PWG> Searching for history [for use of serial communications ports]

PWG> Searching for history [for use of serial communications ports]

PWG> Searching for history [for use of serial communications ports]

Hastings, Tom N hastings at
Thu Jul 25 13:07:18 EDT 2002

Can anyone answer Jim Ronay query?

I suggest replying to this list as well.


From: jeronay [mailto:jeronay at]
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 09:32
To: hastings at
Subject: Searching for history

Tom Hastings 
Xerox Corporation, ESAE-231 
701 S. Aviation Blvd. 
El Segundo, CA 90245 
Dear Tom: 
I'm in hopes that you can suggest or provide information or sources which
will help me in my search for the history of serial port communication
developed and used to improve capabilities between a host(s) and client(s),
server(s) and terminal(s). 
I understand that the 80s and 90s beget more efficient computers such that
it made the serial ports on a remote server act as if they were the local
serial ports on a host computer. I'm working to trace the history of that
progress from one-to-one (host-terminal), one-to-many, and many-to-many
including the connectivity steps, issues, timing, and challenges.
The concept of "Redirector" (software that redirects) was apparently used by
companies such as DEC, Novell, IBM and Microsoft prior in the mid 90s, for
example, supported the migration to where things are today. 
I am seeking to find historic articles, text, white papers, manuals (on
loan, copies to read, purchase, whatever) and such that explain the use (how
and why) of the hardware/software that made the serial ports on a remote
server act as if they were the serial ports on the host computer
(communication protocol & objects, speed, flow control - 1st use and beyond)
without the wait time or lack of security unlike multiple random modem use
(one-to-one), for example. The "as if local", "emulation", "transparency",
or "flow control" concepts seem to be descriptors. Others who have played a
role in this portal transition have apparently introduced "multiplexers". 
For example, part of the historic path included building protocols (and
software tools - apps) allowing conversations between two machines and then
growing the technology to a point where techniques allowed a host computer
full access to the asynchronous ports located on a remote terminal server
across a general network. That resulted from new protocols, device drivers
and such in both the Unix and PC worlds. All this, of course, allowed for
access to shared resources through both hardware (and networks regardless of
the LAN mgr type) and software (APIs) configurations. 
Then there was the original protocol used in the ARPANET, namely NCP
(Network Control Protocol) which preceded TCP/IP. Any knowledge or
documentation about it?
People like Data Race, Universal Data Systems, Microcom, and Hayes might
also have had product/processes used to emulate a server port. Perhaps Wall
Data might fit into original providers as well. Maybe even Windows 3.0 or
2x. Perhaps Citrix and Sun played a role in this area.
Related information about NACS, NASI, WIN2NCS, NASI Redirector, NCD's
Thinpath products, Netware Connect (also listed as NW Connect) - Novell
products I believe, would be of interest as well. Articom and Artisoft
(company/products) seem to be of value. And I understand that PACX systems
had something that allowed a terminal to cross connect to multiple systems.
Two of the biggest (and both Canadian) companies were Gandalf and Develcon.
Perhaps others? 
What might you be willing to share with me and under what circumstances? Do
you (or others you know) have access to any people, papers, literature,
white papers, manuals, books that speak to this topical area by these or
other companies or other industry writers? Who might you recommend I contact
for assistance in gathering information for this paper. In advance, thanks
and I do appreciate any moments you choose to devote and respond. 
Thank you in advance for any time you choose to devote to this history
building project. 
Warmest regards, 
Jim Ronay 
(512) 331-2028; Cell 913-3300 
Work is love made visible (Kahlil Gibran) 
You can't shrink yourself into greatness! 
If you cannot differentiate something, or when you 
do differentiate it, if it makes no difference, then 
it's just noise. 

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