"COHERENT was a UNIX variant for DOS compatible PCs and this is the 1409 page document that will teach you everything.
"This document assumes you've never used a computer much less UNIX and walks you through installation, configuration, how logging in works, basic usage, using text editors, basic and advanced administration, network administrator and eventually topics including programming!
"You walk in a baby and walk out a C programming UNIX wizard, all on your 286 with 2MB of ram."
-- penny, @firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the source code is available I could not resist porting "lc" (List files in categories and columns): https://github.com/gdm85/lc
If you have nostalgia of that command you can now enjoy it on your modern Linux!
Red-Hat Linux was eventually adopted when both of them died, until then it was available in a couple of desktops that would dual boot alongside Windows 95.
Had Windows NT offered a solid POSIX story, that would have been what the labs would have switched to instead.
In hindsight, it's not like there was some kind of very powerful move they could have made.
Same with SCO. When I worked there circa 1991-95, the company lost $250 in license fee payments to assorted other companies for every complete copy of Open Desktop that they sold -- fees for the TCP/IP stack, the compiler, the AT&T license, the Motif skin, CDE, the IXI desktop ... even purchasing IXI didn't reduce it by much. They tried to go head-to-head with Windows NT as a workstation OS on the desktop and nearly broke the company, then backed off to focus on enterprise sales and support contracts. There was no way they could compete with a solid Linux as a desktop option after the late 1990s. And SCO was a much larger and more powerful company than Mark Williams (by 1991 they had about 1200 employees worldwide and $200M/year revenue -- going by memory).
I worked tech support for an early PC point of sale credit card payment processing company and Linux was actually one of the last *nixes we supported. I don't believe they had even rolled it out in 1998 when I quit. We supported DOS, Windows, SCO, and maybe one other commercial Unix with just a few users. It was excruciatingly obvious to the more knowledgeable rank and file where things were going, and I even wrote an internal document once explaining how to run the SCO version of our software on Linux using its iBCS support.
The internal discussion I remember about which operating system we would support next as online payment processing took off was mostly about BSDI vs Linux (but with our upper management focused very strongly on NT). Perhaps oddly, both options were treated seriously.
Anyone remember (the now glorified) Bill Gates claiming the Internet would just be a fad and announcing that Windows '95 would come w/o support for TCP/IP?
now open sourced at http://www.nesssoftware.com/home/mwc/source.php
If you ever want to see what good documentation looks like go read the manuals (linked elsewhere in this thread).
Coherent opened my eyes to the world of UNIX. 30 years later, and I have never yet used Windows as my every-day desktop.
The install time claim is interesting- I'm sure this comes down whether it optimizes floppy drive reads (for example, read a track at a time).
The Coherent documentation was amazing. I still remember that huge book...