enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Alan R. Earls, Images of America: Digital Equipment Corporation

I read this book about 23-Sep-2017. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2004. This note was last modified Sunday, 05-Nov-2017 20:09:16 PST.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


A collection of photos from the early days of Digital Equipment Corporation (where I worked from 1979 to 1985).

I feel like it slighted the Large Computer Group (which is mostly where I worked) where the 36-bit machines, the DECSystem-10 and DECSYSTEM-20 by the time I was there (and the PDP-10 and PDP-6 earlier) were made. Those were among the really influential products, between use and modification at MIT and Stanford and elsewhere, and the prevalence of TOPS-20 on the Arpanet, but were already in eclipse when DEC's commercial peak came.

Then again I also feel like it slighted the importance of DEC in the development of Unix, and that's an oversight of a magnitude that's hard to forgive.

DEC's story is rather sad; we were the ones who made timesharing work really well, and the ones who made single-user computers affordable and popular (in the lab environment, never really broke into office single-user computers), and got networking going really well across very different computers twice (DECnet and Arpanet), and provided the hardware that gave birth to Unix and virtual memory Unix. And were bought up by Compaq, an already-failing PC-clone maker who was temporarily cash-rich, and then HP, and basically went from the #2 company financially and possibly the most important company technically, to a historical footnote that few people remember today (beyond those of us who were there). Oh, and got SMP and clustering to work really well.


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David Dyer-Bennet