The history of Unix systems and their main components. Please DO NOT USE this tag for shell-related questions; use [tag:command-history] instead.

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4
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1answer
47 views

Origin of /etc/termcap linux entry

Why is there a type of $TERM called linux described in /etc/termcap? Why and when was it created and what's the point of it? Couldn't we just stay with vt-generic? Is linux just a customary name and a ...
4
votes
2answers
46 views

Purpose of find command's default size unit 512 bytes

The find command allows you to search by size, which you can specify using units spelled out in the man page: File uses n units of space. The following suffixes can be used: `b' for 512-byte ...
73
votes
9answers
5k views
+100

On what systems is //foo/bar different from /foo/bar?

Throughout the POSIX specification, there's provision (1, 2, 3...) to allow implementations to treat a path starting with two / specially. A POSIX application (an application written to the POSIX ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Save history to separate file with time-stamp and who did the action

I'm looking for a solution to capture all Linux commands to some file, there are many solutions but I prefer to capture all History to some file. I want it to include : "time-stamp" "Server-name" ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

History of UNIX not including current directory in $PATH

In the UNIX world, it's well understood that you need to prefix binaries in the current directory with ./ in order to run them: . is not in $PATH by default. This is to avoid evil binaries overriding ...
0
votes
4answers
122 views

How to run Unix?

I always wanted to try Unix but I can't seem to find an ISO file or somewhere to buy it. Is Unix published for the whole wide world to use or is it a special OS only for high-class servers, mainframes ...
11
votes
2answers
589 views

Is there a reason why the first element of a Zsh array is indexed by 1 instead of 0?

From my experience with modern programming and scripting languages, I believe most programmers are generally accustomed to referring to the first element of an array by 0 as index. Are there any ...
48
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there any reason to have a shebang pointing at /bin/sh rather than /bin/bash?

In most shell scripts I've seen (besides ones I haven't written myself), I noticed that the shebang is set to #!/bin/sh. This doesn't really surprise me on older scripts, but it's there on fairly new ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

What can be considered as operating system? [closed]

I am talking about GNU/Linux but not about GNU or Linux! I know that Kernel is the core component in operating system but I want to know what defines the "operating system" (What can be considered as ...
35
votes
4answers
4k views

Is the shell ksh93 dead?

On 10/1/2013 Glenn Fowler posted this to the ast-users mailing list: As has been pointed out several times on the AST and UWIN lists, AT&T gives very little support to OpenSouce software, ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

What really is bash? (or any linux shell) [duplicate]

I understand bash as a window where I can type commands to linux. Reading the wikipedia, I've learned that there were various shell applications throughout the history. First, I understood bash as ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Why does a '.' work in chown?

Why does GNU chown user.group work? The docs say nothing of the syntax being supported. Is there a juicy story behind it?
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Why do GNU tools use non-matching ` and ' to quote errors?

GNU tools often output error and warning messages with parts of the line (e.g. filenames, syntax errors, invalid dates, etc) quoted with non-matching quotes: ` and ' e.g. From the GNU coreutils FAQ: ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Was 'diff' included in the first version of Linux

What is the list of programs that were available in the first public version of Linux distribution (not just kernel)? I am specially concerned when this distribution was released and if diff utility ...
7
votes
0answers
41 views

Why does 8250 UART driver not wake up TTY if more than 256 characters are pending?

What is the motivation of this if-condition in void serial8250_tx_chars(struct uart_8250_port *up)? if (uart_circ_chars_pending(xmit) < WAKEUP_CHARS) uart_write_wakeup(port); It has been ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Relation between emacs and bash terminal shortcuts [closed]

I would like to know what is the relation between emacs and bash terminal shortcuts.
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Zeller's congruence and cal command

According to Zeller's Congruence, the day of 29 Feb, 1600 is Tuesday. However, the cal command shows it as Friday.Is there a bug in cal's code or a limit on the range of years which Zeller's ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the point of mv -f

The GNU Coreutils manual for mv says: -f --force Do not prompt the user before removing a destination file. However, this already seems to be the default behaviour for mv, so the -f option appears ...
18
votes
3answers
825 views

The Linux kernel: breaking user space

I started thinking about this issue in the context of etiquette on the Linux Kernel Mailing list. As the world's best known and arguably most successful and important free software project, the Linux ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

What is the background of the program segmentation?

Each program is separated into several segments like: code segment data segment stack segment heap segment But who was responsible for that progression? The compiler and linker has to support that ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Why does xargs -I imply -L 1

I've seen Why does 'find -exec cmd {} +' need to end in '{} +'? which explains why {} + has to be at the end of the -exec cmd(*), and now I'd like to know why GNU xargs reverts to one ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

Etymology of “descriptor” in “file descriptor”

The choice of the word descriptor has always struct me as odd. "Index" or "id" seem like more obvious alternatives. Is there a known rationale for the choosing the word "descriptor"? I guess ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Where did the default GTK2 theme (raleigh) theme come from?

Who made the theme? When was the theme made? Was it made originally for a specific distro? Does the theme have anything to do with the city of Raleigh?
18
votes
2answers
376 views

Why does niceness range from -20 to 19?

The nice command allows you to adjust the scheduling priority ("niceness") of a program. On all Unix-like systems I've used, niceness is specified by a range of integers, where -20 is the most ...
4
votes
3answers
141 views

Historically why is umask the way it is?

umask has always tripped me up. Logically I would prefer to have a 'setmask' instead that takes chmod-style arguments. Anyone know why it is the way it is?
2
votes
0answers
38 views

Where does the name of i3 (the WM) come from?

