An oldie but goodie...

From: Antonio Carlini <>
Date: Fri Feb 27 12:06:50 2004

> The DECserver-100 -- the first LAT terminal server from DEC
> -- was almost ready for release. It came in a fairly small
> box, about the same dimensions as two fairly large laptops
> stacked on top of each other. It had terminal connectors
> with snap latches on the side.
> Ken came in at the last minute and decreed that (a) it had to
> go into a larger box, and (b) it had to use different
> connectors, the MMJ connectors. The result was that the
> initial release of that product came in a large box with a
> small PC board inside, and 8 jumper cables to connect from
> the original terminal connectors on the board to the MMJ
> jacks in the new cabinet. Needless to say, this caused a
> significant product delay as well as some highly annoyed engineers.

The DS100 had 8 DB25 connectors IIRC. The later DS200 came in two
variants: DS200/MC with 8 DB25 (with modem control) and the DS200
with a harmonica connector off to a panel (I guess, I don't recall
exactly) with either 8 or 16 MMJ ports. The DS300 was 16 MMJ
with no RS232 variant. The DS700 was RJ45 (IIRC).

So Ken fiddled with the 2nd product. I never understood why the
DS200 was the way it was (rather than having the MMJs directly
on the back). Maybe Ken's last minute fiddle was the problem.

> There were whole competing organizations: the networking
> products group in Littleton vs. the Low End networking
> products group in Maynard. Those ended up both shipping
> product, which wasted resources.

It was always touted as a strength: make your best products
fight each other and pick the winner. Worked for a while,
I guess, but not in the long run.

> I hope that "enemy" wasn't applied to my comments. I have no
> personal problems with Ken, I don't know him well enough and
> what little contact I had with him was certainly pleasant.
> My issues are around management inability. Not that his

He grew it from nothing to #2 computer maker in the world;
that's no mean achievement. OTOH it obviously ran away
from him at the end.


Antonio Carlini   
Received on Fri Feb 27 2004 - 12:06:50 GMT

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