Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Saving Unix Heritage, One Kernel At a Time

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-algorithm-was-part-of-the-one-true-cross dept.

Unix 169

coondoggie writes "In this, its 40th year of operating system life, some Unix stalwarts are trying to resurrect its past. That is, they are taking on the unenviable and difficult job of restoring to their former glory old Unix software artifacts such as early Unix kernels, compilers and other important historical source code pieces. In a paper to be presented at next week's Usenix show, Warren Toomey of the Bond School of IT is expected to detail restoration work being done on four key Unix software artifacts all from the early 1970s — Nsys, 1st edition Unix kernel, 1st and 2nd edition binaries and early C compilers. In his paper, Toomey states that while the history of Unix has been well-documented, there was a time when the actual artifacts of early Unix development were in danger of being lost forever."

cancel ×

169 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why? (1, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297589)

Is there really any useful purpose to be served by dredging this up? Don't these guys have anything better to do?

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28297637)

If you can study the path something has taken, you can understand where it's going.

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

rcamans (252182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297677)

Only if you know it is going in a straight line.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297821)

Not true - for example, if shown the first 3 cycles of a sinusoidal wave, I'm sure you could predict the next cycle. There are lots of non-linear numeric sequences that allow for relatively accurate predictions.

Obviously, history is more complicated, but idea is the same.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297887)

I studied this and found that June 4th, 2014 will be the start of the year of the Linux Desktop.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28299497)

You mean like Windows? 98, ME, XP, Vista, etc...

Re:Why? (1)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297865)

You don't need a straight line to find its logic.

Re:Why? (0, Flamebait)

killmofasta (460565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298007)

Fork off!

Re:Why? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297867)

Principles, ie: the Unix Philosophy, is more important that where it's been and trying to predict where its going.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

killmofasta (460565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297931)

Overgeneralization.

Old source code gives us ideas, like looking at the design philosophy behind the code, and the ultimate operation of the software. These are actually *priceless* artifacts, and since they are mostly digital ( reserive the right for first pun... they are 'Digital' ), the study and the disemination of the early code is of extrodinary value to coders and software architects.

Of course its also invaluable to have their nemisises Multics and VMS alos preserved. I personally got an enourmous amount of respect for K&R reading the source code for the kernel (the V4), and the proto compiler. K&R, and the linux/GNU write well, wereas their MS counterparts wirte pretty crappy stuff.  I would also venture to guess that the code alone can serve as an example of how to write code.

I will look forward to taking a detailed 'History of the UNIX Kernel' class in the near future.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SLASHCODE?!?! (2, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299427)

OK seriously, the above post is pretty screwed up in Firefox. I've got floating tab bars or something all over the post as well as throughout the thread and the tt font is coming out at 16 point or in some very large font.

These css screw ups have been happening a lot lately. Then again I am using the older (and better) comment system.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299973)

Old source code gives us ideas,

Like "WTF did they do here?!", "Why did they do it THAT way?!" and "That has got to be the ugliest kludge I've ever seen!"

Of course its also invaluable to have their nemisises Multics and VMS alos preserved.

Multics was hardly a 'nemesis' of Unix. Multics was basically dead when Unix arrived; its death inspired Ken Thompson and company to work on Unix.

Re:Why? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28300063)

K&R, and the linux/GNU write well, wereas their MS counterparts wirte pretty crappy stuff. I would also venture to guess that the code alone can serve as an example of how to write code.

You're kidding, right? We're talking about the kernel that doesn't bother with unit tests or actual release cycles, and which thinks that "our users find our bugs" is a good replacement for a QA process?

Look, I like Linux and use it a lot, but to say that they "write well" and Microsoft "write pretty crappy stuff" is reveal a limited exposure to professional software development.

BTW I disagree there's much to be learned from looking at old codebases. It's like saying modern engineers can learn something from examining rusty old steam engines. Sure, it's useful to know where it came from, but that can be covered quite well by a book, you don't need to spend time actually reading the old code. Because nearly without question the worst code I see in operating systems is always the oldest.

Re:Why? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298235)

At some point in the past, evolutions has taken the path that lead to the Dodo. Could you have understood where that evolutionary path was going, given that initial mutation?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298467)

If you can study the path something has taken, you can understand where it's going.

