William Jolitz and Symmetric Computer Systems
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William Jolitz and Symmetric

William Jolitz and two others founded Symmetric Computer Systems, Inc, a computer systems manufacturer and vendor. Symmetric designed, programmed, and build many products, the most famous of which was the Symmetric 375.

A man, a plan, ...

Symmetric started when an engineer at National Semiconductor invited William to meet with a famous venture capitalist at Mayfield in Menlo Park. William quit National the following day.

Pre-funding in 1982-83, Symmetric ran out of a tiny Los Gatos office, and built a wire-wrap prototype from nothing. William was the sole manager, wrote and sold 8 different business plans, and presented them to 18 different venture capitalists, putting 180,000 miles on a car without leaving the San Francisco Bay Area.

Symmetric Limited Funded

Symmetric started out as a limited partnership, funded by Technoloy Funding, Incorporated. Which is still run by its founder, the same who invested in Symmetric - Charles R. Kokesh. Charlie liked our push into systems and networking.

A networked BSD based systems company was built off a small investment.

375 Revision 0 - First Board

In every company, there comes a time when you begin to believe that you'll have a product to sell. The first printed circuit board of the first revision is brought up, and boots the first time.

All five of the Revision 0 boards were built and functioned. While we started selling following bringup, Revision 1 boards (first manufacturing run) arrived in the following month, however customer orders arrived a day after we started selling. Early customers asked for loaners using Revision 0 boards, and sales was in the unusual position of being stuck with Revision 0 units for months, as Revision 1 sold out.

  • Writing the Owner's Manual for the Symmetric 375 Computer system
    Lynne speaks - "The Symmetric 375 was a very unique computer. Based on the NS32000 microprocessor, it was a portable no wait state computer with virtual memory, hardware floating point, large processor main memory, and ethernet. Unlike PCs, it supported 4 users easily with a host of compilers, debuggers, tools and utilities, and applications. It ran a custom version of Berkeley Unix (4.1BSD, 4.2BSD, 4.3BSD) called Symmetrix. Later versions offered a configurable kernel software package for device drivers and SCSI support. Much of this work influenced work later done in 386BSD. I wrote the "The Symmetric 375 and Symmetrix Owner's Manual" for it.

    One of the most interesting aspects of this manual was that it did not follow the typical "Unix Man command" style. Instead of offering a printed command manual with some hardware pages as was the common approach, the 375 came with an online man function (early UNIX boxes often didn't do this to preserve disk space).

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