Onyx Systems


Onyx Systems, Inc.
IndustryComputer hardware,
Computer software
HeadquartersCupertino, United States
Key people
Bob Marsh, Kip Myers, Scott McNealy
ProductsC8000, C8002

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 Unix,[5] and included Bell Labs' recent Version 7.[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.