I've assembled some notes from old manuals and other sources
on the formats used for on-disk file systems through the
Additional notes, comments on style, and whatnot are welcome.
(It may be sensible to send anything in the last two categories
directly to me, rather than to the whole list.)
Today I bit the bullet and dropped my many articles and electronic
documents related to my technical explorations into Zotero. I was tired
of constantly having to remember where the documents were located and I
wanted to be able to curate them better (I tried git for a while, back
when, but I'm not a fan of non-text data in my repos, and it wasn't
really much better than the base file system approach). I've been using
Zotero for years now, for academic works, but not for technical works
unrelated to my research. I realized the man-years of effort to clean up
the entries that I had created in about 30-40 seconds of exciting drag
and drop, just about the time I deleted them from their original
locations. I think the work will pay off in due time, but we'll see.
Then I thought, surely, I'm not the first person to have had this
problem... it occurred to me that y'all must have faced this very
problem, a few years in, back in the late 70's, early 80's. That is,
document management. What did you do, variously, considering both text
> From: Clem Cole
> Ward had a nice history here: TecoEditor
> <http://c2.com/wiki/remodel/?TecoEditor> - worth reading
Yeah, pretty good. A couple of minor points:
"TECO Madness -- a moment of convenience, a lifetime of regret" - I
have seen this attributed to Dave Moon.
"the [ITS] version of TECO was used by Richard Stallman to implement the
original Emacs Editor" - accurate if read _just_ the right way, but incorrect
in the 'naive' reading.
Stallman didn't _originate_ the body of stuff that eventually turned into ITS
EMACS, although he did take over maintenance of it once it was rolling; and
later wrote Gnu Emacs from scratch himself.
The mostly accurate one-line history is the one given in Dan Weinreb's blog
"the original (TECO-based) Emacs was created and designed by Guy L. Steele
Jr. and David Moon. After they had it working, and it had become established
as the standard text editor at the AI lab, Stallman took over its
maintenance", to which Moon added "in all fairness I have to say that
Stallman greatly improved Emacs after he 'liberated' it from Guy and me".
More people were involved than Moon, Steele and Stallman, though; a lot of
people were writing stuff before Stallman took over; and even after that,
others (like Eugene Ciccarelli, a member of the CSR group) helped a lot with
Stallman's EMACS paper ("sEMACS: The Extensible, Customizable,
Self-Documenting Display Editor") contains _many_ statements that are
_demonstrably_ wrong, e.g. "it is simply impossible to implement an extensible
system in [languages like PASCAL or C]" ... "This eliminates most popular
programming languages except LISP, APL and SNOBOL." Given that I've been using
a heavily customized Epsilon for decades, which is written completely in EEL
(a dialect of C enhanced with editing primitives like buffers, etc), that's
clerly very confused.
> From: George Michaelson
> Teco was painful.
Some of us can recall when the _only_ choices for editing on UNIX (on the
PWB1 systems at MIT) were 'ed' and TECO!
But to add some real history (not just the usual low S/N flaming about
people's opinions of various relatively recent software, which is way too
common on this list), the guys at MIT in DSSR/RTS (the group which later did
the 68K version of PCC), who had done the port of PDP-11 TECO (in MACRO-11)
from the Delphi system at MIT (which preceded adoption of UNIX there) - a
comment in one source file alludes to Delphi, so that's where it came from, to
UNIX (I think this TECO was written there, and was not a port of a DEC one,
since it's all in lower case, and doesn't have other DEC stylisms), after the
port, added a '^R mode' similar to the one added to the PDP-10 ITS TECO and
used there to write EMACS (in TECO's usual 'line noise' code - historical
aside: at one point there was a whole 'Ivory' package for ITS TECO which could
'purify' ITS TECO code so that one copy in core [actual, real core!] could be
shared by multiple processes). That was used to write an EMACS-like package
for the PDP-11 UNIX TECO (but much simpler than real EMACS), which we used for
quite a while before Montgomery EMACS for UNIX showed up.
The full dump of the MIT-CSR PWB1 UNIX system which I retrieved has all the
sources and documentation for that TECO, and the ^R-mode code, etc. If anyone
is interested in seeing it (or maybe even playing with it, which will need
the UNIX MACRO-11), let me know, and I'll upload it.
PS: Speaking of the full dump of the MIT-CSR PWB1 UNIX system, I was poking
around it a couple of days ago, and I found V6 'multiplexor' kernel drivers -
mpio.c and mpx.c, etc - I think thay 'fell off the back of a truck' at Bell,
like a lot of other stuff we weren't supposed to have, like the circuit design
tools, etc. I'm not sure if I have the user programs to go with them; I think
I may have found some of them for Paul Ruizendaal a while back, but the memory
has faded. Again, if interested, let me know.
I never really used it but i do remember an editor called le on the v7 interdata/Perkin Elmer i used at Leeds poly.
I read electronics and we all used vi, the computer science people at a different campus used le on their Interdata; no idea why.
anyone any background on le? ihave not seen sight nor sound of it since.
Seeing as our leader is worried about aliveness, I felt it fitting to send a link to a part-time project I’m working on.
A couple of weeks ago, I fired up Virtualbox and installed NetBSD/i386 1.0 from floppy images. Virtualbox can be persuaded to read 1.2MB floppies - I’ve had less luck on Qemu with this. But after I setup the VM, I quickly converted it to one that Qemu could use.
