I’ll miss you, SCO

Perhaps not many people will miss SCO, given their desperate intellectual property shenanigans, but I only remember the good times.

My second job out of university was at an investment bank, Dominguez Barry Samuel Montagu, as the co-developer of an equities options trading system. We had a brand new Compaq 80386, running at 16MHz. I don’t recall how much memory or disk that machine had — perhaps 1MB and 40MB, but it was an exciting machine to have at that point in time. Unfortunately the existing system, while well written, ran on Windows 3.11, with 16 bit addressing and the memory and performance problems that entailed. The 386 was actually a very nice processor, as long as you ran it in 32 bit mode, and so I convinced my boss to buy SCO Xenix, newly available for the 386. This made a vast difference to the performance of the application — once we got an 80387 with two sigma signs printed on it (the 80387 was a floating point co-processor — the 80386 not having any floating point hardware. And early versions had a hardware bug which froze the system occasionally.)

SCO made that job much more enjoyable for me, and the success of a Unix based system ensured that future projects were also done on Unix rather than Microsoft platforms (for pedants, of course Xenix is a Microsoft platform).

So I’ll remember SCO for what it was, not what it became, which is the right way to think about any lost love.

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