You're forgetting that on Slashdot, a large portion of the userbase questions the value of brick and mortar libraries. As though information older than 30 years is no longer relevant. Damn kids, always thinking they can re-do things better.

Re:Why? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299521)

The wheel does need to be reinvented from time to time. Otherwise it just gets too square.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297645)

Unix really was one of the few programs to determine the fate of an entire industry. Every modern OS can trace back to Unix in some way or form. Keeping the history of Unix especially the early releases and plans can help better document the historical software.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28297681)

VMS? Windows? ReactOS? Plan9? QNX? Tron? zOS?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297815)

Tron?

He fights for the users.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298493)

Tron is the most used OS in the world.

It was invented in Japan and is an embedded device OS.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297841)

Every modern OS can trace back to Unix in some way or form.

VMS? Windows? ReactOS? Plan9? QNX? Tron? zOS?

I wouldn't call VMS modern...
Windows: take a look in c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\ some time. See any Unix style influences?
The others I have no clue about.

Re:Why? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298291)

Are those Unix influences, or influences from an OS predating Unix? i.e. the same source that caused Unix to adopt that style? You make it sound like there was nothing before Unix.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298325)

Are those Unix influences, or influences from an OS predating Unix? i.e. the same source that caused Unix to adopt that style? You make it sound like there was nothing before Unix.

Almost nothing. Unix was created on The Second Day.

Re:Why? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298647)

I doubt Microsoft would be taking notes from Multics for Windows NT.

Re:Why? (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298967)

Unix influences. Notice that they're networking related; Windows used BSD's TCP/IP stack for a long time

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28297925)

Nobody should be using any of those ones though.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298019)

I don't know that much about VMS, but according to the Wikipedia page it uses Unix-y things such as X11, but its more separate than Unix being that it is little-used and totally proprietary to HP. Windows NT's kernel design was inspired by Unix, and it used (uses?) the BSD networking stack for TC/IP. If you look at NT you will notice a lot of similarities in the NT design that were first introduced in Unix. ReactOS uses a lot of source code from Unix programs in order to replicate the Windows functionality such as WINE. And are you kidding me about Plan9? That was inspired in the extreme by Unix and was meant to fix the flaws Unix had, if there was no Unix there would be no Plan 9. On the Wikipedia page for QNX at the top are

QNX (pronounced /kju n ks/ or /kju nks/) is a commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market

I would call that Unix. I can't find much info on TRON but it seems to be a not very modern OS in terms of design. zOS works on one processor architecture that is proprietary to IBM to run on mainframes, as such it isn't exactly a general use OS and you could probably find some Unix in it if you looked hard enough.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298417)

VMS came after Unix so calling it a not very modern OS is kind of odd. X-Windows was never supposed to be Unix specific in fact there was even a version for DeskView way back when.
WindowsNT really owes more to VMS than Unix the chief architect came from Digital. Tron also came after Unix as well. zOS is still an extremely important OS so just because it only runs on one CPU I wouldn't just thow it away as well. As to finding some Unix in zOS frankly you would probably find more zOS in modern Unix than the other way around. IBM really did pretty much invent everything that Bell Labs did not and they where their first.
I really am not fond of the the write up about QNX. It is Unix like in someways and shares an API with it. but QNX is a micro kernel RTOS.
And lets be very honest. Unix came from Multics. Every OS has built on and taken ideas from other OS's. None of them is the pure root source.
I am a big Linux fan but I often wonder if we are too willing to keep Unix as our foundation. BeOS was a clean new OS and while I have never used it wonder if it may not be better than Linux and WindowsNT. It did some amazing things back in the day.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298753)

zOS is still an extremely important OS so just because it only runs on one CPU I wouldn't just thow it away as well. As to finding some Unix in zOS frankly you would probably find more zOS in modern Unix than the other way around. IBM really did pretty much invent everything that Bell Labs did not and they where their first.

Nope. There's a lot more Unix in Z/OS than the other way around. In fact all of Unix is in Z/OS--IBM will tell you that Z/OS is a Unix.
See Z/OS Unix System Services
http://www-03.ibm.com/servers/eserver/zseries/zos/unix/

Re:Why? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298909)

Z/OS runs Unix as a service.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

VAXcat (674775) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298725)

Are you for real? Windows NT's kernel was practicaly a copy of VMS, it wasn't "inspired by UNIX". VMS was based on RSX. RSX came to be at approximately the same time as UNIX, circa 1970. RSX and VMS were influenced by UNIX allright, in a negative way - if UNIX did something, RSX and VMS definitely wanted to do it some other way.

Re:Why? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299353)

Windows NT never used the BSD networking stack [kuro5hin.org] . Microsoft originally purchased a stack from Spider Systems, and their userland tools were ports of the BSD versions, so the regents copyright notices were included. In NT 3.5, Microsoft replaced the Spider stack with their own, but the userland tools weren't updated because there was no need.

Re:Why? (1)

artlogic (819675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298039)

Plan9 is a reaction to some of the problems in Unix and still includes a lot of common ideas.

Re:Why? (0)

killmofasta (460565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298087)

VMS => Yes, and Multics too. ( Your forkin A right )

Windows => "Worthless coagulated clot of speghetti." That would be a no.
Windows should not be 'preserved' it should be "Castrated so it doesnt pass on its genes to future generations" -Hunter S Tompson

ReactOS => Mabye.

Plan9 => YES!

ONX => Possible.

Tron. => Insert Quarter for next game

zOS = Which one? Zos ZOS or zOS? This one is a little forkin crazy.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298127)

VMS was, if anything, a contemporary to early UNIX. It's not modernly used to a significant degree, but if UNIX was around at the time of the VMS creation, certainly something from UNIX made its way into VMS.

Windows has a lot of the VMS design principles, at least in theory. But it also has a number of command line tools for network connectivity (nslookup, ping, etc.) which originate with UNIX. And of course, there's the DOS legacy of Windows, which in all likelihood took concepts from UNIX.

Plan9 and QNX are, I seem to recall, essentially UNIX derivatives. No idea about the others.

Re:Why? (1)

qortra (591818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298207)

  • Windows - As another poster mentioned, there have been significant amounts of BSD-Unix networking code in Windows over the years.
  • QNX - A "Unix-Like" OS.
  • Reactos - The userland is primarily based on Wine, a Windows compatibility layer for Unix-Like OSes.
  • Plan9 - "Unix-Like". The planned success to Unix, and developed by Bell.
  • zOS,VMS - These do appear to not be Unixy.
  • TRON - I look for good information in vain. The Wikipedia article on it was deeply suspect, and the outside references looked like they were made by high-schoolers in 1997. Perhaps you would be kind enough to [anonymously] provide some?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298461)

You're seriously asking what Unix heritage Plan9 has?

Re:Why? (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299121)

VMS? Windows? ReactOS?

Just look at the way they use sockets. Internet is a Unix feature.

Plan9?

It was created to fix Unix, so obviously it has a LOT of unix heritage.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28299503)

VMS?

Not modern, as a previous poster said.

Windows?

I'd say it at least takes something from UNIX, the BSD TCP/IP stack. Probably other things that aren't as widely noted.

ReactOS?

By virtue of the above.

Plan9?

Plan 9 is actually considered the successor to unix by a good four or five people. It takes some operating system concepts like "everything is a file" as well as I believe the directory hierarchy, for instance. It takes the file thing even further, I'm told, though I don't have specific examples.

QNX?

Influenced by UNIX on account of being UNIX.

Tron? zOS?

Now, there, you've stumped me.

Re:Why? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297657)

Only if you care about history and the future. If you only care about the present, like a greedy selfish bastard, then no.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297749)

Those that don't learn UNIX are doomed to reinvent it. Poorly.

Re:Why? (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297805)

(Cough) Microsoft (Cough)

Careful... (4, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297987)

Those that don't learn UNIX are doomed to reinvent it. Poorly.

One may interpret that saying as someone trying to incite a Linux / BSD war. We lost good men from both sides the last time that happened...

Re:Why? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298107)

As opposed to inventing it poorly the first time?

(Ignore me, I'm just your neighborhood young crotchety old man who hates all of at least the mainstream OSes with equal passion, though for different reasons each.)

