[OLUG] Go figure...

John Kennedy jkennedy at orent.com
Fri Nov 19 14:09:29 UTC 1999

This was forwarded to me through another mailing list and I thought I'd
share it.

From:   Steve Briggs - PKO
Sent:   Thursday, August 27, 1998 8:40 AM
Subject: Not really joke, but still quite funny

I've been attending the USENIX NT and LISA NT (Large Installation
Systems Administration for NT) conference in downtown Seattle
this week.  One of those magical Microsoft moments(tm) happened
yesterday and I thought that I'd share.  Non-geeks may not find
this funny at all, but  those in geekdom (particularly UNIX
geekdom) will appreciate it.

Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft product manager (henceforth MPM), was
holding forth on a forthcoming product that will provide Unix
style scripting and shell services on NT for compatibility and
to leverage UNIX expertise that moves to the NT platform.  The
product suite includes the MKS (Mortise Kern Systems) windowing
Korn shell, a windowing PERL, and lots of goodies like awk, sed
and grep.  It actually fills a nice niche for which other
products (like the MKS suite) have either been too highly priced
or not well enough integrated.

An older man, probably mid-50s, stands up in the back of the room
and asserts that Microsoft could have done better with their
choice of Korn shell.  He asks if they had considered others
that are more compatible with existing UNIX versions of KSH.

The MPM said that the MKS shell was pretty compatible and should
be able to run all UNIX scripts.

The questioner again asserted that the MKS shell was not very
compatible and didn't do a lot of things right that are defined
in the KSH language spec.  The MPM asserted again that the shell
was pretty compatible and should work quite well.

This assertion and counter assertion went back and forth for a
bit, when another fellow member of the audience announced to the
MPM that the questioner was, in fact David Korn of AT&T (now
Lucent) Bell Labs. (David Korn is the author of the Korn shell).

Uproarious laughter burst forth from the audience, and it was one
of the only times that I have seen a (by then pink cheeked) MPM
lost for words or momentarily lacking the usual unflappable
confidence. So, what's a body to do when Microsoft reality
collides with everyone elses?


Steve Briggs
High Performance Systems

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