[FoRK] DEC in the past; was Re: What do you think of my

Marty Halvorson marty at halvorson.us
Thu Jul 25 13:14:56 PDT 2013

Stephen Williams wrote:
"The VAX was awful in just about every way."

I worked for DEC for 12 years starting in 1980.  VAX wasn't terrible.  All you really needed was a good programmable editor which came with VAX VMS and all was good.  Ultrix wasn't really very good.  But DEC being DEC anyone could and did do their own thing, all you needed was someone to put up the money for whatever it was you wanted to do.  And that someone didn't have to be in your management chain.  We got money from memory, terminal, micro processor, and research and development management.  Most of the time we were in the terminal management chain.  We invented (got a patent for) what came to be called video memory where the memory chip could read an entire line into an on-chip serial output register.  That came about because we wanted to do real time visualization of modeling data.  Lots of fun stuff.

I should also note that the chief architect of VAX VMS was also the chief architect of one of the very early versions of Windows.  I forget his name (Dave ???), but I think it was Windows for Work Groups.

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