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298559)

This is an asinine quote that assumes all future Operating Systems should try and be Unix. I completely disagree. New ideas should be just that, new.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28299777)

First, I believe the quote actually "Those who don't understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly."

Second, as much as I like Unix (been using Linux since 95, running BSD and MacOSX as well, Windows free since '04), I absolutely hate this statement to the effect that somehow OS architecture reached perfection in the 70s.

So maybe attempts since then have not been as good, or not better enough, or whatever. Fine. But to say that it's now as good as it's going to get is a load of cr*p.

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297789)

Maybe they're looking for the stolen SCO code in Linux?

Re:Why? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297803)

That's a good point. I agree, they should be doing something useful like trying to get first post on slashdot.

Re:Why? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297825)

So we can tell today's young'ns what *real* programming was like. Back in my day we didn't have this new-fangled Internet, we had to walk to the terminal room. Uphill, in the snow, both ways...

History is history (2, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297943)

Is there really any useful purpose to decoding Sumerian clay tablets, or analysing dockyard records from the 18th Century? One of the things that differentiates civilised human beings from all other living things on this planet is that we study history and preserve things from the past. Perhaps it just doesn't need justification, it is part of what we are.

I love the smell of analogies in the morning! (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298359)

Is there really any useful purpose to decoding Sumerian clay tablets, or analysing dockyard records from the 18th Century? One of the things that differentiates civilised human beings from all other living things on this planet is that we study history and preserve things from the past. Perhaps it just doesn't need justification, it is part of what we are.

Or to restoring old cars...

Re:History is history (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298405)

And, fitting onto a single DVD, these systems are much cheaper for museums to show to the kids than Sumerian clay tablets.

Re:Why? Why not? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298547)

Is there really any useful purpose to be served by dredging this up? Don't these guys have anything better to do?

I say, "Why not?" It's interesting. That's enough.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

jdbausch (1419981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298697)

Is there really any useful purpose to be served by dredging this up? Don't these guys have anything better to do?

yeah! FUCK HISTORY!

Re:Why? (1)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299333)

Yeah, totally. We should like burn the Wright Flyer and close the Smithsonian too. They're like boring and old and stuff. Then we can go get some Brawndo.

You really are a tarded aren't you? Thought about being a pilot?

I do the same thing with used condoms (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28297609)

to each his own.

Re:I do the same thing with used condoms (1)

hmar (1203398) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298569)

Too bad, being a /. troll and all, you keep needing to borrow them.

Re:I do the same thing with used condoms (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299465)

Being a /. troll and all, I doubt he has ever needed one, or ever will.

Re:I do the same thing with used condoms (1)

hmar (1203398) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299533)

Being a /. troll and all, I doubt he has ever needed one, or ever will.

which was my point. too subtle?

Re:I do the same thing with used condoms (2, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299941)

Sadly, my not getting the joke rarely has anything to do with the quality of the joke itself.

Usenix attendees..... (4, Funny)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297635)

In a paper to be presented at next week's Usenix show, Warren Toomey of the Bond School of IT is expected to detail restoration work being done on four key Unix software artifacts all from the early 1970s

Afterwards atendees will be ushered to the dining hall for a fine serving of raisins, prune juice, and Oxygen treatments.
St. John's ambulance will also be on site to assist with attendees suffering with various age related ailments such as broken hips and arthritis.

Re:Usenix attendees..... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298455)

Here's a nickel kid, go buy yourself a real computer.

Re:Usenix attendees..... (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298881)

I have a special gizmo on my Go Go Elite Traveler PLUS to hold my EeePC!
And a bag for my depends..

Worth saving.. (1, Interesting)

nmrtian (984245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297795)

Not to diminish Unix's importance, it is a link in the chain -- but what a link it is! When MS is bankrupt, Windoze won't fit onto a DVD and no affordable hardware will be able to run it, Unix will be here. I run FreeBSD on my desktop and still enjoy firing up my AT&T 6300+ and playing with SVR2. Amazingly, the two computers, separated by more than 20 years, interact very nicely through a RS232 connection.

Re:Worth saving.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298877)

You forgot Apple and its tragic inability to deliver a UNIX® that can multi-task in all situations you insensitive Clod!

