Re: Punch Cards.

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David L. Gehrt wrote:

I do hope I had nothing to do with DEC's demise...
I can't say  about your incident, but  I think I may have  a better idea
about the  demise of DEC.  In the  early `80s I was  responsible for the
computing  facility  of  a  computer science  research  institute.   Our
computers were  two DEC Vaxen,  an 11/730 :-(  and an 11/780.   The `780
came  equipped  with  Dec's  latest  disk and  controller  system.   The
controller was a UDA-50 and the disk were like 756 MB (Then quite large)
RA series drives.   The operating systems we ran were  4.1c BSD then 4.2

The disk drive were pretty good EXCEPT the spindle bearings were made of
some space age material prone  to disintegration after a short period of
use.  I knew DEC  was going to be in trouble when  the repair guy stated
that the problem we had with  those bearings was because we were running
I suspect what caused DEC to die was tri-fold: the emergence of the PC,
DEC's closing of their bus architecture and DEC's turning their attack-
dog lawyers loose on third party vendors.

For years, the Q-Bus and Unibus were wide open and allowed lots of third
parties to build hardware for the machines.  Life was good and you could
get a DEC machine to do damned near anything.  Then DEC came up with the
"mighty" (tongue planted firmly in cheek) VAX 8000 series with the
incredibly silly "VAX BI bus" and closed the bus architecture.  You had
to buy BI interface chips from DEC to make hardware for the bus and the
chips were quite expensive, so any third party hardware easily doubled
in cost.  Strike one.

Then DEC went litigious.  Some chap reverse engineered the chip and
the DEC lawyers (scum that they were) attacked his company and anyone
else who even suggested reverse engineering it.  Strike two.

With that, no one wanted to build anything for DEC hardware and threw
their efforts at the PC.  Within a year or two, probably 90% of third
party hardware vendors had abandoned DEC.  Strike three.

With no one building the useful hardware that made DEC flexible and
DEC's own cockups with poorly designed systems that no one wanted, they
couldn't stay afloat and sold out to Compaq (and eventually HP).  As an
old DECophile, it was painful to watch.

Anyone want to buy some old DECUS t-shirts and caps?  :-)
- Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer                       [email protected] -
- Hosting Consulting, Inc.                                           -
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-        Brain:  The organ with which we think that we think.        -

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