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!

Inventors of Unix Win Japan Prize

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Unix 105

jbrodkin writes "The inventors of Unix and the C programming language, one of whom also created the first master-level chess-playing machine, have been awarded the prestigious Japan Prize for their work in building the Unix operating system in 1969. Ken Thompson, who is now a distinguished engineer at Google, and Dennis Ritchie, who is retired, were researchers at Bell Labs four decades ago when they 'developed the Unix operating system which has significantly advanced computer software, hardware and networks over the past four decades, and facilitated the realization of the Internet,' the Japan Prize Foundation said Tuesday in awarding them the 2011 prize. The pair join previous winners such as Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee. In addition to developing Unix, Thompson also played a key role in building Belle, the first chess-playing computer to achieve a master-level rating and five-time winner of the now-defunct North American Computer Chess Championship in the 1970s and 1980s. Ritchie and Thompson have also been credited with developing the C programming language, a process that occurred in conjunction with the development of Unix."

cancel ×

105 comments

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

mad props (3)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014802)

and congrats... 40 years later their influence is still amazing.

Re:mad props (1)

Sox2 (785958) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014984)

Indeed, that this OS is still vibrant and alive after so long is a real acheivement.

As a matter of curiousity, could someone please answer why Unix and the various derivatives are still so strong? Why are there so few new OSs that match this one in terms of security etc? Did these guys create the best OS it was possible to make first time or are there better, new OSs waiting in the wings? As you can probably tell, i dont know too much about this so please be gentle....

Re:mad props (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015024)

You apparently never used Unix during the 70s and 80s. Unix "security" was a constant joke at least until the mid 90s.

Re:mad props (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017714)

Did the security improve, or did we start to compare Unix security with Windows security?

Re:mad props (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019816)

You apparently never used Unix during the 70s and 80s. Unix "security" was a constant joke at least until the mid 90s.

Blasphemy!

Re:mad props (3, Informative)

JWW (79176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015208)

UNIX was designed to be as scalable, robust, and secure (relative to standards in those days) as they could possibly build it.

Redirection, Pipes, shells, heck the whole IO structure of UNIX was/is IMHO a great work of art.

Then other people started adding stuff to UNIX and eventually Linux that just kept making it better and better like PERL, Apache, X, .... many more.

UNIX is just and has always been good stuff.

Re:mad props (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015270)

lol, perl

Re:mad props (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031096)

Meh, I've always liked the z/OS approach better, though I must say that I'd probably prefer the UNIX APIs, I think...

Re:mad props (3, Interesting)

phek (791955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015398)

The main reason i see for it is in comparison to most other OSs, everything* can be accessed as a file. This includes most devices and sockets. That has made unix very agile and has allowed it to adapt with the times. The only OS i can think of that goes further than unix in this respect is plan 9, which was also designed by bell labs as the successor to unix. Plan 9 goes as far as allowing peripherals on the network to be accessed as files.

Re:mad props (2)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016102)

Look up OS400 sometime. Sort of similar, but everything is accessed as an object. In fact for business purposes, as much as I admire Unix, I would choose OS400 over it every time - were it not for the expense of IBM hardware and software.

everything is a file, even on remote nodes (1)

DieterBSD (1972608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35022950)

> The main reason i see for it is in comparison to most other OSs,
> everything* can be accessed as a file. This includes most devices
> and sockets. That has made unix very agile and has allowed it to
> adapt with the times. The only OS i can think of that goes further
> than unix in this respect is plan 9, which was also designed by
> bell labs as the successor to unix. Plan 9 goes as far as allowing
> peripherals on the network to be accessed as files.

There is a reason NFS actually stands for Not really a File System.
NFS breaks "everything is a file".

DFS (Distributed File System) from Tektronix allows accessing devices
on remote nodes. And unlike NFS, DFS actually works.

WHY WHY WHY did NFS become the defacto standard? :-(

We need a FLOSS implementation of DFS.

Re:mad props (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015476)

Beyond what JWW typed I assume not designing for the low-end desktops helped to. If there was any at the time.