Worse is better (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28297869)

Despite what many a slashdot crowd might think, UNIX isn't exactly an elixir from the Gods. UNIX, Microsoft Windows and Intel x86 are living proofs that the best / most innovative technology doesn't necessarily have to win. Check Out: http://www.dreamsongs.com/WorseIsBetter.html.

Re:Worse is better (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298589)

The fact that MS-DOS outsold the Amiga and Atari ST is proof that best doesn't always win. The x86 is a great example as well. The 68k chip was a much better CPU than the 8088,8086, and even the 80286. Only when the 386 hit the market did Intel really have a CPU that wasn't a freaking nightmare.
Another example is PHP. Good grief $A[1]==$A['1'], that is just wrong.
PHP, Windows, x86, and so much of what we live with are all examples of good enough. Not great but good enough.

Re:Worse is better (2, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299601)

The fact that MS-DOS outsold the Amiga and Atari ST is proof that best doesn't always win. The x86 is a great example as well. The 68k chip was a much better CPU than the 8088,8086, and even the 80286.

The 68000 didn't have a built-in MMU. You could run an OS with process isolation (a requirement for a safe multi-user OS) on the 80286. You could not do that with a 68000 (unless you added a separate MMU; the 68881 maybe?).

Re:Worse is better (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299811)

Another example is PHP. Good grief $A[1]==$A['1'], that is just wrong.

So why is that such a bad thing? Granted you can make the "unclean, unclean, UNCLEAN!" argument, but why is that the worst of php's atrocities?

Worse loses at the end (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299513)

I wonder if you are fooled by lack of Desktop popularity of Linux since I see UNIX, by exact meaning along with certificates is approaching 10% desktop share now and basically sets the destination on mobile scene. That is OS X for you. Should Apple do the most interesting thing ever and gather Unix 03 certificate for a mobile device too?

If we look to matter as *NIX, MS is actually struggling to reach top spot spending billions of dollars to overtake Linux and FreeBSD _dominance_ on server scene. Enterprise? UNIX simply owns it. No matter their web 2.0 abuser army says or their sell off trojans in FOSS claims, UNIX runs the enterprise for 40 years and counting.

Which "Unix" are they talking about? (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297897)

I thought Unix has lots of so called "flavors" [about.com] so which one are they talking about?

In fact, the little piece I link to has this introduction:

Unix is not a single operating system. It has many flavors (aka. variants, types, or implementations). Although based on a core set of Unix commands, different flavors have their own unique commands and features, and designed to work with different types of hardware. No one knows exactly how many Unix flavors are there, but it is safe to say that if including all those that are obscure and obsolete, the number of Unix flavors is at least in the hundreds. You can often tell that an operating system is in the Unix family if it has a name that is a combination of the letters U, I, and X.

So what exactly are these folks talking about?

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298011)

RTFA or even the summary per chance?

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28298131)

Almost all of those flavors come from one version of unix written in the early 70s. That's the one they're trying to find out about. Linux is an exception in that it did not "evolve" from that early Unix or it's descendants. It was written to function like "Minix" another unix-like OS which surprisingly, is also not descended from the Unix line. Even operating systems like modern Windows borrow heavily from concepts and ideas in Unix.

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298459)

Original flavor. All the stuff talked about in this article comes from before UNIX split into its hundreds of variants. In fact, these are so early that they come from before UNIX escaped out of Bell Labs. UNIX didn't start splitting into different flavors until about Versions 4 and 5.

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298463)

You can often tell that an operating system is in the Unix family if it has a name that is a combination of the letters U, I, and X.

That's a little unfair to the users of BSD based operating systems like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Mac OSX and other variants.

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298871)

You can often tell that an operating system is in the Unix family if it has a name that is a combination of the letters U, I, and X.

That's a little unfair to the users of BSD based operating systems like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Mac OSX and other variants.

MacOSX has an X. "B" is just two small sideways U's and an I. "D" is a wide sideways U and an I

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (1)

Akir (878284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299617)

You are confused sir. 'D' is a slice of watermelon.

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28300039)

I always thought melons were '%'

Re:Which "Unix" are they talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28299657)

Let's say they're talking about "vanilla."

What, no documentation? (2, Funny)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28297969)

From TFA: "documentation is missing or incomplete, source code is missing leaving only the binary executables, or conversely the source exists but the compilation tools to reconstruct the executables are missing."

