Onyx Systems

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Onyx Systems, Inc., founded in Cupertino, California in 1979 by Bob Marsh and Kip Myers,[1][2] was one of the earliest vendors of microprocessor-based Unix systems.[3][4][5]

The company's first product, the C8000, was a Zilog Z80-based micro running the CP/M OS, with a hard disk, and a tape drive for backups.[6][7] It included IBM terminal emulation and a COBOL compiler, with a Z8000-based CPU add-in board to follow.[8]

In 1980 Onyx introduced the C8002 based on the Z8000. Its $20,000 price was half the cost of any other computer capable of running the operating system,[5] and included Bell Labs' Version 7 Unix.[9]

The Unix-based product was the first platform for the Informix relational database system.[10]

Former Harvard economics professor William Raduchel recruited Scott McNealy to manage manufacturing at Onyx. McNealy left Onyx to become a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.[11][12]

Onyx was acquired by Corvus Systems in 1985.[2]


  1. ^ APPSCI: Board of Directors, Media Services (website) [1] accessed 2010-04-27
  2. ^ a b "Spring finds Corvus making a profit", Network World, 18 April 1988 p.40
  3. ^ Cornelia Boldyreff, ACM SIGSMALL Newsletter archive, v.7 #1 (February 1981), pp.7-8, ISSN 0272-720X
  4. ^ Peter H. Salus, "The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin" [2]
  5. ^ a b Fiedler, Ryan (October 1983). "The Unix Tutorial / Part 3: Unix in the Microcomputer Marketplace". BYTE. p. 132. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  6. ^ "New Onyx CP/M 2.0 Operating System", InfoWorld (then Intelligent Machines Journal), 2 Nov 1979, p.4
  7. ^ "Onyx System Packs 8-inch Winchester", InfoWorld (then Intelligent Machines Journal), 9 May 1979, p.8
  8. ^ "COBOL & IBM 2780/3780 Emulator for Winchester-based Micros", InfoWorld (then Intelligent Machines Journal), 3 Oct 1979, p.2
  9. ^ John L. Bass (1999). "More about Onyx Systems" DMS Design (web)
  10. ^ "Oral history of Roger Sippl", Computer History Museum, CHM Ref: X3655.2007, p.16
  11. ^ "Scott McNealy and Sun Microsystems", Center for Management Research, Case Code LDEN039, 2006 [3]
  12. ^ Brent Schlender (October 13, 1997). "JAVAMAN THE ADVENTURES OF SCOTT MCNEALY TODAY'S EPISODE HIS FIGHT TO SAVE THE WORLD WIDE WEB FROM THE EVIL EMPIRE". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-17.