Since the machines it was built for had more capability maybe that helped it last until even the simplest machines has as much or more capability.

failure enables (2)

epine (68316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016264)

Unix succeeded so well because it encourages failure. The C language is Spartan and direct. There are no safety nets. People who can't keep their pointers straight soon find themselves working in a different profession, such as programming in Java. This is the same dynamic described by Adam Smith for the free market.

Re:mad props (5, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016684)

It's not so much about security as it is about flexibility and a new way of doing things. At the time Unix was created, most operating systems where huge, ugly and complex beasts, developed in a bureaucratic way by enormous corporations. Software development was done similarly to the way processors are designed. It was a land of engineers, not a land of hackers. Unix was simpler, more elegant, modular and hacker friendly. At the time, OSs where written in assembly, almost no exceptions. Have you ever seen a mainframe sysadmin? Those guys where running the circus back then. Then this bunch of hippies came in and wrote an OS in a high-level language, and it turned out to be awesome. Unix was the software-world response to the social events and revolutions during the 60's.

At first, it wasn't as evolved or secure as other systems, and it was ridiculed because of that. But Unix is like Lego, and there was a huge amount of young people in computing that related to this concept, and could do awesome things with the building blocks provided by Unix.

It was the first OS to change the way things where done and introduce metaphors in computing. People think thap FApple and m$ started the metaphor-in-computing trend, with icons, menues and folders. That's just not true. "Everything is a file" was a revolution. The simple, short commands, pipes, advanced interactive shells, all of that made Unix the choice of a new generation. And it still is, anyone serious about software development is on some kind of Unix variant. It's wasn't the technical merits of Unix, it was the philosophy that made it so huge.

I once asked RMS if he could imagine the Free Software world as it is today, developing something like the Incompatible time-sharing system. Of course, this is RMS and I didn't really get a straight answer, he just rambled about how it wasn't a valid question because the Incompatible time-sharing system wasn't modern enough to be usable nowdays. But I know the answer is NO. The Unix model and Free Software have a LOT in common, and Unix helped pave the way for the way the world works right now. Whether the usual suspects like it or not, Free Software runs most of the Internet, and the world as we know wouldn't exist without the internet. Unix has always been the man behind the curtain, but it's been more relevant in the last 40 years of history than many think. Even now, it's still obscure, think, for instance, how everyone has a Unix OS in their pocket (Android phones/tablets and other devices, ipods/iphones/ipads), and most don't even know about it. It was about damn time that it got some mainstream recognition.

Re:mad props (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35021764)

As a matter of curiousity, could someone please answer why Unix and the various derivatives are still so strong?

I think that initially the primary strength of Unix was fork(). It allowed incredibly easy process creation and management. The file system was also incredible. Continued popularity was due to its penetration of the university market followed eventually by the availability of open source versions.

Re:mad props (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015094)

The UNIX-HATERS Handbook [simson.net] [pdf]

Foreword
By Donald A. Norman

The UNIX-HATERS Handbook? Why? Of what earthly good could it be? Who is the audience? What a perverted idea.

But then again, I have been sitting here in my living room—still wearing my coat—for over an hour now, reading the manuscript. One and one-half hours. What a strange book. But appealing. Two hours. OK, I give up: I like it. It’s a perverse book, but it has an equally perverse appeal. Who would have thought it: Unix, the hacker’s pornography.

When this particular rock-throwing rabble invited me to join them, I thought back to my own classic paper on the subject, so classic it even got reprinted in a book of readings. But it isn’t even referenced in this one. Well, I’ll fix that:

Norman, D. A. The Trouble with Unix: The User Interface is Horrid. Datamation, 27 (12) 1981, November. pp. 139-150. Reprinted in Pylyshyn, Z. W., & Bannon, L. J., eds. Perspectives on the Computer Revolution, 2nd revised edition, Hillsdale, NJ, Ablex, 1989.

What is this horrible fascination with Unix? The operating system of the 1960s, still gaining in popularity in the 1990s. A horrible system, except that all the other commercial offerings are even worse. The only operating system that is so bad that people spend literally millions of dollars trying to improve it. Make it graphical (now that’s an oxymoron, a graphical user interface for Unix).

