Upon my journey to master Unix/Linux, I came across this saying and some of its derivaties:

Everything is a file.


Everything in Unix is a file.

Reflecting upon my humble knowledge of Unix/Linux, I think this phrase concisely defines a very foundational idea of the Unix/Linux system.

As such, I would like to use this quote in my up-coming presentation on Linux introduction. For that purpose, I need to know the history behind this quote with reference.

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    Other operating systems have done the same (recalling it for IBM VM/SP CMS). The origin of this is probably debatable. – Thomas Dickey Sep 23 '18 at 8:45
  • I understand that it won't be easy to give a proper reference to the 'history' of this saying. However, since I would like to put this line as a quote in my presentation I need to know at least what the general community thinks the 'source' of this quote is (e.g. generally accepted first document or person that used this saying). – Tran Triet Sep 23 '18 at 8:53
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    history … with reference seems to be asking for documented facts. – JdeBP Sep 23 '18 at 9:02
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    Related questions are unix.stackexchange.com/questions/141016 and unix.stackexchange.com/questions/225537 . – JdeBP Sep 23 '18 at 9:02
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    I don't know the origin of that exact quote, but any explanation of that quote probably references the 1974 CACM article on UNIX. – Mark Plotnick Sep 23 '18 at 14:00

A case-insensitive Ngram search for "Everything is a file,Everything in Unix is a file" doesn't turn up much, but it does give a date to beat:

In iPcress everything is a file, including the indexed table of file headers (inode table). This is an extension of the UNIX philosophy that “all files are simply a stream of bytes".
- FILE SYSTEM DESIGN USING LARGE MEMORIES, Carl Staelin, Hector Garcia-Molina; CS-TR-246-90 February 1990 (Revised June 1990)

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    Google will find a 1988 date with no problem, but the origin would be before 1980. – Thomas Dickey Sep 23 '18 at 15:45
  • @ThomasDickey, I agree, but maybe this'll inspire a earlier find. – agc Sep 23 '18 at 20:18

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