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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
-6 votes
1 answer
63 views

Is there an example for a shell or computing accessibility culture aspiring a shell with more special characters and if so what is it? [closed]

I was always a bit frustrated from the lack of characters in modern computer systems such as, from what I know: A global template literal character for which the closest character today is a backtick ...
user avatar
  • 115
1 vote
0 answers
23 views

Were there any programs besides editors that relied on on the O_NDELAY file status flag (predecessor to O_NONBLOCK)

Recently, I've been researching on the O_NONBLOCK feature specified in the standard. From what I've seen so far, the predecessor of this flag - O_NDELAY had existed all the way back to UNIX System III....
user avatar
  • 429
0 votes
1 answer
37 views

How to add user in Unix System 7?

I have created a Unix System 7 VM in VirtualBox following instructions by Robert Nordier. I have dropped to the single user prompt (#). I can run commands like ls and passwd and cat. However, useradd ...
user avatar
  • 111
1 vote
2 answers
128 views

I thought Linux is POSIX-compliant, yet some POSIX commands are not found [closed]

I wanted to write a small shell script for Linux and other UNIX systems (probably OSX). And also, why not keep things platform-independent out of principle, right? So I went with a #!/bin/sh shebang ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
72 views

Does UNOS still exist?

UNOS is a derivative of UNIX by Charles River Information Systems. Google and Wikipedia doesn't have much information on it. Is there any version of it still in use?
user avatar
  • 121
41 votes
3 answers
8k views

Who owns the UNIX trademark?

I am currently enrolled in a course that is teaching me UNIX fundamentals, such as common commands and such. After doing some digging on UNIX, I came across the rabbit hole of legal battles over who ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
63 views

Why does ed start at the last line?

Why does ed start at the last instead of first line of a file? Most of ed's behavior makes sense when you remember that it was for interacting with a printer, but not this. Since I believe it reads ...
user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
545 views

why are the definition of true and false in stdbool.h the exact opposite from the UNIX programs true and false?

stdbool.h is usually defined as: #define false 0 #define true 1 (Sources: OpenBSD, musl, etc.) whereas the unix program false - which just has a unsuccessful status code, is defined as: int main(...
user avatar
  • 712
5 votes
1 answer
509 views

What format does syslog() use when writing to /dev/log?

I initially thought to post this to StackOverflow because my interest was primarily from a programming focus, but after reading about the history tag (and the question it linked to), I posted it to ...
user avatar
  • 889
0 votes
1 answer
79 views

How can I try old UNIX versions? [duplicate]

I want to try old versions of UNIX for fun, but I don't know where to get them. Is there a way to download them?
user avatar
  • 11
-1 votes
1 answer
171 views

What does Rob Pike consider 'system research' in his essay?

I'm not sure what does Rob Pike consider 'system research' in his essay (that can be found here). Is he referring to operating systems? What's a system to him?
user avatar
  • 129
0 votes
0 answers
89 views

plan 9 fonts on linux console

I am wondering how I can convert plan 9 fonts for use with the linux console, there is very little info on the topic. All i can find is vga medium having been ported to true type, but it doesnt look ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
164 views

What ever became of the "prep" program? And what can I use instead on modern Linux systems?

Long ago, in Seventh Edition UNIX (a/k/a V7), there was a program called prep. Its primary use was to take files of text, and break them up into one word per line, for further processing by other ...
user avatar
  • 1,046
2 votes
1 answer
96 views

Proprietary files during the Unix wars

While reading some papers on the history and evolution of Unix, I keep falling on this text in some way or another even here about some files that were proprietary of AT&T and present in BSD ...
user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why a caret (^) and dollar sign ($) were chosen for beginning/end of line in regex? [duplicate]

To clarify, this isn't a question about what a caret (^) or a dollar sign ($) does in a regular expression. In modern keyboards with QWERTY layout, ^ comes after $ (i.e., ^ appears above the number 6 ...
user avatar
  • 326
3 votes
4 answers
476 views

How did BSD rewrite AT&T Unix code?

From Unix War BSD purged copyrighted AT&T code from 1989 to 1994. If both BSD and System V were POSIX compliant, I don't understand what it means to "purge copyrighted code". Both systems ...
user avatar
  • 315
2 votes
1 answer
704 views

Why are names for Super, Meta and Hyper keys still in use?

As far as I know these keys could be found on some keyboards that are extinct nowadays. I have to confess to have never seen any other keyboards in real life (save computer museums here) but standard ...
user avatar
  • 61
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

So what was the "u area" in UNIX?

The subject of the u area in UNIX came up in a comment. So what was it?
user avatar
  • 62k
1 vote
3 answers
482 views

What does the letter 'u' mean in umask?

Is it "user mask" or something? Wikipedia does not have details, but says the feature has been in Unix since 1978. POSIX just says it is the "file mode creation mask".
user avatar
  • 749
0 votes
2 answers
102 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,914
3 votes
1 answer
127 views

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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
43 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 988
2 votes
1 answer
82 views

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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
317 views

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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
403 views

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 ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
208 views

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 ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
47 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 97
0 votes
6 answers
1k views

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.
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
174 views

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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
292 views

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/...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
187 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 44.3k
8 votes
2 answers
455 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 32.6k
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

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? ...
user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
559 views

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, ...
user avatar
  • 213
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

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.
user avatar
  • 347
0 votes
2 answers
762 views

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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is UNIX System V's source still available?

I was wondering if the AT&T system V's source code still available.
user avatar
  • 845
6 votes
1 answer
217 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 5,217
5 votes
1 answer
582 views

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 ...
user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
2k views

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): ...
user avatar
44 votes
1 answer
4k views

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? ...
user avatar
  • 62k
9 votes
1 answer
8k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 199
5 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 26.3k
2 votes
2 answers
168 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 601
4 votes
1 answer
294 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 ...
user avatar
  • 137
1 vote
4 answers
596 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,678