You know the real trouble with Unix? The real trouble is that it became so popular. It wasn’t meant to be popular. It was meant for a few folks working away in their labs, using Digital Equipment Corporation’s old PDP-11 computer. I used to have one of those. A comfortable, room-sized machine. Fast—ran an instruction in roughly a microsecond. An elegant instruction set (real programmers, you see, program in assembly code). Toggle switches on the front panel. Lights to show you what was in the registers. You didn’t have to toggle in the boot program anymore, as you did with the PDP-1 and PDP-4, but aside from that it was still a real computer. Not like those toys we have today that have no flashing lights, no register switches. You can’t even single-step today’s machines. They always run at full speed.

The PDP-11 had 16,000 words of memory. That was a fantastic advance over my PDP-4 that had 8,000. The Macintosh on which I type this has 64MB: Unix was not designed for the Mac. What kind of challenge is there when you have that much RAM? Unix was designed before the days of CRT displays on the console. For many of us, the main input/output device was a 10-character/second, all uppercase teletype (advanced users had 30- character/second teletypes, with upper- and lowercase, both). Equipped with a paper tape reader, I hasten to add. No, those were the real days of computing. And those were the days of Unix. Look at Unix today: the remnants are still there. Try logging in with all capitals. Many Unix systems will still switch to an all-caps mode. Weird.

Unix was a programmer’s delight. Simple, elegant underpinnings. The user interface was indeed horrible, but in those days, nobody cared about such things. As far as I know, I was the very first person to complain about it in writing (that infamous Unix article): my article got swiped from my computer, broadcast over UUCP-Net, and I got over 30 single-spaced pages of taunts and jibes in reply. I even got dragged to Bell Labs to stand up in front of an overfilled auditorium to defend myself. I survived. Worse, Unix survived.

Unix was designed for the computing environment of then, not the machines of today. Unix survives only because everyone else has done so badly. There were many valuable things to be learned from Unix: how come nobody learned them and then did better? Started from scratch and produced a really superior, modern, graphical operating system? Oh yeah, and did the other thing that made Unix so very successful: give it away to all the universities of the world.

I have to admit to a deep love-hate relationship with Unix. Much though I try to escape it, it keeps following me. And I truly do miss the ability (actually, the necessity) to write long, exotic command strings, with mysterious, inconsistent flag settings, pipes, filters, and redirections. The continuing popularity of Unix remains a great puzzle, even though we all know that it is not the best technology that necessarily wins the battle. I’m tempted to say that the authors of this book share a similar love-hate relationship, but when I tried to say so (in a draft of this foreword), I got shot down:

“Sure, we love your foreword,” they told me, but “The only truly irksome part is the ‘c’mon, you really love it.’ No. Really. We really do hate it. And don’t give me that ‘you deny it—y’see, that proves it’ stuff.”

I remain suspicious: would anyone have spent this much time and effort writing about how much they hated Unix if they didn’t secretly love it? I’ll leave that to the readers to judge, but in the end, it really doesn’t matter: If this book doesn’t kill Unix, nothing will.

As for me? I switched to the Mac. No more grep, no more piping, no more SED scripts. Just a simple, elegant life: “Your application has unexpectedly quit due to error number –1. OK?”

Donald A. Norman

Apple Fellow
Apple Computer, Inc.

And while I’m at it:

Professor of Cognitive Science, Emeritus
University of California, San Diego

Re:mad props (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016724)

I never did get around to reading that before. Now I have, and I'm struck by the last line in the foreword you quote:

"As for me? I switched to the Mac. No more grep, no more piping, no more SED scripts."

I'm using a Mac right now, almost entirely because underneath all the shiny widgets, I can pull up a terminal window with the shell of my choice (zsh of course; but bash, csh, ksh, sh and tcsh are available straight out of the box) and still use sed, awk, pipes and all those other useful toys to get my work done easily.

