RealBasic is real basic

Rob Cozens rcozens at pon.net
Tue Feb 5 11:46:01 EST 2002


>Revolution is the ONLY environment that is closest to the promise of
>'write once, run anywhere'.

John, et al:

For history's sake, let me point out that there actually once was a "write
once run anywhere environment": the UCSD-p operating system & UCSD PASCAL.
It ran on a wide range of computers from Dec minicomputers to Radio Shack
TRS-80s in the 1970s.

Like RR, it was a runtime (ie: interpreted) environment; unlike RR it
included its own O/S (which eliminates many cross-platform issues such as
different sizes of text).  Like RR it included a (reasonably good for the
time) debugger and the ability to resolve routine libraries at runtime (ie:
'start using" in Transcript syntax).

Several days ago someone suggested there might be a slight performance hit
running a RunRev stack created on a Mac on a Windows box because the Intel
and Motorola CPU chips read each word in reverse order.  In 1986 I spent
two frantic weeks trying to find the cause of a dramatic (40-60%)
performance degredation of our corporate computer (a multi-user Motorola
68xxx CPU).  It turned out that the last O/S upgrade sent me had been
created for an Intel 808x!  Everything worked just fine; but the operating
system was wasting an enormous amount of time reversing the byte sex of
every word it read.

Watching UCSD-p System lose out to MS/DOS when the IBM PCs originally were
introduced, I learned first hand that a technically and functionally
superior product can fail

a. when competing against an inferior product backed by big advertising $, or

b. when corporate management doesn't understand the product or the market.

In this case Microsoft offered MS/DOS for $40 while Softech Microsystems
charged over $400 for the IBM PC implementation of the p-System.

In my book of computer history, Softech's IBM PC pricing strategy and Apple
Executives' inability to "get" what HyperCard was all about rank right up
there with Xerox's unappreciation of the PARC GUI.
Rob Cozens, CCW

"Where but America can the person who lost the popular vote become
President without a coup?"
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