Chronology of the Unix World
|1969||Internet begins as the ARPAnet with Doug
Englebart (inventor of the mouse) at Stanford Research Institute linking to a Scientific
Data Systems mainframe to a Honeywell minicomputer acting as a dumb terminal in remote
login--more or less a dialup "telnet" session.
Unix invented by Ken Thompson of AT&T's Bell Laboratories as a Digital PDP minicomputer alternative to the General Electric multi-user mainframe running MIT's Multics. Unix was originally written in assembly language. Unix, in a sense, emerged from the fragmentation of AT&T and GE's attempt to work together.
|1970||Intel creates the first microprocessor
AT&T's patent department uses Unix's roff program for text formatting.
|1971||Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie release AT&T's Unix for the Digital minicomputer. 80% of U.S. universities license Unix at nominal cost for their Digital minicomputers.|
|1972||Ken Thompson rewrites Unix in B (after the "A" of assembly language?). Ken Thompson's B, which evolved from Martin Richard's BCPL|
|1973||Dennis Ritchie rewrites B as C for portability. [PDP-11 time sharing supports 11 users and costs $150,000.)|
|1974||Unix becomes the first operating system written in the C programming language, which means porting is much easier than a system written in assembler language.|
|1975||Universities begin to provide Unix to students, thanks to the low cost ($150 for an unsupported version).|
|1976||The first port of Unix: from the PDP to the Interdata 8/32.|
releases Unix Version 7, featuring the
IBM enters the PC market, seeking to displace Digital's CP/M, the predecessor to DOS. Bill Gate's DOS uses system interrupts instead of system calls.
|1979||Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) becomes available: Berkeley added the C shell to make Unix commands more like C commands, networking improvements, and virtual memory.|
|1980||Apollo Computer founded to provide proprietary "workstations" ($25,000 - $100,000) as a cheaper alternative to mini-computers (Digital, Data General, Hewlett-Packard)|
|1982||SUN Micrososystems incorporated in February with four employees. First workstation introduced. It includes TCP/IP, now known as the Internet protocol suite; then called "Ethernet". SUN workstations cheaper because they use Motorola chips, the Berkeley flavor of the Unix operating system, "open systems", and networking (modular; distributed computing; collaboration across organizations). Known as the Stanford University Network project, the working prototype and a 6-page business plan lands venture capital to storm the CAD market because engineers hated having to share time slices on a mini.|
|1983||Sun and Computervision sign a $40 million OEM
AT&T releases Unix System V.
|1984||Sun's Network File System (NFS) licensed
free to the industry, so that one logical file system can distribute files to
computers running Unix, DOS, MacOS, and Digital VMS. Sun cultivates "engineers
selling to engineers" marketing.
Using Sun workstations at Stanford, Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, invent the internet router. Sun decides not to go that path, and allows Cisco to surpass Sun in value.
Apple Computer releases the revolutionary Macintosh, complete with GUI and mouse.
|1985||Sun marketing chooses "The Network Is The Computer" slogan instead of "Open Systems For Open Minds". Sun and Fujitsu begin work on the RISC(reduced instruction set computer) base for the SPARC (scalable processor architecture) processor, to be more powerful than Motorola chips.|
|1986||PC-NFS technology introduced. It brings the power of network computing to PC users, and opens a whole new market for Sun. Initial public stock offering (IPO).|
|1987||Sun promotes the concept of cloning Sun
workstations with SPARC International, but it fails as an "open standard"
because Sun retained rights to any collaborator's improvements.
Sun's cowboys and AT&T's bureaucrats try to work together to unify flavors into UNIX System V Release 4, with AT&T to buy 20% of Sun. Two years later, AT&T gave up trying to work with Sun and sold off all of its Unix holdings. Digital, HP, and IBM found the Open Software Foundation (OSF) to oppose Unix International consortium: Sun, AT&T, Motorola, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and Unisys. The division in the Unix world allows Microsoft to plan for Windows NT to take over Unix' space.
Microsoft and IBM release the first version of OS/2.
|1988||Microsoft and IBM collaboration falls apart.
