SUPDUP protocol


Barry Shein (bzs@bu-cs.bu.edu)
Fri, 2 Oct 87 10:09:45 EDT


From: David C. Plummer <DCP@QUABBIN.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
>The cynic in me says you won't see much real improvement in Unix or VMS
>or whatever unless and until their owners bite the bullet, commit to
>entering the 1980s (from the 1960s), and pour money into the development
>hole. I would actually suggest they try to be visionaries and enter the
>1990s.

Although I can't speak to VMS one would think the current efforts in
windowing standards (eg. X and NeWS) for Unix indicate about as strong
a commitment to advancing interactive interfaces as one sees elsewhere
today. Unix has always been perhaps unique in this area in that all
fundamental developments such as this have been viewed in terms of the
widest possible view of machine architectures (currently ranging at
least from PC/AT to Cray-2's in sheer size, RISC, CISC, parallel
architectures etc on another dimension, variety I suppose.)

When one has narrowed their view to purely the current architectural
technology it's not surprising that some speed in introduction of
products is gained. I can only make allusion to the hare and the
tortoise to perhaps put this into some perspective. Consider, for
example, the status of (eg) ITS and Unix today, their age in fact is
not all that different.

I believe the current widespread introduction of remote window
standards such as X and NeWS render the above anything but
hypothetical.

In fact I think they are "SUPDUP". It's the discussion of dumb ASCII
terminals at all (and their optimization) that casts this conversation
into ancient terms. I believe we are simply in a similar transition
phase towards bitmapped (etc), locally intelligent interfaces that we
were several years past when co-workers would tell me "how can you
work on all that CRT stuff when everyone around here has this large
investment in keypunches and teletypes, you live in the clouds..."

Put simply, a Macintosh or a Sun workstation (&c) attached to a real
network (ie. not emulating RS232) are about the dumbest "terminals" I
want to think about anymore.

        -Barry Shein, Boston University



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