Monochrome VGA not supported by SCO

Ronald Florence ron at mlfarm.uucp
Tue Jun 12 03:40:55 AEST 1990

This is a sad tale of broken promises and false assurances.

In August of last year, I ordered an upgrade to Xenix 2.3.2, which I
was assured by the salesperson at SCO "would fully support the VGA
display."  When I installed the upgrade, I discovered that the VGA
modes do not work with a monochrome display on a ps2 or other IBM
VGA.  I reported this to SCO, and after some investigation, they
assured me that it would be fixed.  The following note from Louis
Imersheim, the head of their Microchannel Support, was typical of
many.  This was written on November 4, 1989:

     The modifications are being made to the SCO UNIX System
     V/386 Release 3.2 kernal and will be backported by
     engineering as soon as the code is completed.  I was told
     they ran into some glitches.  Its not slipping under the
     rug, its being worked on.  The last time I wrote you, about
     a month ago, engineering had just begun the work.  I can't
     guess at how long it will take but I'm hoping they'll have
     this fixed and ported to XENIX within the next 7 weeks.

In April, I received a phone call from "Daniel G," the Escalation
Coordinator at SCO, informing me that the monochrome VGA fix was
done and on its way.  I waited two more months, asked again, and got
the following response:

     Yes the problem was identified, and one of our engineers
     spent the time to fix it, but a decision was made not to
     roll it into the product or distribute it as a fix because
     we are not going to continue the product. It was a decision
     made by product marketing, and they are the only ones who
     make those determinations, and there is nothing I can do to
     change their minds.

In other words, although they have the needed fix, SCO will not
release it -- even to bring Xenix up to the level of functionality
they promised when they sold the upgrade to version 2.3.2.  Those of
us with monochrome displays are left in the lurch.  On the strength
of SCO's repeated assurances that they would eventually support
monochrome displays fully, I went out and spent a small fortune on a
large IBM 8507 display which is semi-functional on my system.

Ironically, I have been a major booster of SCO's CGI, writing and
releasing to the newsgroups ports of Gnuplot 1.0 and 2.0, Starchart
3.0, and a Tektronics emulator.  Yet I cannot display a proper grey
scale from any of those CGI programs on my monochrome VGA.

I have been a loyal SCO customer for many years.  If broken promises
are the reward for that loyalty, I will think long and hard about
where to look for the next version of Unix.  This is no way to treat
a friend!

Ronald Florence			{yale,uunet}!hsi!mlfarm!ron

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