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I have just answered this question on SO, and it fired off my curiosity a little. So I've searched around but can't find an answer ('yes' is a difficult thing to search for!)

There are related questions about what yes does, but I can't find any about its history, and I'm curious what is the first instance of? is there any documentation for it...

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  • Let's start a search for the 'yes' creator and have him run for president!
    – David Ebbo
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 17:24
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    It appeared in 2.9BSD, file-timestamp July 10, 1981, no attribution. The CSRG disk also has it with an earlier timestamp for 4.1 (October 8, 1980). Aside from manpage, no documentation. Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 19:50

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The earliest version in the Unix history repository is credited to Ken Thompson in V7, on January 10, 1979.

The 4BSD version only adds the CSRG's SCCS header, dated October 8, 1980.

In the repository, the V7 version doesn't have a manpage; that appears in 4BSD.

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    I do love the manpage! Thank you for the effort, I've no idea why I enjoy that being documented as much as I do.
    – Michael B
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 14:34

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