The history of Unix systems and their main components.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
2answers
8k views

Is `cal` broken? What happened in September 1752?

If you look at the output of cal 9 1752 you will see this strange output: September 1752 S M Tu W Th F S 1 2 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 The following story ...
10
votes
4answers
528 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
163 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
3k 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
3answers
713 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
159 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
610 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
125 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
402 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
284 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
430 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
435 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
347 views

Expand subshell before executing it?

I often run commands using subshells, and sometimes would like to have the subshells expanded before I run something.. This way I could verify what I'm doing, and possibly edit what's about to happen ...
7
votes
1answer
413 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
643 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
183 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
407 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
211 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
261 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
226 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
877 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
664 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
218 views

When was the concept of remote repositories invented?

When were remote repositories, for any package manager, invented and implemented?
5
votes
4answers
351 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
1k 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
1answer
556 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
723 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
2answers
261 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
123 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
143 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
1answer
92 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. ...
4
votes
5answers
872 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
2answers
2k 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
331 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
197 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
1answer
503 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
155 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
2k 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
2answers
89 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
250 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
289 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

History of apropos command

I am writing a paper on my project, the goal of which is to write a new implementation of the apropos(1) command. While I realize that apropos was written in the early days of Unix when computing ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Is the historical Unix V5 tr command padding behavior of set2 different from what we consider today “classic” System V (1983-1988) behavior?

The tr command is almost 40 years old. It seemingly appeared in Unix for the first time in 1973 with Unix V4. The source for this is not available. Here is probably the second oldest available Unix ...
4
votes
1answer
268 views

General questions about OpenBSD source code and release dates

Looking into doing analysis of the lifespan of a line of code, and via another question on stackexchange I was pointed to a research paper on OpenBSD that I've got a few questions about. That being: ...
4
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
158 views

Why has the ANSI 3.64 standard been withdrawn?

From the Wikipedia "ANSI escape code" article: The name "ANSI escape sequence" dates from 1981 when ANSI adopted ECMA-48 as the standard ANSI X3.64 (and later, in 1997, withdrew it). Does ...
4
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
315 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 ...