Curiously, I came to unix comparatively late (early '90s), since until that time I had worked with a multitude of different systems ranging from "Big-Iron" CDC Cyber and Sperry/Univac mainframes right down to little Honeywell DPS6 and Prime systems.

Re:mad props (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017984)

The Unix haters' handbook was written long before Macs came with Unix.

Re:mad props (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016898)

As for me? I switched to the Mac.

But isn't Mac OS X based on UNIX!!!

Re:mad props (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015152)

and congrats... 40 years later their influence is still amazing.

Indeed. If a certain unnamed church recognizes them within the next 359 years it will beat their recognition of Galileo ;-)

Re:mad props (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35019310)

Does every news item here have to degenerate into anti-religious hate?

Re:mad props (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019956)

Yes.

"Ecraser l'infâme " - Voltaire

Other noteworthy awards. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35014832)

They have all also been granted the “Extremely Stretched Rectum Honor,” and have been globally recognized as swallowing the most semen in any 10 minute period (27.24 gallons).

Truly, these fags are American icons. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35014872)

Homosexual sodomy and fellatio are what America is all about!

Re:Truly, these fags are American icons. (0)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014956)

The Phelps clan found slashdot? There goes the neighborhood.

Why was this moderated down? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016398)

Confused.

Thanks to Unix (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014840)

...you can download all the Japanese anime tentacle pr0n you ever wanted!

Re:Thanks to Unix (1, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014860)

They've also given awards to Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee... I think you've hit on a hidden motivation here, they're giving out awards to the most important people involved in enabling the streaming of porn to one's own home! I'll put money on Al Gore getting the next award, after all, he was instrumental in the creation of the internet!

Instrumental in creating commercial Internet (4, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015034)

Here is the actual Al Gore quote:

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

Clumsy and self serving wording, yes. Claims to have invented the Internet? No, not at all. He was just saying that his policies helped create the Internet as we know it today, which is somewhat true. What he REALLY did was cosponsor the Information Infrastructure and Technology Act of 1992 which opened the Internet to commercial traffic.

So, we can really thank Gore for pop-up ads and spam, not the whole Internet.

Re:Instrumental in creating commercial Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016882)

Boucher deserves at least as much, if not more, credit than Gore.

Re:Instrumental in creating commercial Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017888)

> Claims to have invented the Internet? No, not at all.

Yes, at all:

"I took the initiative in creating the Internet"

So without his contribution, as he sees it, the Internet would not have been created.

Re:Thanks to Unix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35014892)

Being unixfags, I bet they would prefer some loli^H^H^H^Hshota^H^H^H^H^Htoddlercon. Sick fuckers, forcing us to fsck.

Re:Thanks to Unix (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015368)

Thanks to Unix you can download all the Japanese anime tentacle pr0n you ever wanted!

Amazingly that's also what inspired them to write it in the first place!

Re:Thanks to Unix (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016226)

...you can download all the Japanese anime tentacle pr0n you ever wanted!

No, you host the pr0n on Unix. You download and view it using Windows. So really, both operating systems have been instrumental in creating the life we enjoy today.

Re:Thanks to Unix (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016458)

>You download and view it using Windows

Maybe _you_ do

What is the Japan Prize? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018804)

The Japan prize is actually ONE HUNDRED DARA!!! You win ONE HUNDRED DARA for invent Unix operating system!!! You big winna!!! *insert loud obnoxious noises and strange mascot here* *insert crazy cheering audience here*

Ken Thompson is also at Google? (0)

Pteraspidomorphi (1651293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014846)

Google sure has an impressive amount of cool people working there...

Re:Ken Thompson is also at Google? (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014870)

Just wait till Kenan Thompson gets a job there. That will make it cooler than Good Burger

Re:Ken Thompson is also at Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017522)

Welcome to Google home of the Google can I take your order?

Re:Ken Thompson is also at Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017956)

i laughed :(

Re:Ken Thompson is also at Google? (2)

Archwyrm (670653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015084)

His current work has mostly been on a new programming language called Go [golang.org] (for those who have not heard of it). A young, but thus far impressive systems programming language.

