Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [history]

The history of Unix systems and their main components. Please DO NOT USE this tag for shell-related questions; use "command-history" instead.

5
votes
0answers
21 views

How was the blinking terminal cursor invented? [migrated]

I was just staring at my blinking terminal cursor: And was wondering where it comes from. Does anybody have some piece of history about the blinking cursor? I couldn't find much online. E.g.: when/...
1
vote
1answer
11 views

Is there a way to get time-stamping of the mirror you update the index from?

As far as a I know, apt only records when either you or it i.e. apt did an apt hook to update the apt database. Is there a way for e.g. to know the time-stamp of the mirror or a way to know when a ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

when did apt or apttitude or apt-get start supporting of last two releases for migration purposes

I was playing with my Debian install today and discovered an interesting thing. If I do for e.g. $ apt-key list /etc/apt/trusted.gpg -------------------- pub rsa4096 2019-04-15 [SC] [expires: 2024-...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Prevent dangerous commands from going into bash history [duplicate]

What's the easiest way to prevent dangerous commands matching a pattern (like rm) from going into the Bash command history? I'd like to keep them away from the history of the current session, not just ...
1
vote
0answers
15 views

How do I enable listing of zsh commands as you type

on one of my machines while setting up zsh I seem to have accidentally enabled a pretty useful feature. when I search through command history it actually lists all the matching commands as I type. How ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Modify bash history from inside subshell in an interactive session

I executed history > before; (history -d $n); history > after where $n is the number corresponding to the last command I typed in the same interactive session before executing this line, The ...
4
votes
0answers
90 views

Why do ext2 inodes only have 12 direct blocks?

I'm currently writing a hobby file-system for fun. I was wondering if anyone knows why or where I could get information on the design philosophy of ext2. Specifically, I was wondering why each inode ...
4
votes
2answers
96 views

When and why did ^ and $ take on their meanings of “beginning of line” and “end of line?”

Many command-line tools (grep, flex, etc.) use the ^ symbol to denote "beginning of line" and the $ symbol to denote "end of line." When did this convention arise? It seems perfectly reasonable to ...
0
votes
2answers
345 views

Counting the occurrences of a command in history

I want to count the number of times a command, let's say man, occurs within the history.
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Are BSD systems evidently more fault tolerant than other family of operating systems? [closed]

I remember reading somewhere, that BSD systems are more fault tolerant than other Unix and Unix-like system families such as System III/V and Linux, but I checked all online FreeBSD books and searched ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Using interactive's shell history expansion inside a script

I have the following Bash script set -o histexpand set -o history pwd lc="!!" which, when I run it in an interactive shell, prints /home/user lc="pwd" I'd like to, instead of getting lc=pwd, get ...
1
vote
1answer
18 views

Search history and get temporal context with specified window size

I often find myself searching in my history by doing something like history | grep searchterm This returns a list of all the times that I used searchterm in a command. However, I would often like to ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

how was the pipe(2) system call working in “traditional” Unix

This is what perldoc -f syscall says: There's a problem with syscall(SYS_pipe()): it returns the file number of the read end of the pipe it creates, but there is no way ...
-1
votes
1answer
48 views

Why did Debian use the typewriter apostrophe (') instead of the closed curve quote (’) [closed]

I have been using Debian for quite a few years. Every now and then, when I write or read something I find it confusing what an author meant by it. I had a look at the wikipedia page, as well as this ...
23
votes
5answers
7k views

How did Linux/xBSD boot before GRUB?

According to Wikipedia, GRUB was released in 1995. By that point Linux and xBSD existed for several years. I know early Unix versions were tied to hardware in the 70s and 80s, but Linux and xBSD were ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

How did Bourne shell solve missing teletype keys problem?

I've learned recently from DigitalRoss's answer that certain teletypes such as ASR-33 lacked certain keys; for instance |. For that purpose in C there exist trigraph operators that can be substituted ...
8
votes
1answer
140 views

Why was POSIX.1e withdrawn?

The proposed POSIX.1e standard defines a few things like ACLs that are widely supported. But the proposal itself was withdrawn. How come? The only reasoning I've found online is this quote from ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

what used to lead /bin being full and creation of /usr/bin?

I am and was reading https://lwn.net/Articles/773342/ where the current move of migrating whole lot of filesystem from /usr/$something to simply /usr . Some of the comments again and again comment on ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

can anybody share the thought process about having coredump in systemd? [closed]

While I have found /var/lib/systemd/coredump/* to be extremely useful when gdb doesn't give the right answers, I have not been able to figure out the rationale behind it and what existed before it, in ...
1
vote
2answers
199 views

What is the history behind the name of the xdev option in find?

I find the name of the xdev option counterintuitive. For me it seems like the abbreviation of 'cross device (search)'. However it does the opposite, it restricts the search to a single file system. ...
29
votes
6answers
7k views

Why was `cp` designed to silently overwrite existing files? [closed]

I tested cp with the following commands: $ ls first.html second.html third.html $ cat first.html first $ cat second.html second $ cat third.html third Then I copy first.html to second.html: $ ...
0
votes
0answers
214 views

What does 'GFX' mean in GRUB's 'gfxterm', 'GRUB_GFXMODE', 'GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX' names?

I know, why xterm named this way: xterm is the standard terminal emulator for the X Window System, so X + Terminal = xterm. Is there similar logic in the gfxterm name, the GRUB's graphical terminal? ...
1
vote
1answer
238 views

Delete specific command history and current “command” history that just recently typed

How to delete a specific command history and when you enter that "command" that will delete the specific command? For example, here is my history: 1 ls -l 2 cat > foo.txt 3 ifconfig 4 echo "Hello"...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

How did run-parts get its name?

