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January 23, 2006

XDE Reborn

For what it's worth, I could have been a famous zillionaire by now. That is because I was the network admin for what once was one of the largest LANs in the world, back in 1986. It was the Xerox ESXC16 domain and it consisted of over 150 D-Machines. I cannot remember the exact details, but it was one of the top domains in Xerox outside of PARC, OSBU-South, OSBU-North and Rochester128. We had over 900MB of file service, both a PUP Gateway and a full set of XNS servers and services including about 11 print servers, a Clearinghouse and a couple of mail servers. We had one of the first fiber optic ethernet hubs on the planet. It was the bomb.

Over the weekend, I happened on to some interesting documents on and off the web. It has gotten me really jazzed about some Xerox nostalgia. Just this morning, I hit the mother lode. It turns out that some cat named Don Woodward has created a virtual D-Machine for Win32. On my very desktop, right now, is a copy of Dawn and a Tajo 15.3 environment. Is this mind-blowing or what?

Every year I go through a period of depression thinking about what might have been had Xerox been successful in marketing and selling the networks, operating systems, workstations and printers that they developed. And then thinking about it today, I wonder how little it might have meant considering the death of computing kings like NCR, DEC and Silicon Graphics, not to mention Apollo, Cray, and Symbolics. Still, a small but a mighty big word is 'if'. Then I wake up and realize that there were people there at Xerox who said that there was no future in email - that business people would never trust it and managers would never learn to type.

But while I'm still nostalgic, I'm going to bring up some historical stuff that I recall here and over at Cubegeek (which I've been neglecting). Stay tuned.

Posted by mbowen at January 23, 2006 11:46 AM

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