Then I loaded all the source floppies for 1.1 and 1.2 onto the VM, then upgraded the VM to 1.1 then 1.2 by compiling from source. By which time the pcnet network interface worked reliably. NetBSD still provides a pserver CVS method, so I was able then to CVS update, upgrade to 1.3.3 onwards.
1.4.3 -> 1.5.4 involves a change of binary format from a.out -> ELF.
From 1.6 onwards, life becaomes simpler because of the build.sh system, but I spent the time to go all the way up to 9.2 via sources between each release. (I managed to build 9.2 from 6.1 as well.)
The VMs can be found on this landing page:
I’m working on a write-up which I will publish at some point and I’m also working on OpenBSD branching off at NetBSD 1.1 - I’ve build a OpenBSD 2.0 VM from the NetBSD 1.1 VM on the page above.
amnesiac# ls -l /ne*
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 19089180 Mar 26 02:47 /netbsd
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 659600 Mar 13 22:09 /netbsd.10
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 1332275 Mar 13 22:09 /netbsd.11
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 1477949 Mar 13 16:13 /netbsd.12
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 1530049 Mar 13 17:47 /netbsd.121
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 2211878 Mar 14 02:23 /netbsd.133
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 3407541 Mar 14 05:12 /netbsd.143
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 4941157 Mar 14 05:50 /netbsd.154.aout
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 5048054 Mar 14 09:20 /netbsd.154.elf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 6182687 Mar 14 11:53 /netbsd.162
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 7447216 Mar 14 14:35 /netbsd.203
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 7476202 Mar 15 01:12 /netbsd.21
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 8577892 Mar 15 11:50 /netbsd.31
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 10343742 Mar 15 23:47 /netbsd.4
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 12002769 Mar 16 05:31 /netbsd.52
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 13116694 Mar 16 14:53 /netbsd.61
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 17143555 Mar 17 04:50 /netbsd.72
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 19695304 Mar 20 09:12 /netbsd.82
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 19089180 Mar 28 10:46 /netbsd.92
All the best
> From: Angelo Papenhoff
> By 'upload it' do you mean the full dump or TECO only?
At this point in time, not the full dump (below for why).
I have previously uploaded lots of other bits, e.g. (looks quickly): the
TCP/IP that was written for it (with the TCP in the 'user process', making
for a small system, good for -11/23's and -11/40's); Montgomery EMACS; TECO
(already done - along with the MACRO-11, but I still need to do the linker,
and the BCPL compiler one needs for the linker).
> That system sounds very interesting and I'd love to see the whole thing.
Unfortunately, the dump includes _everything_ on the system, including
personal email, etc, etc. So I have to curate it anything I upload.
I suppose I should put together an 'index page', which lists (and links
to) everything that has been uploaded?
> Just checking that the TUHS list hasn't gone belly up, as it's been pretty
> quiet for a week :-)
> Cheers, Warren
Not relevant to a sudden dip, but overall my observation is that retro computing interest tends to focus on a period 30-40 years ago. For example, in the late 80’s people were going retro on the LGP-30, the story of Mel, etc. Probably this matches with people retracing their formative years in the industry when they retire.
If correct, we should see a rise in interest around early Linux in the upcoming years, with interest in 80’s Unix and early networking declining. We’re probably already past peak for interest in 1970’s Unix.
The historical log of this mailing list is important. Documenting historical events will get much harder after the "40 year window" has closed.
I did not have a lot of time to work on documenting the evolution of paging / virtual memory code in 32V, Sys III and early SysV in the past months, but I did get some more background information that seems worth sharing.
My understanding of the virtual memory story at USG is now as follows:
Somewhere in 1981/82 a project plan for Unix 5 / System V was made and evolving John Reiser’s virtual memory code for 32V-r3 was part of that plan. “Evolving” in this context meant making it more maintainable and more hardware independent. John’s code assumed a memory page, a disk block and a file block all to be the same size, and it needed to be more general. It was also designed around the VAX MMU and this too needed to be generalised. The person assigned to that job was Bob (Robert) Baron, reporting to Tom Raleigh. The project involved quite a bit of re-architecting and progress was slowish. On top of that Bob left for CMU to work on Mach. Tom Raleigh tried to pick up where Bob had left off, but progress remained slowish.
In parallel, Keith Kelleman and Steve Burroff were working on Unix for the 3B20 Unix. They did paging code from scratch around the 3B20 MMU (which used a more or less ‘modern’ page table design) and developed their idea for the “regions” abstraction to support large, non-contiguous address spaces. It seems that they built on the main working set ideas/concepts in the Reiser/Baron/Raleigh code base, combined these with their “regions” idea, made it multi-processor capable and made it all work on the 3B20. Around that time Tom Raleigh seems to have transferred to Bellcore, and the VAX code base got orphaned.
Two young engineers appear to have picked up the work on the VAX code base: Dean Jagels and Jim McCormick. My understanding is that they essentially back ported the 3B20 work to the VAX, falling back on the Reiser/Baron/Raleigh work where necessary. They got it working, and as far as I can tell, this is what got released in 1984 as part of SysV R2.4 for the VAX (the oldest surviving source code for this that I could find).
This somewhat tortuous birth may in part explain why Research chose to use the 4BSD virtual memory code for 8th edition.