Apollo (was Re: Free: Apollo DOMAIN/OS Software Distribution Tapes)

From: Chuck McManis <cmcmanis_at_mcmanis.com>
Date: Thu Jun 22 16:17:25 2000

At 01:08 PM 6/22/00 -0600, Will wrote:
>Actually, Domain/OS is one of Apollo's 3 operating systems... Apollo
>started back when AT&T wasn't licensing UNIX for commercial use, so they
>had to create their own UNIX clone, which was actually better than UNIX.
>This was called Aegis, later changed to be called Domain/OS. Later, when
>AT&T did start licensing UNIX, Apollo was smart enough to know that even
>though Aegis or Domain/OS, depending on what you called it, was better
>than UNIX, the AT&T standard was what mattered to people, so they licensed
>UNIX, and that became Domain/IX, and shortly afterward, HP bought Apollo
>and killed basically everything other than Prism (PA-Risc).

Sorry but this is not very close to what actually occurred at all. I worked
at Sun (the guys that killed Apollo) from 1986 to 1995 and for part of that
time was involved with a group that picked apart Apollo in order to
facilitate its demise.

Apollo effectively invented the workstation. (yes there were others, PERQs
etc not withstanding) but for the mass market Apollo was really it. DEC did
their part with the VAXStations, and Sun did its thing with its workstations.

Aegis was Apollo's home grown, everything is an object, all written in
PASCAL, operating system. One of its chief architects, Paul Leach is over
at Microsoft now. It had a lot of features that were waayy before their
time, like memory spanning the network and disks that spanned the network
etc. Apollo made at least three really dumb decisions:
         1) Invent an OS
         2) Use Token Ring as their network topology
         3) Staying proprietary and ignoring UNIX

Apollo had some impressive design wins, the most notable was Mentor
Graphics, however as the Sun workstations began catching on they were
unable to deal with them. Apollo also had the tendency to "implement from
spec" rather than pay any licensing. This attitude got them in trouble
because when UNIX became more dominant their response was to implement the
POSIX spec rather than license UNIX. This never worked quite right
(similarly the DEC POSIX package for VMS was never truly as useful as
"real" unix libraries) Their first go at a UNIX compatible OS was DOMAIN.
(Distributed Object Memory Accessible Integrated Network (or some such
sillynes) anyway then the bit the bullet and licensed UNIX but by then they
were where SGI is now, effectively the walking dead. HP bought them and for
a brief time was once again the leading supplier of workstations only to
lose that title again to Sun.

Received on Thu Jun 22 2000 - 16:17:25 BST

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