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Unix from Lispm. [was Symbolics prices (not only in Europe)]

    Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1991 08:42 EDT
    From: rwk@Crl.dec.com (Robert W. Kerns)

	Date: Tue, 3 Sep 1991 22:38-0000
	From: p2@porter.asl.dialnet.symbolics.com (Peter Paine)
	But ... (vainly attempting to pass the buck) a certain Phil Greenspun
	came over to the UK to have a hack on our 3600 in about 1983.  It was his
	assertion that the original intention had been to have a wee unix
	processor available in the 3600 console. 

    "Intention" is much too strong a word.  However, the idea was certainly
    discussed.  Mostly it was in jest at the high degree of overkill involved,
    but people did discuss what one might DO with a unix in ones' console.

And it's not too far-fetched an idea.  The AT&T BLIT terminal runs a
multitasking OS (it permits the host to download code to run in a
window), and I'll bet most X terminals do.  These OSes are probably more
like Minix and Genera -- multitasking in a single address space, with a
simple, round-robin scheduler -- than full-blown Unix.

The hardest part would have been doing anything useful with the limited
amount of RAM that you'd have in the console.  And the utility of a
powerful console processor is lower in the Lispm case than the above
examples.  In those cases, the connection between the terminal and the
host is much slower than between a Lispm console and its host, so it's
useful to move autonomous processing to the other end of the wire.