Sounds like any number of projects I've had the pleasure of working on over the years.

SIMH (5, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298013)

SIMH [trailing-edge.com] is a hardware emulator for a lot of the machines Unix ran on (PDP-8, PDP-11, etc.). They also have some original Unix versions [trailing-edge.com] along with some other software for the other hardware they support.

I have run Unix V5 on a SIMH-based PDP-11, and it worked well, though it was strange to realize how fast it was running, in emulation, on a machine 1/16 its original size (Mac laptop).

Re:SIMH (1)

dburkland (1526971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298497)

That's pretty sweet, I'm gonna give this a try to night. Thanks for the link!

Re:SIMH (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298687)

I just set up a SIMH VAX machine last night running 4.3BSD-quasijarus, which is one purist's project to continue maintaining "pure" BSD Unix.

The project: http://ifctfvax.harhan.org/Quasijarus/ [harhan.org]
How to get a SIMH VM set up: http://www.retrocomputinggeek.com/retrowiki/Install4.3BSDQuasijarus/ [retrocomputinggeek.com]

Re:SIMH (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299155)

Ummm...

Unix never ran on a PDP-8, as far as I know.

For DEC systems, it ran on PDP-7, PDP-11, VAX, and Alpha. The original PDP-7 version, and the early PDP-11 versions are lost to the mists of time.

Unix as an "Idea Mine" (3, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298025)

Very often the technically 'best' implementation doesn't win and I'd like to see those stories from inside Unix. For me, that's a more interesting angle than just version/feature stories.

how about curses and text games? (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298269)

rogue, sail, wump, search (you have crashed into a planet), battlestar (in the closet is a kingly robe), mazewars, that mazewars-like curses game who's name escapes me, with a variety of weapons (satchel bomb... oooo...) that had destructable maze walls.

There are a variety of Rogue-like games out there that have been ported to current platforms, but the other ones, especially sail, search and mazewars, I haven't seen in years and years. These games were arguably part of our early Unix heritage because they enticed people to get a login and explore the OS, and for many of us (myself included) they were our motivation learn how to write termcaps for obscure terminals and emulators (the acid test was if Rogue would render correctly), learn programming to fix and enhance the games, and earn root access to do installs and fix permission issues.

Multi-user Unix games like sail and mazewars helped spread the Unix word because we were always trying to entice others to get a login so we could play with them. People with early PC experience couldn't even conceive of multi-user games.

Re:how about curses and text games? (3, Informative)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298523)

There are a variety of Rogue-like games out there that have been ported to current platforms, but the other ones, especially sail, search and mazewars, I haven't seen in years and years.

sail, at least, is part of the "bsdgames" package on Debian.

Re:how about curses and text games? (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299591)

Most of the games mentioned by OP are included in Debian. bsdgames includes:

adventure, arithmetic, atc, backgammon, battlestar, bcd, boggle, caesar, canfield, countmail, cribbage, dab, go-fish, gomoku, hack, hangman, hunt, mille, monop, morse, number, pig, phantasia, pom, ppt, primes, quiz, random, rain, robots, rot13, sail, snake, tetris, trek, wargames, worm, worms, wump, wtf.

rogue is in bsdgames-nonfree.

Re:how about curses and text games? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299999)

Most of the games mentioned by OP are included in Debian.

It was "mazewars" and "search" I wasn't too sure about... Never played 'em and couldn't find 'em. But I saw the post mention sail - I used to play Sail back in college, so I knew that one wasn't a "lost treasure"...

Run the real Curses text games! (1)

JasonStevens (1574841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299057)

Absolutely you can play these! And I'm not talking about 'ported' packages, and linux / BSD game stuff. I'm talking the actual 4BSD stuff. Check out SIMH, along with the TUHS archives, and you can run the real deal! I've setup some pointers on running this here: http://gunkies.org/wiki/4.0_BSD [gunkies.org] http://gunkies.org/wiki/4.2_BSD [gunkies.org] http://gunkies.org/wiki/4.3_BSD [gunkies.org] Of course curses didn't make it's appearence until 4.0BSD. And TCP/IP in 4.2.. 4.3BSD was without a doubt the best. And of course the guy who got it running has his pages, along with 'tape' images here: http://zazie.tom-yam.or.jp/starunix/ [tom-yam.or.jp] And of course for windows users there is the ready to run packages here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/bsd42 [sourceforge.net]

Re:how about curses and text games? (1)

Teckla (630646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299651)

rogue, sail, wump, search (you have crashed into a planet), battlestar (in the closet is a kingly robe), mazewars, that mazewars-like curses game who's name escapes me, with a variety of weapons (satchel bomb... oooo...) that had destructable maze walls.