Re:Ken Thompson is also at Google? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019994)

If by "cool" you mean "lured by the prospect of a lot of money and free time" then yes.

The real story (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014882)

Ken actually used his nifty hack [bell-labs.com] of the C compiler and the login program to break into the computer that stored the committee's votes and flipped his and Steve Ballmer's vote.

Re:The real story (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015774)

It's not a "nifty hack", it's the Greatest Hack of All Time - past, present and future, in all Time Lines, and in all Parallel Universes and Dimensions(TM). The fact that he did it in the 70's, before anybody else was really even trying, just adds to the wonderment of it. If there were a Nobel Prize for Deviousness, he would have won it hands down, and then they would have retired the prize, as having "been done".

No flame-war yet? (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | more than 3 years ago | (#35014932)

I'm surprised to see that some Programming Language flame-war has started yet.

Oh wait, it's still early.

Re:No flame-war yet? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35014948)

I'm surprised to see that some Programming Language flame-war has started yet.

Oh wait, it's still early.

COBOL I tell you! It can do anything even grate cheese to a fine shredding! It will also clean your toilet! No other programming languages can do that. HA!

Re:No flame-war yet? (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015032)

Wanna start one? They are so much fun...

You want a flame war? (0)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015380)

The next Japan prize should go to Bill Joy for his invention of the world's best text editor.

Re:You want a flame war? (1, Flamebait)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015898)

Flame war? Flame wars are built around personal preferences. You're stating facts. :D

Re:You want a flame war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017314)

You jest, but it's actually true. There is no denying that, both on code quality and user interface, vi is vastly superior to any other editor out there. Some people might not like it, some may not want to invest a modicum of time to learn how the tool they use works, but basic fact is that for editing text there is nothing that surpasses vi.

Re:You want a flame war? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020040)

You jest, but it's actually true. There is no denying that, both on code quality and user interface, vi is vastly superior to any other editor out there. Some people might not like it, some may not want to invest a modicum of time to learn how the tool they use works, but basic fact is that for editing text there is nothing that surpasses vi.

And what's wrong with Notepad? Not only is it simple and elegant (and free as in beer), it also takes one or two minutes to learn and runs on the world's most popular operating system.

And don't forget, it's the program that is used to code our own well-loved Slashdot,

Re:You want a flame war? (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016464)

Best keybindings, maybe

the rest of the story (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015004)

Thompson and Ritchie invented Unix and C because they needed a decent programming environment for the PDP-7 to develop their game "Space Wars". To my knowledge, the Bell Labs Space Wars title still hasn't shipped, thus inaugurating the tradition of galactic video game vaporware that continues to this day.

Re:the rest of the story (0)

tofubeer (1746800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015058)

It'll be on the disk with Duke Nukem Forever...

Re:the rest of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016142)

The game was called “Space Travel”.

Re:the rest of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017216)

Space Wars begat Duke Nukem Forever. Will it ever end?

While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015066)

After struggling for years with a dozen programming languages I instantly fell in love with C because I could write tight code which compiled tiny and executed swiftly. Libraries were friendly (compared to Fortran, PL/1, Cobol, etc.) and who could not love linked lists? I liked it so much I bought too copies of The C Programming Language by Dennis Ritchie & Brian Kernighan - one copy for work and one for home.

It's sad to see the crap I have to code in now. =(

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015174)

PHP? Condoleances.

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (4, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015238)

The highest accolade for C came from my Computer Music professor, Paul Lansky: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Lansky [wikipedia.org] . He did stuff with FORTRAN, which he described as a "clunky" language, and then started moving to C. I can't remember the precise words that he used, but he seemed to get across that programming in C was like composing music for him.

A music professor? Programming in C? Yep, that happens.

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015738)

He writes symphonies in C, why not write code in it too?

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35029918)

That seems a dangerous road, I'm sure he writes symphonies in C# as well...

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018446)

But after modul

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016428)

I also enjoy pointing out the joy of linked lists..

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016914)

I like to take it to the next level with trees. But I still enjoy your pointing and grand parent's love of linked lists. :P

Re:While Unix is great, I looooooove C =) (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018008)

What languages do you find yourself programming in now? C++, C#, or ?

