challengers grew and outlived the incumbents.  The world order changed and the quick, flexible companies which challenged the old order and the way things were done survived.  Those who did not evolve died.

Tesla, today, is the Microsoft of the EV world.  The incumbents are trying to catch up but they have lesser products with premium prices.  They have existing business and margins to protect and Tesla only has to focus on what it is doing and driving that to increasing profits and business.  The incumbents must always prove to their shareholders that the new path is the only path and that the existing lucrative, tried and tested methods must be abandoned.

Time will tell.  But this happens in the tech world over and over again.  Witness Google.  Who remembers Alta Vista?


Tesla is already blurring the borders and the traditions.  Tradition says you buy a car and it is what you bought.  It gets older, slower, burns more fuel and, eventually, you buy a new one.  Tesla is now telling us you can get updated computers, can upgrade the vehicle to full self driving, can increase and enhance capabilities.  A blend of the computer model and the car model.

This gives Tesla an additional revenue stream of upgrades for vehicles already sold.  It also sets expectations for owners who can buy low and upgrade as they go instead of always being stuck with whatever the manufacturer punts into the base model because that is all they can ever afford.

There is a message and a story in QDOS and Microsoft.  It echoes through the technology world and the Internet.  Tesla is bringing this story to bricks and mortar and physical hardware.

That, I believe, fits fully with Tesla "Glory/Failure".  It is relevant even if people don't think it is.

It is why I say that if Musk were replaced and a "Traditional" manager were to replace him, then Tesla would slowly fail and be overtaken by the incumbents.
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Sleepy

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2019, 09:28:22 AM »
Hmm, maybe I shouldn't comment at all but will add a couple of old OT comments about this.

Quote
The unreal thing here, is that even Microsoft started playing with their cluster server twenty years ago. It was back then when they were being laughed at by UNIX and Netware.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,230.msg80669.html#msg80669

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Yes... and there are quite a few of us still laughing now!

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,230.msg80670.html#msg80670

Quote
3.12, wonderful! :)
As a former netware engineer and consultant I was forced to work with NT back then. A renamed workstation lacking server functionality and security. Restarting a server after updating a driver was a joke, and so on...
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,230.msg80673.html#msg80673

Bill Gates and Micro-Soft has always been about more, especially money:
http://www.swtpc.com/mholley/RadioElectronics/May1976/Gates_Letter.pdf

The solution is always more and he has used the same 15 year timeframe a long time:
https://www.smh.com.au/business/we-need-a-miracle-bill-gates-qa-on-climate-change-20160223-gn184m.html
"So, I would say it's likely that if an energy miracle comes in the next 15 years, key participants will be the teenagers of today."
Some teenagers do not agree anymore.

The solution is still more, although he now acknowledges the last IPCC report, but what about this one made by the EPA in 1983?
Can we delay a greenhouse warming?
The Effectiveness and Feasibility of Options to Slow a Build-up of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere
https://cfpub.epa.gov/ols/catalog/advanced_brief_record.cfm?&FIELD1=AUTHOR&INPUT1=STEPHEN%20AND%20L.&TYPE1=ALL&LOGIC1=AND&COLL=&SORT_TYPE=MTIC&item_count=34&item_accn=61312
http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=9101HEAX.PDF
Omnia mirari, etiam tritissima.
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Science is a jealous mistress and takes little account of a man's feelings.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 09:48:17 AM »
"Those who did not evolve died."
"Witness Google.  Who remembers Alta Vista?"

Strawman.

Those who did not lie cheat and steal died.

Good morning "Lurk" (UTC).

Apparently you're setting your sights on regaining top spot in the Great White Con 2019 "New Einstein" contest?

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2019/03/the-great-white-con-2019-new-einstein-award/#Lurk

Our astonishing first prize of a fully fitted polar bear suit awaits if you can keep up the excellent work!

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2019/03/arctic-basin-big-wave-surfing-contest-equipment-evaluation-3/

Please see also "Algorithms of Hate". Hopefully my long awaited book on the topic will arrive later today?

Did I mention that Peter Hadfield has recently "come out" as a closet Libertarian?

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2019, 10:10:08 AM »
When IBM decided to use the new Intel x86 processor (the 16 bit 8086), they needed an operating system for it.

