I also got the early history of NT wrong going from memory. That won't stop me from continuing though and I'm sure BrowserUk will correct me if I'm wrong again. :-)
I tried doing some googling just now but couldn't find any citations to support a couple of anecdotes I remember reading about years ago. I would have read these in a book not the press, but can't remember which one. One was that Dave Cutler was a very "passionate" guy, so much so that on one occasion he punched a hole in the wall when one of his junior programmers disobeyed him and made a "safe" last minute change that broke an OS release. Apparently, the hole he punched in the wall was later cut out, framed, and mounted on the wall of Dave's office. I also remember reading he was pretty passionate about not liking Unix very much, one quote I remember was that Win32 will never have Unix-like signals because Dave shouted "signals are a crock". BTW, I'm not a fan of signals either and they certainly don't mix very well with threads. Another anecdote I remember was Dave responding angrily when one of his team said "Unix did it this way". Dave responded something like "Just because Unix did it this way, it doesn't mean it's right". Anyway, the overall impression I got was that Windows NT was strongly influenced by the (non-Unix) Digital operating systems Dave and the other Digital guys hired by Gates had worked on.
Apart from the history and the anecdotes, the Win32 API "feels" very different to Unix -- for example, compare and contrast the many complex parameters and sub parameters of the Win32 CreateProcess call with Unix fork and exec. Generally, Unix system calls have far fewer parameters than Win32 ones.
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