FYA It's easier to port a shell than a shell script -- Larry Wall

Jerry Feldman gaf at BLU.ORG
Sat Aug 29 09:32:56 EDT 1998

--- A friend sent this to me. I know this has been floating around the 
net for a while:


I've been attending the USENIX NT and LISA NT (Large Installation
Systems Administration for NT) conference in downtown Seattle this 

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 

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