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  1. Well I started in April 1992, went to the US for 4 months in May and heard there that there was this big news about LabVIEW not being for Macintosh only anymore, but telling anyone outside of the company would be equivalent to asking to be terminated 😀. They were VERY secretive about this and nobody outside the company was supposed to know until the big release event. In fall of 1992 LabVIEW for Windows 3.1 was announced and the first version shipped was 2.5. It was quickly followed by 2.5.1 which ironed out some nasty bugs and then there was a 2.5.2 release later on that made everything more stable, before they went to go to release the 3.0 version which was the first one to be really multiplatform. 2.2.1 was the last Mac version before that and 2.5.2 was the Windows version. They could not read each others files. This was Windows 3.1 which was 16-bit and still just a graphical shell on top of DOS. LabVIEW used the DOS/4GW DOS Extender from Tenberry Software, that was part of the Watcom C development environment used to compile LabVIEW for Windows to provide a flat 32-bit memory model to the LabVIEW process, without nasty segment:offset memory addressing. It was also the reason that interfacing to Windows DLLs was quite a chore because of the difference in memory model between the LabVIEW environment and the underlying OS and DLLs. Only when LabVIEW was available for true 32-bit environments like Windows 95 and NT, did that barrier go away. NI was at that time still predominantly a GPIB hardware company. A significant part of support was for customers trying to get the various GPIB boards installed on their computers and you had at that time more very different computers architectures than you could count on both hands and feet. There was of course the Macintosh and the IBM compatible computers, with all of them running DOS which Windows computers still were. Then you had the "real" IBM computers who had abandoned the ISA bus in favor of their own, more closed down Microchannel bus and also were starting to run OS/2 rather than Windows and about a dozen different Unix based workstations all with their totally incompatible Unix variant. And then even more exotic beasts like DEC VAX computers with their own expansion slots. Supporting those things was often a nightmare as there was literally nobody knowing how these beasts worked except the software driver developer in Austin and the customers IT administrator. NI had just entered the data acquisition marked and was battling against more established manufacturers like Keithley, Data Translation, and some other small scale speciality market providers. The turning point was likely when NI started to create their own ASICS which allowed them to produce much smaller, cheaper and more performant hardware at the fraction of the cost their competitors had to pay to build their own products and still selling them at a premium as they also provided the full software support with drivers and everything for their own popular software solutions. With other manufacturers you usually had to buy the various drivers, especially for NI software, as an extra and some of them just had taken the blueprints of the hardware and copied them and blatantly told their customers to request the software drivers from their competitor as the hardware was register for register compatible with theirs. The NI ASICS made copying of hardware by others pretty much impossible so NI was never concerned about making their drivers available for free.
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