Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IBM Typewriter - Model B Executive

IBM Model B - Executive

I've just picked up this beast of a machine and have been looking into its history. Something I just found out was that the Executive version of the Model B was fitted with proportional spacing, this turns the familiar typewriter style printing into something resembling a real printed document. The following extract from Wikipedia shows the significance of this feature in the 1940's.
According to Darren Wershler-Henry,
In 1944, IBM launched the Executive, a proportionally spaced typewriter. Characters on the Executive typewriter occupied between two and five units per grid cell, depending on the width of the letter. Beeching relates an anecdote that demonstrates the significance of this achievement. The proportionally spaced typewriter immediately leaped to the apex of the world bureaucracy and administrative culture when President Roosevelt was presented with the first machine off the line. The Armistice documents that ended World War Two were typed on an IBM, as was the original United Nations Charter. To a world accustomed to monospaced typewritten documents, a page of typewriting produced with an Executive...was indistinguishable from a page of typeset text. Prime Minister Churchill allegedly responded to Roosevelt that "although he realized their correspondence was very important, there was absolutely no need to have it printed."[2]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oracle and the death of Opensolaris.

I mentioned back in June that changes made by Oracle meant that I was no longer able to download critical updates for Solaris systems without a $upport contract from Oracle/Sun. At the same time I pessimistically mentioned that Oracle might squeeze the life out of Opensolaris as well ...

It happened.

On Friday August 15th 2010 a blog post leaked an internal memo from Oracle outlining the path Solaris was to take and also the future of Opensolaris.

Long story short, Opensolaris had no future.

While we still have a few legacy machines at work I'll continue to work with Solaris but I'm done with it otherwise. Regardless of the financial or political reasoning behind Oracle's decisions they have lost a platform for the rapid development and testing of new features and a potential customer base for their more robust enterprise offerings.

It was nice while it lasted.