3/20/2011

First QNX article, revisited

It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Last week, I put out a challenge: Could anyone find an article on QNX that pre-dates the one published in the March 21, 1983 edition of InfoWorld?

I was pretty sure the 1983 article was the earliest one available on the web. But when doing my search, I had made a mistake: I failed to search for "Quantum Software Systems," the original name of the company now known as QNX Software Systems. Doh! I also failed to search for the original spelling of the QNX OS (i.e. QUNIX). Color me embarrassed.

A reader named Winfield (aka BlackBerrySith) twigged to this and quickly kinged me as the discoverer of the earliest known QNX article. To read the article he unearthed, published on October 11, 1982, click here.

In fact, searches for "QUNIX" yield other interesting results, such as a magazine ad from 1982.

What's with the name?
As mentioned above, the QNX OS was originally called QUNIX. The name was coined to suggest that the OS offered the reliability and programming interfaces of UNIX, but with decidedly better performance.

It sounded like a good idea. That's until AT&T, who owned the UNIX trademark, got wind of it. Their legal folks immediately fired off a letter, asking QNX Software Systems to cease and desist.

The solution was elegant: simply remove the vowels. And ever since then, QNX has had two accepted pronunciations: cue-nix, or cue-en-ex. Your choice.
 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another interesting aspect of the article is a reference to the short lived San Jose CA office of Quantum.

Winfield said...

Thank you sir for citing me. I am happy to help!