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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5
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1answer
209 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
637 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
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5answers
1k 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
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
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1answer
368 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
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3answers
252 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
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
1answer
761 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
181 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
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 ...
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?
4
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
4
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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
273 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
314 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
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?
4
votes
1answer
261 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
108 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
290 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
328 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
129 views

Why is NetworkManager package name upper case?

All other software packages are lower case, so why NetworkManager upper case?
3
votes
4answers
426 views

Is the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard a UNIX standard or a GNU/Linux standard?

The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard says where to put stuff in a UNIX distribution. Is the FHS used/designed for use outside of GNU/Linux, or is it mostly limited to GNU/Linux?
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Using more command

Is there any case or reason to use "more" unix command instead of "less". As far as I see "less" is "better" in all senses, so does it mean that "more" is a command which has no reason to be used when ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

When did Automake switch to using Perl

I tried to get remove Perl from my Ubuntu machine, but found that automake not only depends on Perl but itself is a Perl program. I read somewhere this was not always the case. Today I looked in the ...
3
votes
1answer
210 views

What does it mean when something says that UNIX device files are static?

I've been reading up on udev. In the "overview" section, Wikipedia states that "unlike traditional Unix systems, where the device nodes in the /dev directory have been a static set of files, the Linux ...
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
681 views

How do you find what keys the “erase” and “line-kill” characters are in Ubuntu?

I'm new to Unix and have bought today a copy of "The Unix Programming Environment". I'm trying out the stuff from the book. But some of them are not working as expected like : To kill a line and ...
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 ...
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: ...
3
votes
1answer
94 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does halt not turn the machine off? [duplicate]

shutdown now kills everything and then powers down the machine. halt kills everything and then... there is no step 2. It will sit, running but not doing anything, until people stop arguing over ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

how to record command which execute a programme suid

My question: Is there a way to record all commands who execute a suid programme? Like what .bash_history do, but only the setuid programmes.
3
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1answer
103 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
701 views

Does research unix have any binary editor?

I cannot find any binary editor in v7 unix by reading volumn 1 of the manual. Is there any?
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Has Unix been used by accountants and other non-programmers at AT&T in the 70s and 80s?

In the short documentary, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie Explain UNIX (Bell Labs) it is mentioned, that Unix is not only an OS, but also a system around which a community could form. I find ...
3
votes
0answers
114 views

The history of ../ [duplicate]

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
269 views

Why is resolv.conf spelled without the 'e'? [duplicate]

A curiosity question which google has been unable to answer for me: Why is 'resolv.conf' spelled without the trailing 'e'? I'm sure there's a valid historical reason going back to the early days of ...
2
votes
2answers
347 views

Where is 'kernel panic' used?

Is the name kernel panic being used outside of Linux-based systems?
2
votes
3answers
156 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
502 views

What is the difference between X and XFree?

Why are there two programs for that?
2
votes
2answers
433 views

Where did Redhat derive from?

Where did Redhat derive from? Did it derive directly from Linus Torvaldis linux distro (2 years earlier) or did it have roots in BSD or System-V ?? I am just wondering how to classify Redhat in the ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
284 views

What is “Charlie &” in the gecos field on OpenBSD for root?

Question: what is "Charlie &" for the root user? I didn't gave "Charlie &" for gecos field, I think I didn't gave any at all. ps.: the "/sbin/nologin" doesn't matters, I just tested ...
2
votes
1answer
779 views

What killed Beagle? [closed]

Beagle was all the rage some years ago, and then it just died... silently. Anyone knows why?
2
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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 ...
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
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

SSH Authentication Mechanism

Doing a personal research project and I'm wondering: Why does SSH do its own mechanism negotiation rather than use SASL? At first I thought it might be to ensure confidentiality of the whole session, ...