IBM and its inflexible ways

I was reading a system administration book Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook and came across the following snippet.

IBM’s AIX started as a variant of Berkeley’s 4.2BSD, but as of version 4 in 1994, most parts of the system migrated to System V. At this point, AIX has drifted rather far from both origins. In general, we have the impression that AIX has enjoyed less cross-pollination from other systems than most UNIX variants. It also seems to have fallen under the Svengali-like influence of some of IBM’s mainframe and AS/400 operating systems, from which it inherits conventions such as the Object Data Manager (see page 432), the use of configuration commands rather than configuration files, and the SMIT administrative interface. Over time, one might charitably say, it has grown to be more and more like itself.

I was particularly interested in what Svengali meant and here is the Wikipedia meaning

Svengali is a fictional character in George du Maurier‘s 1894 novel Trilby. The character was portrayed in many silent film versions of the story and in talking pictures, played by John Barrymore in a 1931 film of the same name, by Donald Wolfit in a 1954 version in Technicolor, and by Peter O’Toole in a 1983 made-for-television modernized version, also in colour, co-starring Jodie Foster. In the 1983 film, the names of the characters were changed except for “Svengali,” which had become a common noun.

The word “svengali” refers to a person who, with evil intent, manipulates another person. The Svengali may use pseudo-kindness, artfully or deceitfully, to get the other person to do what the Svengali desires. The word is frequently used for any kind of coach who exercises an extreme degree of domination over a performer. The term applies when the coach is an older man and the performer, a young woman. It is also used when the coach is an unaccountable but overridingly influential adviser who exerts control over a political leader or candidate.


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