[Oberon] Oberon in the wild

Skulski, Wojciech skulski at pas.rochester.edu
Thu Jul 23 05:40:39 CEST 2020


> I am quite old (52 now) so it is very slow work. 

Do not say that, please. 

> Nie znam Polskiego. :-(

Good for you. 

>> The Russian effort is very remarkable. I am wondering why they are pursuing a path which the Swiss originators themselves have almost abandoned.
> I wonder the same.  I have not asked yet.
> I have a couple of hypotheses...
> [1] there was a decades-long tradition of copying _and improving_ Western hardware and software in Communist countries which were not allowed to import the real thing.

For the record, the official qualifier was Socialist. Communism was like an eternal life, to be acquired in the future.

Since I am a former communist/socialist turned capitalist, I can comment on this. Copying yes. I am not sure about improving. I remember working back in Poland with Cyber 73, PDP-11/05, and PDP-11/45 of Western origin. I also remember a socialist copy of PDP-11/70. The Hungarian CPU was good, but Bulgarian disks or Russian terminals were pretty miserable. The whole system worked unless it was getting too hot in the Summer. It was workable, but it was not an improvement.

I also had an opportunity in late 1970's to work in Novosibirsk with a Russian version of IBM machines (called Riad) and the experience was not bad at all. Not sure if these were improved because my contact was through the punched cards and a line printer. I developed some Fortran code for my forthcoming Master's thesis. It was a very productive month-long visit.

On the positive note, when I hit the Capitalism for the first time in 1985, I was very well prepared with all the current knowledge on computers, detectors, and such. The same happened again in early 1990's when I moved to the USA. There was no gap in training. None. Somehow all this communism/socialism was technologically current for those of us, who were willing to stay current. The rest stayed behind the Iron Curtain. I would risk a bold statement, that those unwilling to learn will always find an Iron Curtain to stay behind. it is more internal than external. Except for really bad places like North Korea. 

>[2] even now, overall, they are poorer countries, with a tradition of making the most of limited resources. 

I would add Hypothesis [3]: people. The Oberon Core was/is animated by a bunch of bright people, starting with Fyodor Tkachev. The achievements are due to them.

> Atom is a plain text editor. The compressed download is 179MB -- it expands to several times that, and can easily use several gigabytes of RAM. 

BlackBox is my favorite. It is a few megabytes with the full Pascal development system. The editor would be a small part of this.


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