From: Mark Morrissey (
Date: Tue Sep 10 1991 - 21:09:29 CDT

First, I would like to thank everyone who patiently answered my
many novice questions during this evaluation. You assistance was
of immense help.

There are three areas where the TEK and NCD terminals diverge:

1. theory of administration
2. speed of local window/data management
3. keyboards

Surprisingly, the greatest complaint against the TEK Xpress terminal
was the keyboard. The layout is quite a bit different than the Sun
and Solbourne keyboards we currently use (in addition to the keys
being noticeably stiffer). To TEK's credit, the keycaps are interchangeable
and the keys are all programmable from xmodmap.

We found that the TEK was the definite winner in terms of drawing speed
and desktop management. Moving windows and inconification was faster.

Theory of Administration


TEK seems to like the "pure X client" approach for their setup menu. The
drawback here is that one must be logged on before the setup menu can be
displayed. To their credit, future terminal software is said to include
the ability to configure multiple boot servers. This will allow the user
to select a new boot server and reboot should the current boot server
become unavailable.

TEK's solution to not having customizable configurations for each terminal
is to hack Xresource and Xsession files. This is a bit much as all of the
xdm files would have to be hacked everytime you added a new terminal or
changed the name of an existing one. Very messy and very un-UNIX (IMHO).


NCD is straightforward with setup available without logging in. The
critical values can be password protected if required. However, any
user can change the boot host (as should be the case -- IMHO).

Configuration files are identified by a hex representation of the
enet hardware address (i.e 8:0:20:0:fe:32). If you want all of the
terminals to be the same, just use 'ln' to link them all together.
Customization is very easy.


This part in anticlimatic. We will probably buy all of our color
stations from TEK in order to get the speed benefit. As most of
our color applications are mouse based, the keyboard is less of
an issue. The programmers all want the NCD, so that is what they
get (keyboard issue here).

All-in-all, the two terminals are basically the same from a user's
perspective. There aren't that many differences and only the ones
which we felt we important were mentioned here (we didn't evaluate
the snmp management stuff). We will evaluate the HDS stuff in a
few months as HDS was mentioned by several as a good alternative.

Once again, thanks to all, especially:

Brent Alan Wiese <decwrl!riacs!rutgers!!brent>
bryant! (Mike Harrigan) (Bala Vasireddi)
nosun!cadreor!neil (Neil Van Dyke)
decwrl!!rutgers!!btree!tobin (Roy L. Tobin)
decwrl!riacs!rutgers!!markc (Mark Connell)
decwrl!riacs!rutgers!!kevins (Kevin J. Sheffield)
Jim Battan <ogicse!!battan>
Robert Worlock <nosun!!worlock>
Robert Worlock <nosun!!worlock> (Don Newcomb)

and all of the TEK and NCD folks who patiently listened to my
violently biased opinions.

Full replies are available upon request.

| Mark Morrissey | ...bit!markm | Saving the world |
| Unix Systems Administrator | bit! | from the evils of |
| Bipolar Integrated Technology | (503) 629-5490 | unacceptably slow |
| Beaverton, OR 97006 | | microprocessors. |

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