The history of Unix systems and their main components.

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83
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3answers
5k views

Why not use “which”? What to use then?

When looking for the path to an executable or checking what would happen would you enter a command name in a Unix shell, there's a plethora of different utilities (which, type, command, whence, where, ...
18
votes
3answers
172 views

How did the Linux Kernel project track bugs in the Early Days?

We all know that Linus Torvalds created Git because of issues with Bitkeeper. What is not known (at least to me) is, how were issues/tickets/bugs tracked up until then? I tried but didn't get anything ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

The history of ../

I was wondering if there's a known reason behind the use of .. to represent the parent of the current directory in most operating systems. The reason I ask this question is because I think that the ...
5
votes
1answer
43 views

What is ENOANO (No Anode) intended to be used for?

This question is merely for idle curiosity, but I suspect others will be curious as well. Searching through errno.h (of Linux 2.6) I found ENOANO "No Anode". There is no sign of a "No cathode" error. ...
0
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0answers
73 views

Specifying numeric ranges in zsh history

According to the docs I can tell the zsh history to print lines in a range. The docs say "history [first [last]]" I've tried "history a b" but that gives a too many arguments error. I've also tried ...
-2
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3answers
217 views

Why is “shebang” called “shebang”?

Does "shebang" mean "bang she"? Why not "hebang" as "bang he"?
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Can somebody list the earliest public source-code repositories and when they opened? [closed]

Nowadays people only know github, some people know gitlab, some people know bitbucket (mercurial) but other than that people seem to have forgotten there were others as well. I know about freshmeat ...
6
votes
3answers
200 views

When were the first graphical app installers created for Linux distributions

Having a discussion at work with a colleague, and he is claiming graphical installers for *nix environments have only been available for the last few years, but I can't find any solid information on ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Who wrote the “Linux kernel” (Linus Torvalds and his team)?

Who are the authors of the pure Linux kernel from scratch, which was integrated with GNU tools and formed the full GNU/Linux Operating system in the 1990s? I have read some wiki articles but I haven't ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

history - bash, dash, zsh and .profile [duplicate]

For a long time I have been wondering about the existence of many shells in GNU/Linux. To make the question a bit focused I have used only three shells - bash, dash and zsh. From wikipedia articles ...
8
votes
1answer
126 views

Why didn't GNU Info succeed man?

As per my knowledge/understanding both help and man came at the same time or have very little time difference between them. Then GNU Info came in and from what I have seen is much more verbose, much ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

What is GNU Info for?

I understand what GNU Info is and how to use it, but what is it for? Why does it exist in parallel to the man pages? Why not write detailed man pages rather than provide a separate utility?
521
votes
2answers
120k views

Why was '~' chosen to represent the home directory?

I have often wondered why the ~ represents the home directory of a user. Is there a reason behind this, or is it just some infrequently used character?
22
votes
5answers
2k views

What aspects of Plan 9 have made their way into Unix?

Plan 9 was developed by Bell Labs as a successor to Unix. Although for various reasons it never quite materialized as such, a fair amount of development still went into Plan 9. My question is, what ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Use case for /usr/bin/lessecho

I can not come up with an example of how I could/would use lessecho. The description in the man page is fairly straight forward but is not helping me come up with a use case: DESCRIPTION ...
28
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the purpose of the hash command?

If you run hash it shows the path of all commands run since the hash was last reset (hash -r) [root@c04c ~]# hash hash: hash table empty [root@c04c ~]# whoami root [root@c04c ~]# hash hits ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

BSD Net/1 was a free fully operating system?

I think that the old BSD Net/1 was not a fully operating system, but an add-on to 4.3BSD for VAX, as I realize from http://gunkies.org/wiki/Net/1 and http://gunkies.org/wiki/Net/2 Is it right? In ...
2
votes
3answers
69 views

Why is NetworkManager package name upper case?

All other software packages are lower case, so why NetworkManager upper case?
11
votes
1answer
754 views

What do all the pictures on the front of the “Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook” represent? [duplicate]

I'm a newcomer to Unix and Linux, and I've been trying to get up to speed on everything. One of the guides I've used is the "Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook" It's a pretty great book, ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

What are all the items on the cover of the “Linux Administration Handbook”?

As I mentioned in What do all the pictures on the front of the "Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook" represent? I'm fairly new to Linux and Unix. @jasonwryan provided an excellent ...
10
votes
2answers
456 views

/usr/bin/ptx: Can you provide a use case or two?

I was going through the list of files included in coreutils and I was able to come up with an example of how I could personally use all of the commands provided except for ptx. Can you give one or two ...
1
vote
2answers
181 views

Is the GNU Coreutils copied from Unix?

Linux itself is not a copy of Unix because one can argue it simply conforms to the POSIX standard. However, how about the GNU Coreutils which contains utilities like ls, cd and rm, etc...? Is there ...
10
votes
4answers
516 views

The future of OpenSolaris

since OpenSolaris is more or less abandoned by Oracle, is there a nice alternative that implements the unique features of OSOL? ZFS is one thing, but I liked the image creation system, that let you ...
19
votes
1answer
345 views

When and how was the double-dash (--) introduced as an end of options delimiter in Unix/Linux?

I don't think the shell/utilities in historical Unix nor in something as "recent" as 4.4BSD supported using a double-dash(or two consecutive hyphens) as an end of options delimiter. With FreeBSD, you ...
6
votes
2answers
195 views

Regex `/pattern/g` and ed `:g/pattern/`: which came first, and why `g`?

The g option (e.g. s/pattern/replacement/g) for many tools that use regex-style pattern matching and the :g command in ed, ex, vi, and vim have pretty similar usage and meaning: match the given regex ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Why is JFS so obscure?

When I first got into using Slackware years ago I quickly learned to love JFS over ext3 or reiserfs given that it was reliable and if there was an unclean shutdown, its disk checking was very very ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

How would you get all users history

I know there is the $HISTFILE variable where i can find the currently logged in users history-file, but how can i be sure to get every history file on the server I was thinking of the ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Who is responsible for the Linux kernel?

As of today, there are many Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Mint, Debian, etc. These distributions update at different cycles. Ubuntu seems to update its kernel weekly or monthly, ...
30
votes
5answers
801 views

How to save a command you entered without executing it? [duplicate]

Every Linux user has experienced this annoying thing: you begin typing a long and boring command, then realise you should have executed another one before. How to save the first one to execute it ...
73
votes
4answers
9k views

Why are tar archive formats switching to xz compression to replace bzip2 and what about gzip?

More and more tar archives use the xz format based on LZMA2 for compression instead of the traditional bzip2(bz2) compression. In fact kernel.org made a late "Good-bye bzip2" announcement, 27th Dec. ...
3
votes
3answers
134 views

History of Bash globbing

Is there a historical reason why Bash "globbing" and regular expressions are not identical? For example, I believe that in Bash [1-2]* matches anything that starts with a 1 or a 2 followed by anything ...
18
votes
1answer
942 views

If chown can change groups, why was chgrp created?

So there's chown which lets you change the owner and group of files and/or directories. But there's also chgrp which only changes the group. Why was chgrp created? Isn't it redundant?
28
votes
3answers
6k views

What did Ken Thompson mean when he said, “I'd spell create with an 'e'.”

Ken Thompson, the creator of Unix, was once asked what he'd do if he had it to do over again. He said, "I'd spell create with an 'e'." What is Ken referring to? Is there a "creat" command?
10
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4answers
4k views

Evolution of Operating systems from Unix

Can you explain the evolution hierarchy of operating systems (Linux and Windows) from Unix?
3
votes
1answer
60 views

what is the original command to create a file? [closed]

we can create a file by a lot of commands: cat > foo.txt echo 'This is a test' > foo.txt touch foo.txt vi foo.txt (or any text-editor) my questions are: What is the original command to ...
81
votes
6answers
24k views

Where did the “wheel” group get its name?

The wheel group on *nix computers typically refers to the group with some sort of root-like access. I've heard that on some *nixes it's the group of users with the right to run su, but on Linux that ...
42
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does no one use the true Bourne shell as /bin/sh?

I've noticed that basically no system I've ever worked with has /bin/sh as a real executable. It's always a symlink to dash, bash in POSIX mode, or something similar. Why? What are the disadvantages ...
4
votes
2answers
129 views

Why wasn't `creat` called `create`? [duplicate]

Was it just to save typing one letter? I don't think C function names were limited to five characters at the time, as strcmp and unlink are probably just as old. I'm hoping someone who was involved ...
4
votes
1answer
220 views

Presentation Tools Back In The Day

Which tools were around »back in the day« to aid presentation Unix/Linux environments? I just wondered how somebody would accomplish something like slides in a e.g. text-based environment or low-end ...
0
votes
1answer
474 views

What does chmod stand for?

In order to memorize a command, it is usually a good idea to learn where it's name comes from. For example, cp comes from copy. usermod means "User Modifiy" (at least I guess so). Where does chmod ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

How to set the number of commands history recalls

I am using bash. To browse my command history I am calling the history command which I believe is calling the Gnu program of the same name. (I don't know if there's a better bash specific way). In ...
5
votes
2answers
235 views

Is there a archive of old man pages? specifically for the features available for grep in early 'ed'

This is just a bit of history rummaging... I'd like to know how different today's grep is to the original implementation, introduced by Ken Thompson in ed. which evolved to ex, which then became vi... ...
94
votes
3answers
14k views

What does “rc” in .bashrc stand for?

Is it "resource configuration", by any chance?
2
votes
3answers
130 views

Why are POSIX Find Parameters Different from Other Program styles?

Why is a parameter in the POSIX find command added with a single hyphen for multi-character parameter names, while most other programs use single hyphen to indicate multiple single-character flags, ...
8
votes
1answer
109 views

Possible to see dead proccesses?

In man ps, it clearly states the different states a process can have on Linux. D Uninterruptible sleep (usually IO) R Running or runnable (on run queue) S Interruptible sleep (waiting for an ...
37
votes
1answer
2k views

What happened to bzip1?

bzip2 had been a de facto standard for quite strong compression throughout many years already. I myself had typed the bzip2 command thousands of times already, which makes me wonder - what happened to ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Where can i find any information about ancient doshell(8)?

I check the openvt manual by running "man openvt" command, and i found doshell(8) under "SEE ALSO" section: But there's no manual if i do "man 8 doshell": I checked the online manual at ...
5
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1answer
258 views

Can the 25 years of development of the Linux kernel be qualified or abstracted in layman's terms? [closed]

The Linux kernel is almost 25 years old. If I had to come up with the short version on the development history of the Linux kernel since 1991(its inception date), and in partcular since 1994 (1.0.0) ...
19
votes
1answer
716 views

At what point did the /home directory appear?

Originally in Unix, /usr was used for user (home) directories. So if I had a user named alex, my home directory would be /usr/alex. (Interestingly, Plan 9, the successor to Unix, still has user ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

What's the story behind command file's suggestion?

While I'm reading file(1) I noticed this in the man page (emphasis mine): When adding local definitions to /etc/magic, make sure to preserve these keywords. Users depend on knowing that all the ...