I was looking at the various Usenix tapes we have in the TUHS archive,
trying to sort them all out.
In looking at ug091377.tar.gz in Applications/Usenix_77, I found this
paragraph at the end of its read_me
" Finally, if we have an executed Harvard License on file and
if there is room on your tape, the directory "h" contains the
newest (July 1977) release of the HRSTS system. We have also in-
cluded the old Toronto release in the directory "t" if it was re-
quested from a Toronto licensee."
This tape had the 'h' directory, so I'll be playing around with the HRSTS
system to see if I can get it booting in TUHS (I didn't know we had this
til now)... This tape did not have the 't' directory, however.
What is 'the old Toronoto release'? I've not seen references to it so far
in the other histories of this early period I've encountered. And does
anybody have a copy of it?
I hate myself a little bit, but I posted an answer to the 'BSD license
origin' in this twitter thread
that people might find interesting.
Please note the caveats at the end of the thread: This is a bare outline
hitting the high points taking only data from release files with no behind
the scenes confirmation about why things changed, nor in-depth exploration
of variations that I know are present, nor do I got into examples from
various USENET postings from the time that stole the license for people's
own different uses.
Nonetheless, I hope it's useful...
Mike Haertel's quest for the 5620 tools got me thinking. Does anyone
know of an archive of the USL Toolchest at large? It would be cool if
someone had the whole thing on a single tape. But, I suspect many of us
have pieces of it. I'm not sure I know all the pieces that made it up. But
I would like to see the USDL section of Warren's Archive include a sub
directory Toolchest with the collected parts - from Korn shell, the final
version of Writer workbench, to DMD tools and the like. IIRC the final
edition of PCC2 was released as part of it.
In 2007 I started entering the contents of Eric Levenez’s “Unix History” diagram into “dot” format to use with Graphviz.
It stalled when I was unable to create a diagram I really liked.
My recollection is that I talked with Warren about encoding this data and creating diagrams.
He compiled the TUHS “Unix Tree”, presumably now the definitive resource, but I haven’t see a diagram linked from there.
There’s the github “Unix History” project by TUHS list folk <https://github.com/dspinellis/unix-history-repo>
I didn’t research producing timelines & relationships automatically from git:
this would be a solid solution, if the Repo was considered as permanent as the TUHS site.
The “Linux Distribution Timeline” is based on a tool, gnuclad, that takes CSV files and 'computes a cladogram’ in SVG. conversion to PNG is via ImageMagick’s “convert”.
By default, timelines are produced ‘left to right’, with claimed ‘right to left’, ’top to bottom’ and ‘bottom to top’ formats - which I haven’t tested.
The CSV file can include links which are built into clickable points in the final image, at least for SVG, unsure of PNG.
A concern that I have is the creation of the CSV file from Distrowatch is opaque. Possibly built by hand. New diagrams are uploaded 2-3 times a year.
The Levenez "fishbone" diagram doesn’t seem to be updated with Warner Losh’s 2020 “Hidden Early History”.
Clem Cole’s Big Block diagram shows “low-res” diagrams are also very useful, eliminating distracting detail when appropriate.
Groklaw from 2004-2009 tried to collect information about the Unix/Linux Timelines, but the site is gone now & Wayback machine hasn’t picked up many of the detail / comments page.
I’ve no contact with PJ & whoever runs Groklaw now.
Would that data collection contain anything more than TUHS, as it does try to include both Linux and Unix?
Something extra in the Linux Distro Tree is a notation for people moving between projects and tracking forks. Unsure how that’s accomplished, and not sure how important that is for Unixes.
TUHS is “Early Unix”, not about Linux.
However, some degree of compatibility between Unix & Linux Timeline diagrams might be useful for others if they ever try to join multiple trees.
If a timeline / relationship table is constructed, designing it to be somewhat compatible will help future people.
I’m not sure about tracking the many descendants of BSD. Wikipedia has a list without a timeline . <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_BSD_operating_systems>
Someone may already be being doing this somewhere, I didn’t look.
Don’t think modern descendants of BSD should be tracked by a Unix Heritage Society, has to be a boundary somewhere.
1. Is there any benefit in developing a canonical “Unix Timeline” dataset containing the relationships, allowing programatic conversion to diagrams? There might be better tools in the future.
