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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7
votes
2answers
471 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 → ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

Why do /usr and /tmp directories for Linux miss vowels in their spellings?

I have often started to think about this but never found a good answer. Why are these two Unix directories not /user and /temp instead? All the other directories under root seem to be exactly what ...
24
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 -...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

Origin of 'root' account

What's the origin of root account? Where did it come from and why is it called root anyway? (Originally asked by @lizztheblizz on Twitter.)
4
votes
2answers
332 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Expansion of the word UNIX?

Is UNIX an acronym? What does it stand for?
1
vote
3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
20k views

What is the concept behind “tty” in linux?

Where did the terminology "tty" come from in Linux?
11
votes
1answer
584 views

What are the differences in shared memory between early and modern Unix systems?

How could processes share memory in early versions of Unix? How does this compare with modern implementations of shared memory?
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
377 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?
3
votes
1answer
791 views

What killed Beagle? [closed]

Beagle was all the rage some years ago, and then it just died... silently. Anyone knows why?
1
vote
2answers
354 views

Where is 'kernel panic' used?

Is the name kernel panic being used outside of Linux-based systems?
2
votes
2answers
579 views

What is the difference between X and XFree?

Why are there two programs for that?
138
votes
6answers
47k views

Is Linux a Unix?

So, there are lots of different versions of Unix out there: HP-UX, AIX, BSD, etc. Linux is considered a Unix clone rather than an implementation of Unix. Are all the "real" Unices actual descendants ...
159
votes
3answers
29k views

What does “rc” in .bashrc stand for?

Is it "resource configuration", by any chance?
21
votes
4answers
6k views

Evolution of Operating systems from Unix

Can you explain the evolution hierarchy of operating systems (Linux and Windows) from Unix?
5
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
45
votes
5answers
5k views

Why is there a * When There is Mention of Unix Throughout the Internet?

I've noticed that throughout the Internet, within forums and blog posts, Unix always has a * in the word, whether it is *nix or Un*x, as I noticed at the welcoming banner at the Unix StackExchange ...
5
votes
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
557 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 ...
117
votes
6answers
41k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
823 views

How was the shift to 64 bits handled on Linux

How was the transition to 64 bits handled on Linux/Unix? The Windows world still seems to have issues with it and I'm curious how it was handled in the *nix world.
41
votes
4answers
9k views

What did Ken Thompson mean when he said, “I'd spell creat 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 creat with an 'e'." What is Ken referring to? Is there a "creat" command?