Thompson can't check-in code at Google because... (4, Interesting)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015082)

Let's not forget this: Google won't allow the co-inventor of Unix and the C language to check-in code, because he won't take the mandatory language test [gawker.com] . Quote: Legendary programmer Ken Thompson, for example, was required to prove his mettle at a programming language he himself co-invented before Google would deploy his programs. He never bothered, at least not by the time the book Coders at Work was published.

Re:Thompson can't check-in code at Google because. (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015280)

Old hacker mentality: you just don't comply with a restriction, you invent a new clever way to get around it ("go" in this case? As it was the PDP/UNIX?).
Compliance is definitely not aligned with invention; not saying that non-compliance is sufficient for invention, but seems to me as being necessary.

Re:Thompson can't check-in code at Google because. (5, Interesting)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015346)

I still don't really understand the problem here. He goes on to say (even in the quote in Coders At Work I think) that it's not some principled refusal to (why would you do that?), and it's not like stuff's being held up because he can't check in code. It's just that he's "found no need to". His ban on checking code in was just a technicality.

Besides, he's since gone on to work on Go for them, so I'm guessing he did feel a need to be able to check code in, and probably just took the test.

Re:Thompson can't check-in code at Google because. (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019886)

Anyone here actually using Go? It seems like a sweet little language, basically an update of C that is true to the original spirit of the language (small, close to the hardware). When C was created, garbage collection wasn't a mature technology; now it is, so it makes sense to have it built in. However, Go seems pretty raw, and there are other carefully designed C-like languages (D, objective C) that have a huge head start. It's also a drag that Go's binary interface isn't compatible with C's, and I'm not aware of any significant real-world projects using Go.

Re:Thompson can't check-in code at Google because. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017244)

"Prove his mettle" is not exactly correct. I took the Google C++ coding test. It's not to test that you can code well; it's just to test that you are aware of Google's internal style guidelines (things like indentation, variable naming conventions, and the like). It's a good way to emphasize the importance of stylistically consistent code.

Incidentally, I love this approach because I HATE having to go through messy code. Ugh. For some bizarre reason, master's students with several years of industry experience just cannot figure out how to correctly indent code.

One word too many in the title (0)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015096)

Article would have been way more awesome without the word "Prize"

Re:One word too many in the title (0)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016484)

Free Tibet

When you purchase one at regular price

Yeah, they got it right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015132)

I work with computers all day. It's my job. I'm not a geek, yet it surprises me how comfortable it is to work in Unix. I like it better than any Windows version I've ever dealt with and better even than OS X. (Although the latter is the prettiest, I find it intrusive and too click-needy. Windows has always to me felt clumsy and Johnny-come-lately-ish.)

Re:Yeah, they got it right. (4, Informative)

phek (791955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015424)

OSX is unix with an aqua graphical user interface/theme.

Re:Yeah, they got it right. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016808)

I know this, but it's still intrusive. I suppose you kill aqua and live in console most of the time on your Mac, right? That's what I thought. I've tried a lot of window managers; from fast light to evilwm to olvm to fvwm2 to mwm to enlightenment to whatever, and three big DEs and OS X is more intrusive than any of them. The interface/theme is so tightly woven to the user experience that, without it, OS X would be an also-ran. To push its Unix guts as if that was the central power feature is a bit of a red herring (or would it be a strawman?) Apple pushes its Unix to get the devs and UNIX wonks onboard. They're saying "Look, we're not like Windows. We can prove it, see, we ship with a real console that knows how to properly do history and we include vi out of the box." To EVERYONE else they're saying "You don't need to look behind the curtain, ever."
Don't get me wrong, I like Apple boxes, just not enough to buy and use them. The one thing I don't like about Apple is that I was too stupid to buy their stock when it was eleven bucks...

Re:Yeah, they got it right. (1)

Questy (209818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020464)

No, I launch iTerm and go into full-screen mode and never leave. You don't *have* to use the GUI for anything you don't want to.

