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Compatible Software (Carl S. Gutekunst)
Pyramid Technology Corp., Mountain View, CA
(computer, chuckle, true)

A true story, from someone who was there at the time, circa 1980.

It seems that our favorite telephone company had a terrible problem:
employees were pilfering office supplies for their children. In par-
ticular, three-hole loose-leaf binder paper. It was decreed by the
powers that be that this sort of waste was unacceptable, and a long-
forgotten bureaucrat was assigned the task of discouraging theft of
three-hole paper. 

The bureaucrat's solution was simple: the company would now use *four*-
hole paper, with the holes drilled differently so as to be incompatible
with the typical school-child's binder. Four-hole loose-leaf paper was
ordered, along with proper four-ring binders; new manuals, documentation,
and other papers were likewise printed on four-hole paper, so all binders
and paper would be happy and consistent throughout the company. 

The result was, naturally, that employees stole both the binders and
the paper. 

Since the company was now suffering larger losses than before, it was
decreed that the they would return to traditional three-hole paper and
binders. But there was the problem of an existing large inventory of
four-ring binders. Hence, with truly Solomonic wisdom, it was further
decreed that all new paper would have seven holes, and would thus be
both upward and downward binder-compatible. And, to this day, 8+1/2 by
11 documents from our favorite telephone company still have 7 holes in

All of which nicely demonstrates that System V Release 1 and System V
Release 4 were not a fluke.


[For the benefit of those not UNIX-literate: System V Release 1 ignored
BSD UNIX and really hoped it would go away. System V Release 4 wants to
be compatible with every UNIX in existence.]

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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