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

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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 ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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435 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 ...
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1answer
590 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 ...
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3answers
163 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?
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1answer
994 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 ...
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159 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 ...
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2answers
398 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 ...
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1answer
259 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 + ...
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375 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?
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1answer
119 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 ...
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273 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 ...
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2answers
87 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 ...
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1answer
901 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 ...
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1answer
191 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 ...
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1answer
161 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
281 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 ...
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2answers
323 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 ...
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1answer
76 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?
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1answer
270 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 ...
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1answer
112 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 ...
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1answer
296 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: ...
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1answer
351 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
147 views

Why is NetworkManager package name upper case?

All other software packages are lower case, so why NetworkManager upper case?
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4answers
444 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?
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1answer
212 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 ...
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3answers
132 views

When was the UNIX single-user vs multi-user modes distinction first introduced?

Practically if not actually every single UNIX-like operating system today makes the distinction between multi-user and single-user modes. Single user mode is generally intended for low-level system ...
3
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1answer
180 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 ...
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1answer
230 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 ...
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4answers
826 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 ...
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1answer
788 views

What killed Beagle? [closed]

Beagle was all the rage some years ago, and then it just died... silently. Anyone knows why?
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1answer
72 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 ...
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1answer
50 views

When did bash's shopt huponexit start defaulting to off?

On Monday morning, I logged into a box with ssh and ran the following command: tail -f /var/log/foo/bar.log | grep something_interesting & At some point later in the day, I logged out by ...
3
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1answer
32 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: ...
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1answer
89 views

Syntactic differences in cp -r and how to overcome them

Let's say we are in a blank directory. Then, the following commands: mkdir dir1 cp -r dir1 dir2 Yield two (blank) directories, dir1 and dir2, where dir2 has been created as a copy of dir1. ...
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1answer
101 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
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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
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1answer
137 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
376 views

How do you play this old unix game?

I recently tried the simh emulator, pdp11. The disk image I used can be found on the internet, and instructions for booting it are here. Presumably it belonged to Dennis Ritchie, as the username is ...
3
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1answer
112 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 ...
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1answer
79 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 ...
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1answer
749 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?
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1answer
91 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 ...
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0answers
115 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
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1answer
281 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 ...
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3answers
738 views

Why can't Korn Shell do ctrl-r?

If I use PC-BSD with the default shell (Korn) then Ctrl+r doesn't work. Why won't it work? Ctrl-r was introduced to search your history in the late 1970s or early 80s and my BSD still can't do it ...
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3answers
158 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, ...
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2answers
567 views

What is the difference between X and XFree?

Why are there two programs for that?