Re:Yeah, they got it right. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35021302)

That's because most of the Unix-compatible environments honestly... stink. Whether it's because of X or other reasons, I'm not sure.

Which is also why OS X is not just Unix with a pretty face, but is Unix with a pretty well integrated environment. it's a flavor of Unix with some pretty unique attributes

If you want OS X without the UI, get Darwin - it's all the open-source bits. It works and it gets you to the console alright, and without all the Aqua stuff you hate. It also runs on any PC, too. But then again, you're looking at just another Unix, and might as well just go to Linux or BSD to ge the same thing in the end. It's the whole UI integration that makes OS X what it is, and not just a Unix-with-a-pretty-UI-environment. And despite OS X being only 10 years old, the plumbing behind the UI's over 20 years old. If anything, it's probably closer to say it's NeXTStep with a different theme.

The next one will go to BS. (4, Insightful)

master_p (608214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015148)

Bjarne Stroustrup, that is. After all, C++ has those ++ over C...

Re:The next one will go to BS. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017970)

Yeah but they gotta recognize Thompson first as Stroustrup's contributions only increment after C is parsed.

Re:The next one will go to BS. (1)

berbo (671598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020982)

Bjarne Stroustrup, that is. After all, C++ has those ++ over C...

its one awesomer than c.

Multics? (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015150)

Multics was heavily influential in the development of Unix. The inventor(s) of Multics perhaps deserve as much credit.

Re:Multics? (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015506)

Indeed. And Multics was developed in the same spirit of open research into operating system design. A lot of great ideas came out of it, including the use of a high level implementation language, the hierarchical filesystem, and the ring model of security. Most of all, when I think of Multics, I think of it providing a set of abstract operating system services, in contrast to other operating systems of the day which were essentially used to sell hardware and to lock customers into that hardware. Historically, Multics was the first step. Unix is derivative, though of course it has since embodied many new ideas and many elegant implementations of existing ideas.

But even more significantly, computer science departments could easily and inexpensively get their hands on a Unix distro tape. Unix was relatively easy to build on supported hardware, and to port to new hardware. Unix thus became the environment of choice for computer science research. Unix was prosaic; Multics remained exotic.

Re:Multics? (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016788)

"Unix was prosaic; Multics remained exotic."

Only up to a point: Many Unnecessarily Large Tables In Core Simultaneously.

Re:Multics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016234)

yes. they showed the unix team how not to do things.

Re:Multics? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35024380)

yes. they showed the unix team how not to do things.

Mostly in terms of implementation, not concept. Unix was largely an attempt to keep the good ideas of Multics but without the bloat. (However, if they waited a while, then hardware would catch up to the bloat.)
   

Platform neutral (5, Insightful)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015220)

One of the greatest things of UNIX was that it was designed to be machine-neutral as much as possible. That meant you would have this common framework that would be available anywhere and everywhere.

The C programming language was designed with the same platform-abstracting ideas in mind. Unfortunately later C libraries (past those of ANSI/ISO C) started becoming more and more platform specific (mostly as a result of vendors either doing it "their way" or deliberately tying people to their platform). Later on, Java would grow for the same reason again, but with far more extensive standardized libraries covering what people wanted to do in the Internet Age (sockets, HTTP, multi-threading, platform-independent GUI [Swing with Nimbus looks great and performs well ever since rendering was fully hardware accelerated in 1.6.0_u10]).

Unfortunately we're at the stage where vendors are seeking to close things out again. Apple makes wonderful hardware but their walled garden approach is counterproductive from a global industry perspective (and why they will arguably 'fail' to set the standards for software a second time around, for the same reasons, but will make a colossal amount of money anyway). Google's Android is better, but is still a little bit of a walled garden. Hopefully innovation in profit will move elsewhere ('standardization' of one sort or another eventually comes to almost all technologies) and allow things to settle down in the phone space - and allow the cross-platform ideals of UNIX to once again return. One day I hope that phones are sufficiently powerful (processing and energy/battery life) that developing for them is as simple as for the embedded, desktop and server spaces (which have specialized libraries but are essentially the same these days [if you are using Java]).

