System 7 is sent to other galaxies

The project called Star Trek. It is unknown which came first — the slogan “to Boldly go where no Mac has never been” borrowed from the popular television series Star Trek (with the replacement of the word “man” to “Mac”) or the name of the project. This is one of the most colorful epics in the history of Apple, which ended in nothing.

From the architecture of the IBM PC was not a serious advantages over other platforms of that time, its commercial success was the result of sincere faith of the masses in the three magic letters IBM, and not very clean “political technologies”. But in 1992, about these minor details, there are few who remember.

Especially as a young and dynamic company has already pushed Big Blue (IBM’s nickname) from the rapidly increasing financial flows, forcing the giant to go on the defensive. IBM has itself been the victim, not yet realizing it.

In 1992 IBM PC and its clones were already the most popular computer platform in the world. So massive that the term PC, for some time, came to refer to them.

Other platforms of personal computers, in 1992 Commodore, Apple II, Mac, Amiga, Tandy and others – were still alive, popular and played an important role, and on the IBM PC platform is still “in bloom hundreds of thousands of flowers” (Mao, quoted from memory) more operating systems, but with the word “PC” is increasingly called IBM PC with installed on it MS DOS.

When a competitor, using honest and not too honest ways, takes away a piece of bread, there are three options: destroy it, to beat it or join it. Not all of them are equally real. At some point the real only one. Last.

System Mac on Intel architecture, 1985

The Macintosh project was a victory with tears on eyes: on the one hand, the user interface was unmistakable and triumphant success, which spoke and wrote, all the manufacturers of computer platforms wanted to get at something similar. But from the point of view of Commerce, estimating the world only in terms of sales, it was almost a failure.

IBM PC triumphantly marched on the planet, like a virus, from which there is neither effective protection nor the time to create one.

The ambitious breakthrough project is something like war. Where do not shoot, do not kill (although it happens, the human body is weaker than seizing them ideas), not civilians, not captured languages for short and very tough interrogation, with a fatal outcome. But continuous stress, tension of all forces, working to the limit and beyond – it’s exhausting, and even if all ended in victory, there remains a bitter aftertaste. Nerves.

It was only later, through the years, you begin to envy himself, suddenly realizing what it is these days, painful, and intense were the best days of life.

In the Wake of such finish, in 1985, bill Atkinson invented HyperCard. Dan eyler, Vice President of Apple Computer, strategic investments, proposed to move the system Mac on Intel.

But, having discussed all “for” and “against” the proposal was rejected. Apple Computer earned billions by selling computers and periphery, and only tens of millions in operating systems.

Most likely, if the project was successfully implemented, Apple in our days there would be only memories. Or of Microsoft. In any case, it would be a completely different world.

Novella about Novell, 1992

In January 1992, Darrell Miller, Vice President, strategic marketing communications giant Novell (Provo, Utah) sent the leadership of the Apple Computer unusual message (the text is probably hidden in the basement of the Apple, and still secret), in which senior software developers Apple invited to a meeting with the technical guidance of Novell, if Apple Computer will not oppose it.

Apple did not object. In any court of the state of California was preparing for trial on the claim of Apple to Novell due to the developments of the last “advanced options” DR DOS, GEM, OS with a graphical interface, obscenely similar to the interface of the Mac-native system. The use of DR DOS, GEM on the Atari didn’t cause such a reaction the Apple platform was doomed. But with Novell it was possible to tear off a decent amount.

The year before Novell acquired Digital Research, with all its developments. Novell was interested in Digital Research DOS GEM, and not because of any humane (rescue from alcoholism and despair Gary Kildal) or other abstract considerations. At Novell was the problem.

Microsoft irresistibly exciting market, using any, including the most “unsportsmanlike” methods. In 1990 or 1991, Microsoft announced the development of Windows NT operating system with a GUI (graphical user interface) and a powerful Arsenal of communication technology. Windows NT was developed by a team of people from DEC, the creators of the fantastic VAX/VMS. Led by Dave Cutler, leader and ideological inspirer of the project VMS.

The first three letters of the name Windows NT (WNT) can be obtained from VMS by replacing each of the letters in the following alphabet. This, according to one version, it is not a coincidence.

Microsoft, makers of the VAX/VMS, a powerful Arsenal of communication technology – all this created a serious threat to NetWare (in Russian jargon of the time it was called “NetWare”), network cross-platform operating system, the main source of income for Novell.

Windows NT was not yet, rumor has it that this is another bubble (vaporware “UN-American”, “parser” by analogy with “software” and “hardware”), but Novell already felt on his neck, her suffocating embrace: sales declined, proposals for long-term cooperation virtually disappeared from the corporate mailbox. Novell decided to give the aggressor the fight. Therefore, it acquired Digital Research (c 1981 1983 or 1984 DR was IDR, where ”I” stood for “Intergalactic” – Intergalactic Digital Research”).

On Valentine’s day 1992, in the office, Novell, held a meeting, which could become an epic. It discussed the technical feasibility of the porting System 7 to the “enemy” of the Intel architecture (conclusion: difficult, but possible), and the most important challenges of this transfer (output solutions), and drew up a Protocol on mutual intent to conclude the Treaty of Alliance between Apple and Novell.

“We accept the battle!”

The contract was finalized and signed. The high Contracting parties addressed to the head of Intel, Andy Grove – and got his side of the support and promise of aid. Intel also worried about the activity of Microsoft.

The project was named Star Trek. The team was headed by Chris DeRussy (Manager General Affairs) and Roger Heinen (technical Manager). The team consisted of 14 Apple engineers and 4 engineers from Novell. To relieve developers from the tutelage of senior management of both companies, the team was allocated an office in the marketing Department of Novell in Santa Clara, California, across from the main office Intel.

Andy grove gave 20 new computers with a 486 processor, for “so”. July 17, everything was ready to join the battle plan, funding, technical support from IBM. That day a meeting was held, which was the appointed deadline for the completion of the demonstration version of System 7 on an Intel 486.

It was supposed to be Halloween 1992 (October 31). The term was over compressed, but Apple and Novell managed to motivate the team to comply with it. In the case of compliance with the Statute, each of the participants received a cash prize (from 16 to 25 thousand dollars) and paid two weeks vacation at the Mexican resort of Cancun (All-Inclusive).

And they “Danish” terms? Halloween, wow…

No, it’s just aggression Microsoft was gaining momentum, April 26, Microsoft released Windows 3.1, System 7 “tore” it to the British flag, counter the battle of these systems on Intel promised a victory for the United corporations, but we had to hurry. By the way, for Halloween they did not, a little, but the conditions were counted, and the people left for vacation in Cancun, receiving a cheque for the promised amount.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Wednesday, July 18, 1992, at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Star Trek went into intergalactic journey.

If tolerated System 6, it would be even harder (although the amount of code “six” and was lost in System 7, but almost the entire system was written in assembler 68000), but in System 7 huge pieces of code were still in assembler, and, in some dialects 68000, 68000, 68020, 68030 and 68040, with support for coprocessors, rich in all sorts of Exotica in the form of “tricks” and “dancing with a tambourine”.

Part of the code System 7 was “tightly coded” in the chip constant memory of volume 512 kilobytes – it was deeply optimized libraries Mac ovskogo observed as and system utilities. For the first time Apple’s engineers moved the contents of the ROM to a file on disk. Next time it was made only in 1998, the first iMac.

Most of the code is “sevens” was written in Pascal, with this code the problem was much smaller, but it was too much.

Presentation of Star Trek took place on 4 December 1992. Developing a demo version was finished only a month later.

To say that those who saw this presentation were shocked – to say nothing. Conventional Intel’ovsky Boxing, issuing a special “Apple” musical sound, amplified speakers, showed a smiling start screen, “seven”, then booted the true “seven” – and it worked! To open files, run programs, communicated over a network from Mac s and PC-shkami with other operating systems (MS DOS and OS/2).

According to Fred Monroe, one of the participants of the project and this presentation, the first launch attempt was unsuccessful, with the diagnostic message “System not found” and a sad Mac om, which saw all the participants.

The second – too. The air smelled sharply of failure. But on the third time everything happened, of course, and no excesses were not.

Bill gates has responded to the information about the presentation with the usual smirk, briefly and not entirely clear: “It’s the same thing that to paint the chicken lipstick”. Animal advocates objected. Statistics on the numbers painted against their will, Chicks in the US and Canada in December 1992 and January 1993 I have.

After the presentation all the developers, also project managers, went to Mexico, carouse and relax. The user involved in the project companies and the project began to think about the next steps of the project. Now on the project know they are not alone.

They suddenly became scary.

To be continued

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