How Good We Have It Now

Via Dennis Ritchie's Website, here's a 1984 ATT&T pricelist for SysVR2 Unix. If you were an educational institution, you could get a source license for $800 ($43,000 for others). DMR discusses these prices and some of the license restrictions here.

So what does this have to do with us? For $800—even 800 current dollars—we can buy a pretty good computer, load it with Linux (or one of the BSDs) and have a much better system for just the educational price of a Unix license. If you're young, it's always been that way but some of us remember when it was an impossible dream.

In 1984 it was still pretty much MSDOS and $3,000 PCs for individual users. The Internet was not widely available and Windows was just starting to be available and probably wasn't that useful. A few years later everything had changed and anyone who wanted to could have their very own, full-featured Unix-like system. These days, even non-geeks can enjoy all the benefit of Unix nicely hidden behind the Mac OS X GUI.

We really do have it pretty nice now.

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