Thanks very much for the excellent introduction to the topic. It saves me the trouble of writing it!

To be clear at the outset, Gates v Musk comparisons are very much "on topic" in here.

Is this glorious?



Was Bill's first draft of Windows?

P.S. Starting the video at the correct point seems to break the forum. Please feel free to skip forward to 48:00 or thereabouts.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2019, 10:17:22 AM »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

NeilT

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2019, 01:51:47 AM »
Who remembers Alta Vista?

I do!

And I'm sure you remember how it died too.

Google was nobody from nowhere.  However they had a compelling product which worked far better than the competition and they leveraged it for all they were worth.

Musk, with Tesla, sits in the same place Gates did.

Lurk, you make some very clear statements, however you need to answer some questions.

DOS stands for Disk Operating System.  Did it fulfil the task? Could it do what other DOS systems did? What did it cost for the "license" compared to other systems?

The point is that DOS worked, it did what it said on the tin and, for most users, it came free with the PC and could be transferred to other PC's without onerous license conditions.

DOS either PC or MS, are the reason you and I are talking on the Internet like this. However the true game changer there was Windows 95.  I wrote a piece on that in the comments section of PCW magazine and they gave me a 3/4 page slot for it.  It was entitled "In defence of Microsoft".

People forget that where we are today comes from the decisions of the past.  Even worse is that people act more like politicians as every year goes by and are more determined to make the same mistakes all over again.

People like Gates and Musk use the accumulated knowledge to further their aims.  This is why Tesla under Musk will flourish and without him will eventually be consumed by the competition.

I spent months learning to use the Microsoft network only to find that Microsoft junked it before W95 launched.  Why? Because Bill Gates took Marc Andressen (rember him?), seriously and took a week off to research the Internet. The upshot was that Gates agreed with the assessment that the www was going to kill AOL, Compuserve and the Microsoft network.  In one week Gates ditched hundreds of millions of invested time and moved MS wholesale to the www.

It is this kind of leadership which separates the winners from the loosers. Musk has it, Gates has it, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had it when the created Android over  the objections of Eric Schmidt, who thought that Google could not afford to focus on mobile technology at the time.  Page and Brin knew Google could not afford to ignore it.

This is where Musk, driving Tesla to mass market Model3 and Semi's, is a differentiator.  Traditional CEO'S and Chairmen are about maximising profit for the shareholders.  Musk is about building the Microsoft of Electric Vehicles of all kinds.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

sidd

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 05:55:18 AM »
Re: Microsoft DOS/Windows

Both were excerable operating systems for decades. I had the misfortune to have to use MIcrosoft DOS on a project in the 80s, after which i refused to use Microsoft product for serious work. After that, over a couple decades, i bought hundreds of computers, each of which had Microsoft product on them which was immediately erased in favour of more competent systems. Nevertheless, i had to pay a license fee for that Microsoft product for the longest time, it was a about 2000+ ish that i began to see blank computers available without the Microsoft fee.

Bill Gates genius was that he figured out that there was a a market for bad software. I can say without qualification, that windows products have caused me more grief than any other software. And that in spite of never using them myself, just having to inhabit the same networks with machines running microsoft.

In fairness, there was one version of windows NT (3.51) that was actually reliable. This was, in some circles, known as Microsoft-VMS. But then it all went pearshaped in 4.0 where they subverted a ton of VMS design by reabsorbing the GUI into kernel space.

In contrast, i had fun with OS/2. It was much saner, and that realtime 15microsec interrupt service guarantee for prioritized jobs was very useful in some cases. But mostly for that kinda thing we programmed to the bare metal.

These days i just run BSD and slackware linux. For realtime, i run RTL linux, does what i need. But i dont run nearly as many machines as i used to.

I am told by those who have to administer microsoft product, that the situation is slitely better now. About time.

sidd
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 08:03:27 AM by sidd »

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 07:25:01 AM »
Nice comment sidd, I'm a bit skeptical to your last sentence though. But I've been retired for more than a decade so what would I know? Mostly find computers boring nowadays but found out a couple of years back, that Micro-Soft actually made some progress with SMB v3. That only took decades and of course you will have to enable that "feature" in Windows. Amazing progress.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2019, 09:23:05 AM »
Here's a hint: I am endeavouring to point out to you as nicely as I possibly can that you've been conned.

