Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ken Olsen has died

Ken Olsen, the former head of Digital Equipment Corporation, died last weekend at the age of 84; here's his obituary in the Boston Globe.

I was a heavy user of DEC systems for many years. I worked on a VT100 emulator for IBM PC's back in 1988 at CCA in Boston. I had a VAXStation in 1990, and learned to program DBMS storage and recovery systems on it; we used to read the VMS microfiche to understand how the cluster lock manager worked. I once interviewed with a DEC team which was building an early workflow product to run on departmental mini-computers; that product eventually became Forte Fusion and was my first introduction to XML.

Later, I had an Alpha box, and ran Digital Unix; I remember that box as being the one where I learned about the various different techniques for synchronizing access to shared memory.

DEC rose, foundered, and then was bought by Compaq, which in turn was bought by HP.

Many brilliant engineers worked at DEC during its time; Mr Olsen, you certainly ran an influential and fascinating company.

No comments:

Post a Comment