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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11
votes
3answers
688 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
947 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, ...
11
votes
1answer
514 views

What is the difference between shared memory in early unix systems vs modern unix systems?

How could processes share memory in early versions of UNIX version modern implementations of shared memory?
10
votes
3answers
733 views

Why does the “she-bang” begin with a “#!”?

Why does the "she-bang" begin with a #!, like #!/bin/bash? I have always accepted that this how it is done, but is there a reason behind it? Why start with #; isn't that usually a comment? Or is it ...
10
votes
4answers
535 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
193 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the point of the 'operator' user?

Many un*x systems ship with a user account named 'operator'. What is the purpose of this account? Do some systems actually make use of this account, or is this more of a historical legacy? Have you ...
9
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
626 views

Is it true that the first version of Linux was based on parts of Unix?

Me and a friend had a discussion about Linux and Unix today and my friend kept saying that the first version of the Linux kernel was based on [parts] of the Unix kernel. This really surprised me ...
8
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
412 views

Why are UNIX logins often formed with the first letter of the first name followed by the first seven letters of the name?

I have seen in many places (especially universities) logins formed in the following way: First letter of the first name: John Smithsonian → j First seven letters of the name: John Smithsonian → ...
7
votes
3answers
292 views

When was process substitution first introduced?

I'm curios to know how long process substitution has been around. What shell first had it? When did it get added to other shells?
7
votes
1answer
548 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) ...
7
votes
2answers
465 views

Unix History: return code octal?

// EDIT: Request to move this question to unix.stackexchange.com I was thrown off guard today by gdb: Program exited with code 0146. gdb prints the return code in octal; looking into why I found: ...
7
votes
2answers
235 views

When was the concept of remote repositories invented?

When were remote repositories, for any package manager, invented and implemented?
7
votes
1answer
427 views

Who are these BSD Unix contributors?

I'm trying to piece together the names of the people who contributed to BSD Unix, according to the contents of the SCCS logs. (This is the version control system used at the time.) A number of names ...
6
votes
3answers
168 views

Did all of the Requests for Comments directly affect the design of Unix networks?

I want to know more about Linux must be one of my most enduring sentiments. But I often find that I learn the most, or perhaps just feel the most satisfied with what I have learned, when I simply ...
6
votes
3answers
673 views

What's the rationale to have option to use power of 1000 instead of 1024 in df?

I'm curious about df -H and df -h, then man df tells me: -h, --human-readable print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G) -H, --si likewise, but use powers of ...
6
votes
1answer
187 views

Where does this convention for quotation marks (`` …'') come from? [closed]

Frequently I get asked the question: ``K., where does this convention for quotation marks come from? You know, the one with the two grave accents introducing a quoted string and two regular ...
6
votes
3answers
432 views

Is `Tru64 UNIX` open source?

Is Tru64 UNIX an open source/free or commercial system? Does it work on 32-bit platform? and what are its features in compare with *BSD & Linux system?
6
votes
3answers
222 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
279 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... ...
6
votes
2answers
248 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
993 views

zsync vs. jigdo

What's the difference between zsync and jigdo? Their core functionality seems the same, so I'm curious on things like performance, file size, and ease-of-use. Would also be interesting to know why one ...
6
votes
1answer
264 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?
6
votes
1answer
745 views

What are the origins of rgb.txt?

Where did the list of X11 color names come from? Every resource I've found online claims the origin is unknown, but it must be recorded somewhere. The best information I've found was in an archived ...
6
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
370 views

Does Linux use original Unix code or do they share the idea? [duplicate]

Does the Linux kernel use original Unix code or do they share the idea? He mocked me and said it's a stupid question to ask and of course they share the idea not the code. Since both are written in C, ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why there are only two user defined signals?

In the list of signals defined in a linux system, there are two signals stated as User Defined signals (SIGUSR1 and SIGUSR2). Other signals will be raised or caught in specific situations, but SIGUSRs ...
5
votes
3answers
212 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
337 views

Why BitchX is called BitchX?

