[Beowulf] SGI and Sun: In Memoriam

Jon Forrest jlforrest at berkeley.edu
Wed Apr 1 09:58:31 PDT 2009

Two short memories related to this topic:

1) Back in about 1996 or so, I interviewed at Pixar for
a system management job. One of the people who interviewed
me was one of their hot graphics programmers. He dressed
in all black and even had black fingernail polish. During
the interview I suggested that all the expensive SGI hardware
that Pixar was using at the time would become less and less
competitive because of the clear direction that desktop PC
hardware (both graphics and general purpose) was taking.
He told me I was full of it. I didn't get the job.

2) Back in the mid 1990s I worked as a combination
programmer and system manager for the Postgres group
at UC Berkeley. One of my projects was to port Postgres
to platforms other than Solaris/Sparc and DEC OSF. One of
the platforms that caused me no end of grief was Solaris/x86.
I couldn't even install the OS on the hardware that I had.
Everything else, including all Microsoft's stuff, Novell,
Linux, and SCO Unix, worked fine. Every time I mentioned this to
Sun they'd say that the current release was poorly done and that
I should wait for the next release. It was really a good example
of a company without a clear OS direction. As we know, it only
got worse. To their credit, Sun has lasted longer than DEC, which
had an even more severe lack of OS direction.

Jon Forrest
Research Computing Support
College of Chemistry
173 Tan Hall
University of California Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
jlforrest at berkeley.edu

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