Operating Systems...

Or, A Bit of Kevin's History as it Pertains to Computing...


If you can think how I might make this page more fun... let me know...

CP/M Osborne Executives and my first educational programming experiences. Mom and Dad still use it to this day! I used a Davidge system with multiple drives at LeTourneau University to copy media from CP/M to DOS. I also have CP/M on my Timex/Sinclair 2068 system.
COS NCR operating system formerly used by EDP customers. I've sysgened a system before, and did system backups. Hope to never have to again.
ITX NCR operating system formerly used by EDP customers. We still use "I-Shell" at EDP to emulate ITX under UNIX. Why? Because the software has migrated up through many OS's. All I ever really did on these systems was convert them to UNIX, or make backups.
LeTourneau College String Calculator Well, unless you had Dr. Anderson at LeTourneau, and took his Operating Systems class, you might be wondering about this "operating system". It's still a bit of a peeve that I actually lost points on this project because when I wrote the core module, it was TOO MUCH LIKE AN OS! The core module did it's work so efficiently that the other people on the team had very little work to do. I wrote my part in the first few weeks of the semester before I realized the implications for the rest of the team. My secret dream has been to design my own O.S., but, alas, the days of that being much of a possibility are pretty far gone. I have no desire to be an egghead locked away in a room forever, and would have little chance of developing something that would stick in this horrible MS world. The Amiga team had a great idea... too bad it didn't stick. I envy Linus and his Linux...
LeTourneau College Microprocessor Design Post "String Calculator", this operating environment was developed on my Timex/Sinclair 2068. It was the program which ran the Z80 single board computer that I designed, built, and programmed for my Microprocessor Design class. Years after I wrote it, I looked back over its source code, and marvelled that I had grasped the concept of building an extensible O.S. where the design was so clean as to allow future expansion of capability without breaking the underlying philosophy of the environment. I still have that wire wrapped board around here somewhere...

Ok, ok, already. Mr. Skeptic finally buys in to play with it at home. Feb. 1999 marks my entry into this arena. I'm gonna go with a Red Hat derivative done by WGS. Primary reason to get it? Low cost software, web server, and doesn't need a lot of machine to run on. Why this distribution? Well, I liked Caldera's Novell support, but, ultimately, I preferred the RedHat Package Manager concept. WGS built on RedHat's strengths, and included all of the other major distributions on the CD I bought, so, I can try them all if I get the whim to do so. I'm used to SVR4's package system, and would be hard pressed to go back to anything else. Will it be possible to depart from MicroSoft bugware? We'll see, and I sure hope so...

Well, my first attempt was abortive. I tried a WGS distribution, but Linux was a bit immature for my taste. It held promise, but I wasn't ready for hard core configuration issues yet.

After a hiatus, I loaded Mandrake 7.2. With this distribution I realized there was hope for Linux, but again, I found things still a bit too immature. It took an awful lot of knowledge to configure some of the hardware I wanted to use. The big realization, though, was that finally easy to use installers were on the horizon, and that we had the hope of having (dare I say it) Windows-like ease of use for the non-hackers in the family.

Next Mandrake 8.0 wandered by but also fell by the wayside. It wasn't until Mandrake 8.2 that I finally got serious and actively kept a dual boot configuration around. I began to be more persistant about learning low-level configurations. This was also my first realization that wine was to the point where I could actually consider running some of my win32 apps without Windows.

Mandrake 9.0 and 9.1 are now here to stay. After the nth Windows 98SE croak and reload, I never bothered to reload it. The silly OS is fine, but the power management is hosed, and it turns itself off immediately upon booting. I guess Bill finally told me what to do with it. Win98SE is now only on a game machine. The family uses Linux now!

And, firsts are happening with Linux. My Mini-DV camcorder works over firewire on Linux, but I still can't make it work on Windows... It's over for Microsoft here...