Well, the title is pretty much self-explanatory, but for sake of completeness, I'm curious to know the reason for the name of BitchX. I searched on internet for etymology but it was a fail. I hope ...
5
votes
1answer
571 views

Anyone know the meaning of yy?

Since history questions are considered on topic, I figured I'd ask one that's been bugging me for quite some time and no one I know seems to know the answer. Does anyone know what the historical ...
5
votes
1answer
802 views

Resources System V vs BSD

I'm searching for some detailed resources about the differences of System V and BSD concepts. For example: Interprocess Communication Sockets vs TLI ... Some sort of pro/cons discussion with ...
5
votes
1answer
152 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
298 views

Which was the very first music player application for Linux?

I'm writing an article about FOSS and Linux music players. What was the very first music player application for Linux? Was there ever a time when the players didn't support proprietary formats like ...
5
votes
1answer
128 views

“globbing” (*) comes from “global command”… Huh?

According to legend, in the early days what we now call "globbing" (i.e. using expressions like e.g. *.c, ./*.p?) was supported by one certain program /etc/glob, whose name in turn derived from ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

Why does 'find -exec cmd {} +' need to end in '{} +'?

Preface: I understand the difference between -exec {} \; & -exec {} +. I also don't have a problem as such, I am just curious about the semantics of find. When ending the -exec argument with + ...
5
votes
2answers
435 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
5answers
933 views

If Mac OS X is UNIX, why is it that it is not open sourced and the license is proprietary?

If Mac OS X is a Unix, as answered in this question, why is it that it is not open sourced and the license is proprietary, as stated in this Wikipedia article? According the the genealogy from this ...
4
votes
3answers
815 views

Is Linus Torvalds a hacker? [closed]

Maybe wrong place for the question, but I couldn't find the answer. The wiki says he's software engineer and hacker. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds) Is it true? I must tell I haven't ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Expansion of the word UNIX?

Is UNIX an acronym? What does it stand for?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Why the unix bin directory named in that way?

I thought the bin directory is the place for binary files. If so, what about script files? Should they be placed somewhere else? What's the history of bin directory and where should I put script ...
4
votes
1answer
343 views

Why did Debian create the DFSG?

I'm curious why Debian created the DFSG when the FSD already existed. There are some differences (conflicts) of course, but was that the main motivation?
4
votes
3answers
226 views

CD into directory from HISTORY in a bash script or alias e.g. $(!!)

I often want to change into the directory of a file on my file system, but I'm not sure where the file is. I search for it like so: find -type f -name "myfile.txt" Lets say for the sake of ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What does the “rc” stand for in /etc/rc.d? [duplicate]

Does anybody have an idea about the full form of rc.d in, for example, /etc/rc.d? It contains scripts to used to control the starting, stopping and restarting of daemons. But what exactly is the ...
4
votes
1answer
562 views

What does the “f” in fdisk stand for?

gdisk stands for GPT fdisk. cfdisk stands for curses fdisk. And so on and so forth. However, what does the original "f" in fdisk stand for? The only things I can think of would be either "files" or ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Why does System V traditionally symlink /bin to /usr/bin?

This systemd wiki page about the /usr merge, under Myth #6, states that /bin has traditionally been a symlink to /usr/bin on System V UNIX. What is the motivation for this? For backwards ...
4
votes
2answers
90 views

Why is the default choice for -I argument '{}'?

It seems you can pass in a variable name like 'file' for -I argument of xargs, but there are a plethora of examples that use {}. Is this because of the backward compatibility? Or does it help with the ...
4
votes
2answers
257 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
298 views

“Linux supports the dynamic loading of kernel modules. ”

I read in a book written by Robert Love that: Linux supports the dynamic loading of kernel modules. He said this is the difference between Linux and Unix, but I seem to recall there is also KLD ...