I was thinking about this, so I searched the i3 website, but did not find anything. I was alarmed by the thought, that the name was ie (internet explorer) in leetspeak. It might also be a weird ...
45
votes
2answers
4k views

why is rm allowed to delete a file under ownership of a different user?

From the post Why can rm remove read-only files? I understand that rm just needs write permission on directory to remove the file. But I find it hard to digest the behaviour where we can easily delete ...
0
votes
2answers
797 views

Where does the word GNU come from?

GNU is a Unix-like operating system. That means it is a collection of many programs: applications, libraries, developer tools, even games. The development of GNU, started in January 1984, is known ...
1
vote
1answer
266 views

How can I find out the IP address from which a user logged in?

We have two RHEL 6.4 64-bit boxes in our environment. They are accessed remotely via putty. The password of user ABC on one RHEL box is shared by multiple users. User ABC logged into server from ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

What is the meaning of the mode mask names from stat(2) and chmod(2)?

The stat calls have a series of symbolic names for the various bits in the mode field. From the stat(2) manual page: The following mask values are defined for the file mode component of the st_mode ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is the Intel HD Graphics driver called i915?

The only references to i915 I can find are indeed to the linux kernel driver for the intel chips. Intel just seems to call them HD graphics whatever. Intel 915 seems to refer to some Pentium 4 ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

Why are certain naming conventions so inconsistent in Linux? [closed]

It seems like the general pool of logging, changelog, readme, and config files in Linux is very inconsistently named. It always makes me wonder, why didn't *nix devs decide on a common file name ...
7
votes
1answer
224 views

How were these Linux TCP default settings decided?

I spent quite some time tracking down a problem in production recently, where a database server disappearing would cause a hang of up to 2 hours (long wait for a poll() call in the libpq client ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Why is vdir still around?

After installing Debian 8, I started poking around /bin (as I'm always wont to do), and I noticed that ls and vdir share, not only the same manpage (except for the whatis line), but the exact same ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Patching a binary with dd

I have read this quote (below) several times, most recently here, and am continually puzzled at how dd can be used to patch anything let alone a compiler: The Unix system I used at school, 30 ...
33
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are UNIX/POSIX system call namings so illegible?

What is the reason to use such untelling system call names like time and creat instead of getCurrentTimeSecs and createFile or, maybe more suitable on Unix get_current_time_secs and create_file. Which ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Why should you avoid “stringently columnar” input formats?

Doug McIlroy, the inventor of Unix pipes and one of the founders of the Unix tradition, had this to say at the time [McIlroy78]: (ii) Expect the output of every program to become the input to ...
2
votes
1answer
267 views

sudo ls not showing hidden files on Linux

Today I discovered that sudo ls shows hidden files (that is, those that have names starting with .) on OS X. This surprised me so much that I asked a question about this behaviour, which I still find ...
8
votes
1answer
376 views

Why is the vi editor's copy command called Yank?

Why is the vi editor's copy command called “yank”? Is there any thing significant that can help me to remember the command name?
-1
votes
1answer
121 views

Who was the original author of logrotate and what year was it written?

The question started as an internal team debate. But we realized we couldn't find any information about when the original version of logrotate was authored and who wrote it.Do you have idea?
0
votes
1answer
74 views

deleting all occurences of a given command from history [closed]

I am trying to delete a specific entry in history. Clarification--by that I mean deleting all occurences containing a given command/or text. I used Aliteralmind's hxf script: :< Examples hxf ...
25
votes
2answers
720 views

Where is “export var=value” not available?

I have picked up -- probably on Usenet in the mid-1990s (!) -- that the construct export var=value is a Bashism, and that the portable expression is var=value export var I have been advocating ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

What are the oldest irc clients I can still use on linux ?

I have a weakness for nostalgia and some interest in Unix history, therefore I would like to know which are the oldest still usable irc clients that can be run on Linux. In this context I value age ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

important changes of linux 3.1 to 3.17 [closed]

I'm doing school research project for Linux operating system and I need help with summary of version 3.1 to 3.17. The problem is, I know very little about Linux and detailed technological terms used ...
8
votes
1answer
261 views

Why does brace expansion range use two dots instead of three (ellipsis)?

I finally understood/discovered why I never got to using bash's (and also zsh's) brace expansion range properly: the syntax is {1..10} instead of what I assumed to be an ellipsis, i.e. {1...10}. May ...
1
vote
0answers
91 views

how to copy files using TTY teminal from one pc to another connected through same home network

In my academic lab my friend copied files from one computer to another that were serially connected using the tty4. How could he have done this if there was no internet and he didn't install any new ...
3
votes
1answer
30 views

Why did “argument can be squisehd against option” prevail over “argument is always separate”?

Inspired by the recent question Why does the specific sequence of options matter for tar command?, in which the asker learned why tar -cfv test.tar *.jpg doesn't work, I'd like to ask a followup: ...
0
votes
1answer
116 views

Did Linux have a bug where reading /dev/null would crash the system?

About 10 years ago I've been told by someone that for years Linux used to crash whenever you tried to read /dev/null (ie. cat /dev/null). Is this actually true? Did such a bug exist? And if it did, ...
36
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is the UNIX system call kill named 'kill'?

I'm curious about the history of the name, it seems to me that the 'kill' system call could have been named 'signal', and the 'signal' system call could have been named 'handle'. I was wondering ...
1
vote
0answers
60 views

Is Cat-v.org an official subsidiary website of Plan 9 from Bell Labs?

I was wondering, since it seems to be one of the only websites where I can seemingly legally download historic Unix documents.