MS-DOS Pirated from CP/M? Still used for gaming. Frankly, I never cared for MicroSoft's versions. I much preferred Zenith Data System's versions, and after that wasn't an option, I always used DR-DOS (5-7). I begrudgingly use the version with W95.
Novell 3.x Worked on this for several customers. The most I ever did was figure out how to configure MPR 2.0 for IP over an ISDN circuit. I can't say as I approve of the way Novell handles NLM's... No structure to uninstall or be sure the right TCPIP NLM is loaded except to do a horrid stint at researching versions.
Novell 4.x Use at home and work. I jumped in on this for a job, not knowing a stitch about Novell, to set up a temporary WAN using MPR 3.1 over dial-up lines. Two weeks later, I had been baptized by fire, but, it was working. I subsequently loaded a system here at home so as to be able to support it. When we moved to NT at work, we moved the company network off of Novell, but we still maintain a server there for a support and training resource. I still think this version is clunky with NLM support too. Why can't they adopt a package oriented system? If MS errs on being too GUI, Novell seems to err on being too in between.
NT 4.0 New Technology? (How cheesy) I use this at work. I really have trouble viewing this as an operating system... Never before have I seen such a horrible to administer environment. Mouse clicks will never, in my opinion, suffice for configuring huge network systems with hundreds of users. It is unfortunate that EDP's market has been so duped by this farce. We're having to retool to GUI under NT/W95 to maintain marketability. And, to top all this off, why does such a "powerful" system need to be fed so much CPU and RAM anyway?
Radio Shack Model I This guy is what is responsible for my being a computer nut... When an electronics teacher demonstrated to the class a game called NIM, and a simple program... you know, 10 PRINT "Hello" 20 GOTO 10, it was all over. You could TELL a machine what to DO! Electronics never really had a chance with me after that, though, I've always loved the blending of electronics and programming...
UCSD P System Well, ok, maybe not a true OS, but you booted it... I did all my early eductational programming under the P System. Both on Osborne Executives and Terak PDP systems.
UNIX SVR3 EDP's early UNIX systems were NCR 64xxx processor boxes that ran SVR3. I much preferred the SVR4 boxes, but then again, who can blame me. New is sometimes better, and I learned on the SVR4 boxes. We converted our last EDP customer off of SVR3 this year (1999).
UNIX SVR4 What my employer and their customers use. We will be using NCR MP-RAS 3.02 into the next century. Our biggest customer is comfortably running in excess of 400 users and 100 printing devices on a dual P90 system, and not even coming close to 100% CPU utilization. Tell me again why I should think NT is an OS. The closest I came to UNIX before EDP was a UNIX shell on a DEC MicroVAX II at LeTourneau University.
Unixware I loaded 2.0x on a home system, and loved its similarity to SVR4. If it weren't so picky on hardware, I'd have stuck with it instead of moving to Linux, but, Unixware won't utilize my old floppy controller based tape drives or my VESA local bus hardware... Don't get me started on that either... The day VESA died was the day we settled for inferiority - bowing to another monopolist. By the way the only Intel processor I ever paid cash for was an 8088 8MHz in a Zenith laptop. I've acquired a few others by barter or trade for labor, but, I am proud of my AMD processors.
VMS I must confess I know very little about this O.S., as the University acquired its first MicroVAX II the year after I graduated. Even though I worked on the system configuring devices, I never really had an opportunity to really use it much. It was my first exposure to a multi-user operating system.
Windows 95 Buggy, Bugs Me, But almost inevitable. This is the only MicroSoft product I personally use. If it weren't for work, I would never even let any other MicroSoft product brighten the phosphor on my monitors. It is all supremely mediocre, if not downright BAD. Yeah, I've got attitude, and good reason for it too. Just because something is popular doesn't make it conceptually good. GO SUN GO! Scott McNeally... keep up the anti-MS rhetoric!
Windows 98 I dread the day I will be forced to use this... The IE interface makes my stomach turn every time I see it. Waste, more waste, and even more to come. At least it fixed some of the bugs in Windows 95 that MS never bothered to acknowledge. When will MicroSoft be honest anyway? Loved that bit about them getting caught lying in DOJ case against them.
ZX81 TS1000 TS2068 I don't know what you'd call the operating systems that ran these systems... but, in their day... Little did Commodore 64 owners know how they'd be shafted. They'd PEEK and POKE till the cows came home when the TS2068 had RAM/ROM paging that allowed the environment to be manipulated to with intuative commands instead. I loved my Timex/Sinclair systems. They brought me up until OS's matured. How I loved assembly language programming and OS manipulation on them.

Back  Top  Home  Credits  What's New 

Humor  Internet  Linux  OS  Projects  Software  Systems  Tools 
Crossfire Site  Kevin's Home Site  KRayWiki 

Last edited: January 08th, 2011
Maintainer: Kevin R. Bulgrien
Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict