OSnews Decries ‘The Mass Extinction of Unix Workstations’
Today OSnews looked back — but also explored what happens when you try to buy one today> :
As x86 became ever more powerful and versatile, and with the rise of Linux as a capable UNIX replacement and the adoption of the NT-based versions of Windows, the days of the UNIX workstations were numbered. A few years into the new millennium, virtually all traditional UNIX vendors had ended production of their workstations and in some cases even their associated architectures, with a lacklustre collective effort to move over to Intel’s Itanium — which didn’t exactly go anywhere and is now nothing more than a sour footnote in computing history.
Approaching roughly 2010, all the UNIX workstations had disappeared…. and by now, they’re all pretty much dead (save for Solaris). Users and industries moved on to x86 on the hardware side, and Linux, Windows, and in some cases, Mac OS X on the software side…. Over the past few years, I have come to learn that If you want to get into buying, using, and learning from UNIX workstations today, you’ll run into various problems which can roughly be filed into three main categories: hardware availability, operating system availability, and third party software availability.
Their article details their own attempts to buy one over the years, ultimately concluding the experience “left me bitter and frustrated that so much knowledge — in the form of documentation, software, tutorials, drivers, and so on — is disappearing before our very eyes.”
Shortsightedness and disinterest in their own heritage by corporations, big and small, is destroying entire swaths of software, and as more years pass by, it will get ever harder to get any of these things back up and running…. As for all the third-party software — well, I’m afraid it’s too late for that already. Chasing down the rightsholders is already an incredibly difficult task, and even if you do find them, they are probably not interested in helping you, and even if by some miracle they are, they most likely no longer even have the ability to generate the required licenses or release versions with the licensing ripped out. Stuff like Pro/ENGINEER and SoftWindows for UNIX are most likely gone forever….
Software is dying off at an alarming rate, and I fear there’s no turning the tide of this mass extinction.
The article also wonders why companies like HPE don’t just “dump some ISO files” onto an FTP server, along with patch depots and documentation. “This stuff has no commercial value, they’re not losing any sales, and it will barely affect their bottom line.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.