Yet another Unix/History Web page
I've been a Unix user starting at the Cooper Union in 1978.
Thanks to Bob Hopkins, the
Cooper Union Computer Center
was an early adopter by running Unix version 6 on a DEC PDP11/45
hard wired to several
and Olivetti teleprinters.
Many Cooper alumni are active with
Unigroup: NYC's oldest Unix User group.
We remember The Unix Wars.
It wasn't just BSD vs. AT&T, it was AT&T, Sun & friends (the Archer Group, later known as Unix International)
vs. IBM, DEC, HP et al. (the Hamilton Group, later known as OSF: Open Software Foundation).
Here's a good article from October 1988
recalling the fighting and posturing:
18 AT&T supporters - now known as the Archer Group - made a public commitment
to pure Unix System V.4. The 18 members - Amdahl Corp, Control Data Corp,
Fujitsu Ltd, Gould Computer Systems Inc, ICL Ltd, Intel Corp, Motorola Corp,
NCR Corp, Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA, Prime Computer Inc, Sun Microsystems Inc,
Toshiba Corp and Unisys Corp on the hardware side,
joined by software companies Human Computer Resources Ltd, Informix Software Inc,
Lachman Associates Inc, Micro Focus Plc and Unisoft Corp -
claim to account for around 75% of the Unix systems so far sold.
And although AT&T itself is not strictly speaking a member
of what is effectively the AT&T Unix fan club,
it is re-enforcing the move by conceding some of the main points of contention
that led to the original dissatisfaction of the Hamilton Group
and directly on to the formation of the Open Software Foundation in the first place.
I consulted to AT&T IS (information systems) in the late 80s,
culminating with assignments at the AT&T Summit Facility
- Performed Unix Certification on several platforms such as Zilog System 8000.
"Unix Certification" was the process where AT&T tested
a manufacturer's port of Unix on their hardware to confirm compliance with AT&T standards
to be "blessed" as Unix. It involved manually inspecting the source code
and running URTS: the Unix Regression Test Suite which compared the target system
to the Unix porting base (a VAX 11/780 at that time).
It was replaced by SVVS and the 3b2/400 as the porting base for SVR4.
- SVVS developer: the System V Verification Suite
The SVVS test suite not only automated the Unix verification process
("is your system REALLY Unix compliant?")
but was an important part of the Unix Wars. Since the SVID (System V Interface Definition)
was a published standard as confirmed by the SVVS automated test suite,
it was possible to develop
an operating system that conformed to the Unix system standards for interfaces & commands
that was totally free of any AT&T source code or licensed products.
Any system passing the SVVS tests received AT&T's "blessing" to call itself Unix.
A court ruled that such steps ment that Unix was an "open standard"
and as such, any contract specifying a Unix system was NOT automatically favoring AT&T.
This was an important step to today's open systems such as POSIX.
- developed the file system utilities for SVR4.0: System V release 4,
where AT&T & Sun collaborated and traded many technologies for a unified Unix system.
- learned the AT&T 3b2 computer inside and out
These 9 slides dated 15-Jan-1987 by RAF (Roger Faulkner)
are from his AT&T Summit Facility donut talk of truss(1),
the first debugger to use the shiny-new /proc(4) facility
(now taken for granted in Linux systems).
It was much more powerful than these slides describe.
Mike Scheer extended RFS (remote file system) to support debugging
of remote machines directly over the network without any
additional daemons or remote processes.
Had I been an early adopter, I would've gotten a certificate of /proc-tology
from RAF himself!
I think I used to have lunch with him at the cafeteria.
The language group was the only table with laughter and fun conversations.
Most days, someone saw a new movie and shared a review.
It was a fun group to hang around.
Here's A brief history of /proc
from Sun's perspective, by Eric Schrock.
The Pun's On You
The Unix name was a simplification of Multics, on which Unix was based.
Many Unix-like operating systems made fun of Unix, such as
(that's Unix TM backwars),
and Douglas Comer's
Xinu (Xinu Is Not Unix).
*nix is the regular-expression to represent Unix and Unix-like systems.