Re:Platform neutral (5, Informative)

jluzwick (1465485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015452)

Android is becoming more open with each update. If you look at some of Gingerbread's new features, they allow for more developers to code the way they want to, specifically you can now write a Android application completely in C and C++. The NDK has become much more evolved and allows for greater access to Google's Android. Chris Pruett has a great article on what Google has done with this latest update, particularly with the NDK. http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2011/01/gingerbread-ndk-awesomeness.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Platform neutral (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016232)

The philosophy behind Apple's way here is that their API is tied to their specific user interface concept anyways. They enabled developers to use C++ for the backend if they so choose (with all the downsides that come with it) by extending gcc (and llvm). It's perfectly possible to write games without ever touching an OS-specific API using libraries like GLUT, SDL and Ogre3D.

Cross platform user interfaces are a stupid idea that only programmers could have come up with (I'm saying that as a programmer myself). That just doesn't make any sense at all.

Re:Platform neutral (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016744)

> Cross platform user interfaces are a stupid idea that only programmers could have come up with (I'm saying that as a programmer myself). That just doesn't make any sense at all.

This makes no sense whatsoever. Just because you might not be able to construct a good user interface doesn't mean others can't (not just "rich clients", but "filthy rich clients" can and are cross-platform, efficient, and intuitive to use - if you know what you are doing).

hello, world (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015376)

If Ritchie had had any clue about how universal his "hello, world" program would become in the world of programming, maybe he and his book's co-author would've spent an extra afternoon kicking around the possibilities:


#include "stdio.h"

int main()
{
      printf( "I'm here on the inside, and you're not.\n" );
      return 0;
}

Re:hello, world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016572)

an extra afternoon kicking around the possibilities

Hmmm... like sneaking in a custom version of stdio.h that implements printf as something totally different. The angle bracket include is probably what you want; but yeah, it's a PiTA to twaddle the HTML escapes...

Huzzah! (1)

ncmathsadist (842396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016158)

Congratulations to these two! It is richly deserved.

Unix is a pain in the ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016606)

1. The command syntax differs from command to command;
2. It has no native file system. Ever wanted to do an indexed or relative file with unix? Good luck
3. It's native security processes/procedures are amateurish at best; it's very hackable.
4. It has the worlds's worst - and I do mean worst - text editor - VI. VI requires 3 or 4 keystrokes that better editors can do in 1 or 2.
Yes I know you can use others.
5. Then there's the myth of its portability. Yes, it will run on different hardware platforms, but no it doesn't behave the same way from platform to platform. It all
depends on the C compiler in use.

Now, if you want an OS with an easy to use interface, a uniform command structure and syntax, a native file system that is VERY robust and very easy to use,
and which has a very strong security suite - then you want VMS.

Re:Unix is a pain in the ass (1)

Palpatine_li (1547707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016716)

4. It has the worlds's worst - and I do mean worst - text editor - VI. VI requires 3 or 4 keystrokes that better editors can do in 1 or 2. Yes I know you can use others. .

As far as I know, 1 or 2 keystrokes with broken finger joints are way slower than 3 or 4 normal keystrokes.

Ah, awards (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016896)

Not that these two don't deserve it, but I sometimes wonder if accepting awards is like a full-time job for them.

(Currently taking a break from writing C code. In Unix.)

Summary for real nerds: (1)

SecondHand (883047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017526)

"Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie win Japan Prize."

Skip useless introductions.

Re:Summary for real nerds: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35019296)

"Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie win Japan Prize. Japan, a Pacific island nation located northeast of China, has one of the largest economies in the world..."

You know that the old Slashdot is dead when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018164)

You know that the old Slashdot is dead and nerds, who matter, are long gone when Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie need such a long introduction in the summary... this place smells rotten..

Prediction (1)

ciaran.mchale (1018214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018454)

With this belated public recognition of UNIX, I predict that, finally, 2011 will be the year of UNIX on the desktop.

Inventors of Unix Win (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35023250)

Read the headline: Inventors of Unix Win... what the heck is Unix Win? Is that anything like Lindows?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?