I’d favour tab-separated text files, because they can be read / written by Spreadsheets and converted to CSV.
Warren’s solution of tables & pages is good: there’s simply too much information & complexity to capture in simple file formats
The gnuclad solution of providing “Clickable Links” is useful, if like TUHS, the pages are well maintained.
2. How to cater for:
- adding extra-fine detail for segments of the timeline (Warner Losh)
- ‘zooming out’ and providing an overview (Clem Cole)
- some sort of compatibility with known tables, like Linux Distro Timeline
3. No simple representation can, or should try, to be “all things to all people”, there’s too much detail and too many events occurred.
Is there a useful subset of detail that can be captured in a simple table?
There may be useful subsets of the Unix Timeline that show more or less detail,
To support programatic zoom In/Out, an indent or level descriptor is required in the table.
Does anyone have a good data model for that?
Warner Losh, "Hidden Early History of Unix”, Fosdem 2020
-> "Standard History of Unix, in 3 slides”
graphviz, coloured names, landscape format [small]
“Simplified family tree”
4th Edition Family Tree
6th Edition Family Tree
7th Edition Family Tree
Clem Cole, UNIX, Linux and BSD, USENIX 2009, reexamining "A Short UNIX History”, 2000 talk
-> "A UNIX Family History 1st 25 Yrs” [69-93]
graphviz ?, landscape, coloured, triangle symbols, thin lines & arrows
-> Simplified Linux Family Tree, circa ’09
graphviz ?, landscape, coloured, blocks + text, short thick lines & arrows
TUHS, The Unix Tree
No diagrams, tarball with all content
Éric Lévénez’s, "UNIX History”
landscape format [very wide], lines & arrows, hand drawn, no source
David du Colombier, Unix Diagram
portrait format, graphviz, source
Linux Timeline, Fabio Loli et al
landscape format, gnuclad, source (CSV + links to <https://distroware.gitlab.io/>)
uses ‘curved’ lines, can be changed
Images: SVG, PNG
Grokline, UNIX TIMELINE, 2004-2009 [dead site]
Lists by Date, Vendor, Product
detail pages not archived
Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA
Good morning all, currently trying to sort out one matter that still bewilders me with this documentation I'm working on scanning.
So I've got two copies of the "Release 5.0" User's Manual and one copy of the "System V" User's Manual. I haven't identified the exact differences, lots of pages...but they certainly are not identical, there are at least a few commands in one and not the other.
Given this, and past discussion, it's obvious Release 5.0 is the internal UNIX version that became System V, but what I'm curious about is if it was ever released publicly as "Release 5.0" before being branded as System V or if the name was System V from the moment the first commercial license was issued.
The reason I wonder this is some inconsistencies in the documentation I see out there. So both of my Release 5.0 User's Manuals have the Bell logo on the front and no mention of the court order to cease using it. Likewise, all but one of the System V related documents I received recently contain a Bell logo on the cover next to Western Electric save for the Opeartor's Guide which curiously doesn't exhibit the front page divestiture message that other documents missing the Bell logo include. Furthermore, the actual cover sheet says "Operator's Guide UNIX System Release 5.0" so technically not System V. In fact, only the User's Manual, Administrator's Manual, Error Message Manual, Transition Aids, and Release Description specifically say System V, all the rest don't have a version listed but some list Release 5.0 on their title page.
Furthering that discrepancy is this which I just purchased: https://www.ebay.com/itm/314135813726?_trkparms=amclksrc%3DITM%26aid%3D1110…
Link lives as of this sending, but contains a closed auction for an Error Message Manual from the "Release 5.0" documentation line but no Bell logo. Until the Operator's Guide and this auction link, I haven't seen any "Release 5.0" branded stuff without a Bell logo, and before I bought the System V gold set, I hadn't seen System V branded stuff *with* the Bell logo.
