How the Mac was born... supposedly...

From: Mark Davidson <>
Date: Thu Jan 13 13:58:01 2005

At one point, there was a web site (in Europe, I believe) that had a
complete archive of the Coherent distribution. Unfortunately, Coherent
has very few drivers and those that exist don't play well with modern
hardware. For example, Coherent's disk utility for setting up file
systems absolutely has problems with drives of any reasonable size
today (I had problems getting it to work with an 8 GB IDE drive, for

Also, and I know this sounds picky, but it's not "Coherent Unix"...
it's "Coherent". It has NO AT&T code in it. The Mark Williams Company
wrote most of the code themselves, and eventually added support for X
Windows before the company folded. Even the C compiler was theirs (and
if I remember correctly, they had a great C compiler for Intel chips).

When Coherent first came out, it cost something like $500... later, the
price dropped to $99. Unfortunately for MWC, Coherent started becoming
popular right about the time Linux took off, and it was kind of hard
for them to compete. Because Coherent was a "look-alike", there were
many programs used that were rather difficult to port to Coherent. I
remember struggling to get UUCP working properly and having to bug MWC
to fix problems so I could use Coherent for news exchange (this was
back before NNTP).

I had many happy months working with Coherent in those days (back when
a "real" port of Unix would cost thousands of dollars), and was sorry
to see it go.

Mark Davidson

On Jan 13, 2005, at 11:10 AM, Al Kossow wrote:

> Anyone remember Coherent Unix? I worked at the company up until its
> demise, so
> I'd be happy to answer any questions about Coherent or MWC in general.
> --
> A rundown of the history would be interesting. I recovered a very
> early version
> of the C compiler that DGC worked on, and he filled me in on some info
> on the
> really early days of the company.
Received on Thu Jan 13 2005 - 13:58:01 GMT

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