You're thinking of Hunt. Multi-player fragfest goodness! It had pretty decent performance on 1200 baud (even 300 baud) too.

Hunt was also a great way to train your fingers to use the hjkl movement keys!

Perfect diversion for those with hoarding disorder (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298541)

If you must obsessively collect something, it might as well be bits. Every year or two, you can squeeze twice as much stuff into the same space. That makes it less likely that you'll be found trapped, filthy and emaciated, beneath a collapsed pile of your hoarded treasures.

This is the first time in human history that true exponential hoarding has become not only possible, but practical.

Re:Perfect diversion for those with hoarding disor (1)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299183)

I was kind of thinking along the same lines. One of the problems with computers is that you CAN save every variation, every single edit of every file, everything, and it just seems to flow into a recursive save everything mindset that never ends and never saves enough.

Has anyone bothered saving the paper TTY output from the compiling (or worse -- line editing!) of these original UNIX items? What about that?

Ugh.

Easy to use Windows SIMH packages (3, Interesting)

JasonStevens (1574841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28298921)

I'm glad this is getting some exposure. I know that Warren & co worked hard to get this ancient UNIX not only in a working state, but also he is the one responsible for pushing SCO with the oldSCO source license, and played a hand in getting Research UNIX 1-7 & 32v under a BSD style license, thus setting the foundation of UNIX free. Now SIMH may not be the 'friendliest' software out there for a new user to get used to, so I've done my part in making it a little more accessible. On the sourceforge project https://sourceforge.net/projects/bsd42 [sourceforge.net] I've created Windows installable versions of the 4BSD stuff, 32v and UNIX v1. I do plan to add all the other research versions, along with a new build of RENO that doesn't need 1.8GB... Anyways try them out! the 4BSD stuff has TCP/IP along with a SLiRP hack it can connect to the internet immediately! IRC/Lynx/GCC work great on the Uwisc 4.3 BSD build. Ok that being said, there is a repository of SIMH binaries on https://sourceforge.net/projects/simh [sourceforge.net] , and the MS-DOS build includes some small 'bootstrap' versions of various OS's including v1 UNIX on the PDP-11 simulator. The bar to trying this stuff is a lot lower then you may have guessed, and I'd encourage any fan of UNIX to really check it out.

Oh boy (3, Funny)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299111)

Someone will trot out a copy of the Morris worm and we can relive history all over again.

Re:Oh boy (1)

JasonStevens (1574841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299219)

What I'd really love is a broken version of Emacs that was used back in the early 1980s around the time of Clifford Stoll's Cuckoo's egg.

What an odd thought (1)

Akir (878284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299397)

"... the actual artifacts of early Unix development were in danger of being lost forever."


That's odd. I seem to have had copies of Unix versions 1-5 on my computer for quite a while. And I'm not talking about UNIX system V SVR blah blah. I had some (there was a lot, it could have been all of it, but I didn't look too far into it) of the source code too.

This was at least a year or two back, when I was interested in the origins of UNIX, when I was simulating the PDP with SIMH. Complicated computers they were.

Also note that I don't have any real links to AT&T, Lucient Technologies, or Bell Labs. I do, however, have the internet and access to Google.

paper and program (3, Informative)

adelporto (104675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299429)

Paper here: http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix09/tech/full_papers/toomey/toomey.pdf [usenix.org]

Program here: http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix09/tech/ [usenix.org]

Yes, I work for USENIX.

Re:paper and program (3, Informative)

adelporto (104675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28299543)

The paper is free next week when it becomes published.

In other news, who the hell cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28299445)

UNIX has evolved for a good reason. Only an academic would find this pursuit to be a reasonable use of time.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>