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
-1
votes
1answer
51 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?
-1
votes
0answers
36 views

What were the limitations of the B language, which paved way for Dennis Ritchie's NB (that subsequently matured into C)?

The KnK book mentions C as a by-product of the UNIX OS. The original version of UNIX written in assembly by Ken Thompson for the DEC PDP-7 paved way for B as there was a need for a higher-level ...
0
votes
0answers
27 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
44 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
394 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
211 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
122 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
2k 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?
1
vote
3answers
390 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".
0
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
63 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
38 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
42 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
484 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
222 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
40 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 ...
0
votes
6answers
395 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.
1
vote
1answer
93 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
195 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/...
2
votes
2answers
146 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
353 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
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? ...
11
votes
5answers
370 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, ...
16
votes
3answers
2k 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.
0
votes
2answers
582 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
957 views

Is UNIX System V's source still available?

I was wondering if the AT&T system V's source code still available.
6
votes
1answer
190 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
493 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
569 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): ...
44
votes
1answer
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? ...
8
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
135 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
236 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
430 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...