Here's a hint: I have been endeavouring to point out to you as nicely as I possibly can that it would be preferable for all concerned if you modified your behaviour. In this thread at least.

I have some sympathy for the point of view you seem to be endeavouring to express, but none whatsoever for the way that you go about it.



P.S. The ancient WordPress website referred to in the video seems to have been hacked! Do not attempt to go there until it has been fixed!!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 09:33:21 AM by Jim Hunt »
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oren

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2019, 01:35:32 PM »
Gates created a monopoly and leveraged it for all he could. Bad behavior, mediocre software with most good ideas taken from other companies who were mostly driven out of business.
IMHO can't compare him to Musk, not a monopolist but a disruptor and a leapfrogging innovator/leader of innovators. Maybe an ultra-competitive, childish, truth-twisting, narcissist, but in no way comparable to Gates.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2019, 04:47:16 PM »
Gates created a monopoly and leveraged it for all he could. Bad behavior, mediocre software with most good ideas taken from other companies who were mostly driven out of business.

Here's a still from a video which may never see the light of day. A section of said video was devoted to NeilT and this thread. Hence my threads!
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

VideoGameVet

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2019, 07:37:13 PM »
Long before Windows, Bill Gates sunk the multimedia platform Compact Disc Interactive (CDi) in a rather brilliant series of moves.  I was there for all of this (I did the production on what is considered the  first CD-ROM based game).  This happened:

Quote
Bill Gates’s reputation as a master Machiavellian being what it is, I’ve heard it suggested that the chaos and indecision which followed the public debut of DVI had been consciously engineered by him — that he had convinced a clueless General Electric to give that 1987 demonstration and later convinced Intel to keep DVI at least ostensibly alive and thus paralyzing Philips long enough for everyday PC hardware and vanilla CD-ROM to win the day, all the while knowing full well that DVI would never amount to anything. That sounds a little far-fetched to this writer, but who knows? Philips’s decision to announce CD-I five days before Microsoft’s CD-ROM Conference had clearly been a direct shot across Bill Gates’s bow, and such challenges did tend not to end well for the challenger. Anything else is, and must likely always remain, mere speculation.

More here: https://www.filfre.net/2016/09/a-slow-motion-revolution/

And the story of that first CD-ROM Game:

https://www.filfre.net/2016/10/the-manhole/

(I'm William Volk by the way).
"Humans went to the moon on purpose. We destroyed an entire planet by just not caring."

gerontocrat

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 08:23:58 PM »
The first of Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating Systems (that was not very quick) was the dreaded MS-DOS. How he conned IBM to:-
a) give him the contract to write the system for IBM's first foray into microcomputers ,
b) give him the rights to the system,
is a story that will probably never be written.
Probably muchly because IBM never really thought micros would be more than a fringe market. Dumbos.

What he did was take IBM's 360 mainframe DOS and make it work on the microcomputers, even down to filenames  - [8 alphanumeric characters]  then [dot] then [3 alphanumeric suffix].
Then he made it work on everybodys'  micros and bingo- monopoly.

By the way, the Lotus 123 version 3.1 from the 1970's  still handles data more genuinely 3-D than does 2016 Excel.
And does anyone remember Wordperfect ?
And does anyone remember how IBM won the court case that allowed them to use the keystroke sequences and commands of other companys' products?  (So, e.g. Word looked and behaved just like Wordperfect).
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Sterks

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2019, 06:18:24 PM »
I remember Wordperfect and the paper strip we had to fix above the FN keys with all the combinations, as well as Lotus and Multiplan.
The first IBM-DOS I don't remember as a bad OS, for its purpose. I grew up banging a used XT-DD for school work and a MSX to play 8-bit games of those years.
The problems came with Windows

blumenkraft

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Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 07:57:46 PM »
Quote
Bill Gates has managed to craft a reputation as a billionaire with a social conscience. But his recent comments on proposals for a wealth tax leave no room for doubt about whose side he’s on.

Link >> https://jacobinmag.com/2019/11/bill-gates-billionaires-wealth-tax-redistribution/
Refugees welcome