IBM will attempt to bring its OS/2 to market before Microsoft can release Windows NT.
Microsoft recruits Dave Cutler from Digital to architect Windows NT.
Sun reaches $1 billion in revenue--the fastest rise ever for a computer company with a direct sales force. [cf. Compaq, Dell]
|1989||OSF and Unix International join the X/Open
consortium for X-Windows programming standard (Motif is proprietary to Sun).
SPARCstationTM 1 system introduced. Features are so tightly integrated it fits in a 3- by 16- by 16-inch enclosure--the first "pizza box." Sun's expanded alliances with Informix, Ingres, Oracle, and Sybase set the stage for emergence as the number one database platform. Sun loses $20 million and settles an investor class-action lawsuit for $25 million. Sun focuses on its core technology: the SPARC chips, and drops both 386i and Motorola, and creates a small business units: SunSoft; SunService, etc.
Microsoft releases Windows 3.0.
|1990||Sun follows up on the success of the SPARCstation 1 with four new models--including the first workstation for under $5,000.|
|1991||Sun's market share in RISC--the world's
fastest, most powerful computing architecture--hits 63 percent. Sun unveils SolarisTM 2 operating environment, specially tuned for
symmetric multiprocessing. (Solaris does have some of AT&T's Unix in it.)
Linus Thorvald's begins writing the GNU/Linux kernel.
|1992||Leading the desktop performance race, Sun
introduces the SPARCstation 10 system, the first multiprocessing desktop computer. Sun's
name appears on Standard & Poor's 500.
Sun ships more multiprocessing UNIX servers in a single year than any other vendor shipped in its history.
Microsoft releases Windows 3.1, with object linking and embedding (OLE).
|1993||Windows NT released (after 5 years of development).|
|1994||Linux Thorvalds releases Linux (version 1.0), an OS running with less than 2 MB of RAM..|
|1995||Sun introduces the first universal software
platform, designed from the ground up for the Internet and corporate intranets. Java
technology enables developers to write applications once to run on any computer.
More than 100 Sun systems are used to render images for Disney's "Toy Story," the first all computer-generated feature film.
Novell transfers its UnixWare to SCO (Santa Cruz Operation)--runs on Intel. [UnixWare combines NetWare with SRV4 Unix to eliminate the TCP/IP gateway to servers.]
|1996||Sun UltraTM workstation family introduced.
Features the 64-bit UltraSPARC processor with on-chip multimedia, graphics, and imaging
technologies. Sun licenses Java technology to all major hardware and software companies.
Linux gains SAMBA, software that tricks Windows machines into believing they have a Windows NT server instead of a Linux server.
|1997||Using Java technology, NASA engineers develop
an interactive application allowing anyone on the Internet to be a "virtual
participant" in the space administration's groundbreaking mission to Mars. Sun's new
server family introduced. Includes the 64-processor Sun EnterpriseTM 10000 server with the
processing power of four mainframes.
In 1997, SCO UNIX server software shipped in more volume than all of the Sun, HP, and IBM RISC-based alternatives combined.
Linux users total 3 million.
|1998||Sun redefines storage for the network age with
an Intelligent Storage Network architecture that delivers mainframe-class reliability,
virtually unlimited expandability, and cross-platform information sharing. Say hello to
instant networking. Sun's latest breakthrough, Jini technology, enables all kinds of
devices to connect to the network-- instantly. Just plug it in, and it works. Solaris 7
operating environment raises the bar for network software. Advanced 64-bit technology
delivers dramatic increases in performance, capacity, and scalability. America Online
acquires Netscape; Sun and AOL to accelerate the growth of e-commerce and develop
next-generation Internet devices in a historic three-year alliance. Next generation of
Java technology introduced. Java 2 software delivers more speed, more flexibility, and a
complete set of foundation classes.
Linux users total 7 million.
|1999||With offices in 150 countries, Sun is a $9 billion global leader in network computing. More than half the medium to large companies worldwide are using Java technology.|
There is a good introduction to Unix at this site.