Questions tagged [historical-unix]

The historical Unix from Bell Labs in the 1970s and 1980s, as opposed to Unix variants and clones from other vendors. This tag is only about the historical product known as UNIX Time-Sharing System or UNIX System III/IV/V. For the history of the Unix family of operating systems in general, use the "history" tag.

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Historically as well as today, what was or is the commonly accepted default argument for a command to show its help page?

I stumbled upon this the first time when I wanted to add an option -h to my program and got an error that -h is already in use: With add_help=True, Python's argparse automatically creates a help page ...
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Hardware requirements for BSD 4.4 Lite?

I am trying to track down the hardware requirements for BSD 4.4 Lite. I have a custom CPU, and I am currently looking at porting an OS to one as an afterthought. I picked BSD 4.4 because the ...
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1answer
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Why isn't installing with apt/yum to a home directory a mainstream feature?

This is a history related question of a sense, tightly related to the use cases of Linux. Am open to closing it if it's off topic. Why is the default to always use sudo when installing with package ...
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UNIX: ACLs automatically on newly created files/folders inside the directory

Is there any wayout, wherein the parent folder ACLs would automatically be replicated to any folder/files created inside the directory in UNIX. eg. /user/active having below ACL # file: active # ...
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Do Unix Interface Naming Rules Exist? [duplicate]

I realized, that on Unix - systems a lot of weird interface acronyms exist: lo = loopback interface eno = ethernet interface, network interface card ens = ethernet interface, on newer Ubuntu ...
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1answer
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Unix Version 7 'learn' command (CAI) - additional configuration necessary?

I'm going through the 'Unix Programming Environment' classic by Kernighan and Pike. I discovered there was a very interesting command written by Kernighan and someone else called learn for computer ...
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Undump od (octal or hex dump) in Version 6 Unix

od (octal dump) command is implemented in Unix since Version 1. However, I couldn't find a reverse command in the Version 6 Unix manual (1975). Modern ways of reversing od with either xxd or sed do ...
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1answer
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How to understand this TMG's assembly code from the Version 6 Unix?

Early versions of Unix included Doug McIlroy's tool tmg ("transmogrifier"), an early compiler-compiler. TMG was implemented in Dennis Ritchie's assembly language as well as in TMGL itself (the ...
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What checksum algorithm is used by Version 5 Unix?

I can't figure out, what algorithm was used in Unix V5 and V6 for the sum command. At first, I thought that it is a simple sum of bytes modulus 2^16. However for a string "1111111111\n" repeated 320 ...
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What is the most similar distro/flavor to the original UNIX source code? [duplicate]

Just like Ubuntu, Arch, Red Hat etc are just modifications to the original Linux Kernel... macOS (XNU), Solaris etc are some variants of the closed source code of AT&T's UNIX. But what is the ...
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How to make a script command work in both linux & UNIX

As the command NUMBER=$((${NEW_COUNT}-${OLD_COUNT})) in a shell script did work in Linux system but not work in UNIX system, how can I make a new command work the same as the above command in UNIX ...
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I need to take first 4 characters of first line in a file and i need it in a variable

I have a file like sample1.txt ABCDE10998909 10898990XYZ 1898772222YGH 8980000000000sihgj Output: ABCD I need to take first 4 characters of first line in a file and i need it in a variable.
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What's the content of license that AT&T licensed Unix to third-party vendors?

Initially intended for use inside the Bell System, AT&T licensed Unix to outside parties in the late 1970s, leading to a variety of both academic and commercial Unix variants from vendors ...
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History of the saying “Everything is a file”

Upon my journey to master Unix/Linux, I came across this saying and some of its derivaties: Everything is a file. or Everything in Unix is a file. Reflecting upon my humble knowledge of Unix/...
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What were the original reason(s) for adding a “standard error” which is separate from “standard output”?

Unix provides standard output and standard error, which can be redirected independently. $ ls /not-exist ls: cannot access '/not-exist': No such file or directory $ ls /not-exist > redirect.out ...
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Why was `.` chosen to represent the dot command?

I am wondering after seeing this question why the . symbol was chosen to represent the dot command? I am not able to find much about it's origin or who created it and am curious as to why a full stop ...
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Why was the dot (.) used as an alias for source & why don't other commands have shortcuts too? [closed]

EDIT : actually, it is not an alias (see answers) As you all know, in a shell, the dot-command (.) is an alias to the source command. But I wonder if there's a reason behind such a weird alias? ...
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How was Unix installed in the 70's-80's?

Well I've been around computers since the late 80's(I was like 3 actually). Went the whole mile: Atari Xl-XE, MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, 95, etc. Then started using Linux because of the looks(yes I know, ...
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Where can I get the original Unix? [duplicate]

Where can I get the original Unix (from the year 1969)? I would like to look at the source code of the original Unix.
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2answers
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What was the reason for lseek function to return file descriptors as long integer? [closed]

According to the book Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment :- "The character l in the name lseek means ‘‘long integer.’’ Before the introduction of the off_t data type, the offset argument ...
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1answer
751 views

Is UNIX System V's source still available?

I was wondering if the AT&T system V's source code still available.
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1answer
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How did UNIX programs interact with each other, before the invention of the pipe?

I read recently, that the concept of a pipe did not come about before UNIX version 3. But since UNIX was always about simple programs, that do one thing, composed to do more complex things: How did ...
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1answer
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What's special about “!xxx%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s”?

I was linked to The Unix-Haters Handbook and stumbled on (page 149): Subject: Relevant Unix bug October 11, 1991 Fellow W4115x students— While we’re on the subject of activation ...
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Kernighan and Pike challenge: how to put a slash in a filename?

I've just encounter the following question in Unix Programming Environment, the Kernighan and Pike's classic book on Unix (I found the below text on p. 79 of year 1984 edition, ISBN:0-13-937699-2): ...
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What's this I hear about First Edition Unix being restored?

I commented elsewhere that the source code of First Edition Unix had been restored from tapes. The response was amazement and a request for more information. What have people done? Who did it? ...
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Why is the default umask 002 or 022 in many Unix systems? Seems insecure by default [closed]

I have been using Linux & Unix for a long time. The first time I learned Unix is in a computer classroom with many students, where the instructor told us that you can use ssh to log in to remote ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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Behold System V; what about systems I-IV?

System V (by AT&T) is the ancestral Unix, and I have used it. But I have never read or heard anything about systems I-IV, other than they existed once upon a time in the dim past. How effective ...
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1answer
195 views

No stdlib in UNIX v7?

Browsing through the v7 UNIX Sources I noticed there is no "stdlib" directory - further more using a v7 UNIX Emulator, there is no such file as <stdlib.h>. However functions like exit() and ...
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4answers
366 views

How to run Unix?

I always wanted to try Unix but I can't seem to find an ISO file or somewhere to buy it. Is Unix published for the whole wide world to use or is it a special OS only for high-class servers, mainframes ...
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Why did Unix become open source/free?

Why did the original Unix versions suddenly become open source/free? It seems odd that AT&T and Bell Labs would let something like an operating system become moldable and resellable with all of ...
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The SUS v4 would not be able to certify Bell Labs unix v8 because unix has changed right?

How UNIX v8 from Bell Labs might not be able to certify with the Single Unix Specification v4 because UNIX has changed since then (and I would also like to include the IEEE Std 1003.1 and ISO/I.E.C. ...