This shatters an assumption that I had made that at the same time the documentation branding shifted to System V was the same time the removal of the Bell logo happened, given that divestiture was what allowed them to aggressively market System V, but now this presents four distinct sets of System V gold documentation:
Release 5.0 w/ Bell logo
Release 5.0 w/o Bell logo
System V w/ Bell logo
System V w/o Bell logo
I'm curious if anyone would happen to know what the significance here is. The covers are all printed, I can't see any indication that a bunch of 5.0 manuals were retroactively painted over nor that any System V manuals got stamped with a Bell post-production. What this means is "Release 5.0" documentation was being shipped post-divestiture and "System V" was being shipped pre-divestiture. If Release 5.0 was publicly sold as System V, then what explains the post-divestiture 5.0 manuals floating around in the wild, and vice versa, if USG couldn't effectively market and support UNIX until the divestiture, how is it so many "Release 5.0" documents are floating around in well produced commercial-quality binding, both pre and post-divestiture by the time the name "System V" would've been king. Were they still maintaining an internal 5.x branch past System V that warranted its own distinct documentation set even into the commercial period? This period right around '82-'83 is incredibly fascinating and I feel very under-documented.
- Matt G.
Today I came across an article about the MGR window system for Unix:
One thing that interested me was a note that some versions worked on the
> The window system ran on many different hardware platforms, at least
> these: Sun 3/xx workstations running SunOS, which was the the original
> development platform, Sun SPARCstations (SunOS and then ported by me to
> Solaris), Intel x86 based PCs (Coherent, Minix, FreeBSD or Linux),
> Atari ST (under MiNT), AT&T UnixPC (SysV) and the Macintosh.
As the owner of a Macintosh Plus, I think it would be a very interesting
thing to experiment with, but I haven't had much luck finding any more
information about it.
Does anyone know more about MGR, particularly on the Mac? That page has
the source for MGR 0.69, but there's no mention of the Macintosh in it
(aside from comments about how it was supported on older versions...)
I know something!
On Fri, Jul 01, 2022 at 04:05:30PM +0300, Ori Idan wrote:
> > o why CTRL/S and CTRL/Q are used for flow control in a shell command
> > line session
> Also would be happy to know.
But I don't know the answer to Ctrl-D. :( And also the bus error
and maybe the segmentation fault if it hasn't to do with a segment
When You Find Out Your Normal Daily Lifestyle Is Called Quarantine
> I heard that the IBM 709
> series had 36 bit words because Arthur Samuel,
> then at IBM, needed 32 bits to identify the playable squares on a
> checkerboard, plus some bits for color and kinged
To be precise, Samuel's checkers program was written for
the 701, which originated the architecture that the 709 inherited.
Note that IBM punched cards had 72 data columns plus 8
columns typically dedicated to sequence numbers. 700-series
machines supported binary IO encoded two words per row, 12
rows per card--a perfect fit to established technology. (I do
not know whether the fit was deliberate or accidental.)
As to where the byte came from, it was christened for the IBM
Stretch, aka 7020. The machine was bit-addressed and the width
of a byte was variable. Multidimensional arrays of packed bytes
could be streamed at blinding speeds. Eight bits, which synced
well with the 7020's 64-bit words, was standardized in the 360
series. The term "byte" was not used in connection with
I have on my hands many images of tapes that seems to have been written
by various implementaions of dump. I see the magic numbers 60011 and
60012 in little and big endian at offsets 18 (16-bit version?) and 24
(32-bit version?). I don't know the dating of the tapes, but around
1980 would be a reasonable guess.
Are there some easy to use (ready to run on a modern Unix) tools to
extract files from such tape files?
I'm not looking to restore a file system on disk, just extract the
I've recently been improving the AT&T/Teletype DMD 5620 simulator I wrote a few years ago. It can now run either the 8;7;3 or 8;7;5 firmware. It also now supports executing a local shell or connecting directly to a physical or virtual tty device. It runs natively on Linux or macOS with X11 or Wayland, but I would love help creating a Windows version if you're a Windows programmer (I am an occasional Windows user, but I am not at all knowledgeable about Windows programming).
Full details are available here: https://loomcom.com/3b2/dmd5620_emulator.html
The source code is here: https://github.com/sethm/dmd_gtk
Many thanks go to my friend Sark (@crtdude on Twitter) for tracking down the 8;7;3 firmware and dumping it for me. I'd also like to thank Mike Haertel for helping find bugs, providing feedback, and inspiring me to get it working with Research Unix in addition to SVR3.
Feedback, bug reports, and pull requests are all welcome!