I understand what run-parts does but I would like to know why the program is called run-parts. I've never heard someone call an executable in a directory a part. Why did the author name it run-parts ...
112
votes
6answers
21k views

If Linux is only a kernel, then how were its first versions used (without distribution)?

Linux is only a kernel, and if users want to use it, then they need a complete distribution. That being said, how were the first versions of Linux used when there were no Linux distributions?
8
votes
2answers
239 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
87 views

Why has there been so little innovation with autoconf configure scripts in the Unix and Linux ecosystem? [closed]

A great deal of time is lost at the time of ./configure; especially when dependencies are missing and the subsequent calling thereof. I've read many topics on this subject citing that caching the ...
1
vote
1answer
533 views

What is the etymology of $PS1? [closed]

What do the letters PS stand for in $PS1? Is it actually "Prompt String"? Where did $PS1 first appear?
35
votes
3answers
5k views

How do pipelines limit memory usage?

Brian Kernighan explains in this video the early Bell Labs attraction to small languages/programs being based on memory limitations A big machine would be 64 k-bytes--K, not M or G--and so that ...
5
votes
1answer
175 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

When was the environment variable PS1 created?

I've always seen reference to pwd as being very essential 'back in the day'. These days we have customized command prompts like PS1 that display the current directory and pwd is pretty outmoded. But ...
13
votes
1answer
760 views

When were background processes invented?

Looking for both a date and authoritative reference. Expected answer sometime in the 1960's. This information is essential for writing an impactful feature request.
0
votes
1answer
68 views

When was command line parsing first introduced to shell?

Per a discussion in Chat, when was command line parsing (using positional parameters) first introduced to the Unix shell? And also, was the naming of $1, $2 etc. in any way borrowed from C (for ...
6
votes
2answers
133 views

What, if any, naming convention was used for the standard Unix commands?

I was trying to find the naming convention for Linux commands. For commands like cp, rm, mv, etc it seems to be based on first and second last character like move is mv list is ls copy is cp change ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

Why does usermod default to overwriting secondary groups?

As anyone who has used usermod to add a user to a group knows, invariably a mistake will be made (probably once in a career and not again) in which -a is forgotten and the secondary groups are ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

When (and from which places) does the `-h` (help) command-line option come from? [closed]

Historically, which places (and when) does the -h command-line option come from? I’m speaking of the meaning matching the one of --help not --human-readable. Some command use the later (such as du or ...
6
votes
3answers
279 views

What does the plus, “+”, in GTK+ mean and what is its history?

What does the "+" in GTK+ mean and what is its history? I read through https://www.gtk.org/overview.php but did not see mention of the "+" origin or meaning.
1
vote
2answers
589 views

Why no such non-interactive version of bashrc?

From what I understanding, a daemon is a background process, but daemon requires unique config file to set the environment variable. E.g. Hadoop daemon require hadoop-env.sh to set environment ...
0
votes
2answers
165 views

Trying to understand the historical TTY

I am trying to understand Linux' terminal subsystem, especially the tty drivers and line discipline. Apparently, the architecture of this subsystem stems from a time where teletypewriters (ttys) were ...
61
votes
3answers
10k views

Why is Unix 'self-supporting'?

I was reading Ritchie and Thompson's paper about the Unix file system. They write, 'It is worth noting that the system is totally self-supporting'. Were the systems before Unix not self-supporting? In ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

What is the meaning behind FreeBSD bootloader ASCII art daemon letters?

FreeBSD bootloader includes an ASCII art daemon. Is there any meaning behind the letters "s, y, o", or is just a random choice?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Original Unix Box Number of Commands

When looking at Unix, I always find the number of terminal commands to be a little overwhelming. TinyCoreLinux, by example my favorite distribution, has over 300 commands. I can't tell how necessary ...
3
votes
2answers
476 views

Why did the system call registers and order change from Intel 32bit to 64bit?

I was working on memorizing the order of the Linux system calls so I could more easily identify this. And, then I found this paper here, and it says, To make a system call in 32-bit Linux, place ...
-1
votes
2answers
338 views

Has /bin/sh always been a symbolic link?

In Ubuntu, /bin/sh is a symbolic link that points to /bin/dash. Has there been a Unix or Unix-like operating system where /bin/sh was an actual shell and not a symbolic link that points to a shell?
86
votes
4answers
16k views

Why does Linux use LF as the newline character?

As far as I know, every operating system has a different way to mark the end of line (EOL) character. Commercial operating systems use carriage return for EOL (carriage return and line feed on Windows,...
25
votes
1answer
2k views

Since when do the POSIX and GNU rm not delete /?

For several years now, the GNU rm utility won't delete / unless it is called with the --no-preserve-root option. However, the command rm -rf / has been lodged in the collective subconscious as ...
-1
votes
1answer
63 views

write shell script similar history in console [closed]

I try to write a simple script and store all my favor commands such as grep, find, sed. when I use history command in shell, I can show all the historical commands with (history) I can reuse the the ...
0
votes
1answer
177 views

Origin of tee's name

Does anybody know where the tee command-line utility got it's name, I can't seem to find anything.
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did wireless tools version 30 become a permanent beta?

I found some good information about wireless tools in this Q/A. Apparently it was introduced to the Linux kernel in 1997 by Jean Tourrhiles sponsored by Hewlett Packard. Edit: It seems WE(Wireless ...
0
votes
1answer
186 views

RHEL /usr/local v.s. /usr on NFS - mount/unmount order?

At least historically, Red Hat wrote In Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the intended use for the /usr/local/ directory is slightly different from that specified by the FHS. The FHS says that /usr/local/ ...