for some reason, i have a copy of
“computer programming and autocodes”
burnett-hall, dresel and samet (1964).
it covers pegasus-sirius autocode, elliot 803 autocode,
mercury autocode and algol.
it is a hardcover duplicate from the library of congress.
anyone want this?
otherwise, it gets recycled thru my local library.
I've just completed the Fourth Edition pass of commits in my manual history repository here: https://gitlab.com/segaloco/mandiff
Something I've kept a particular eye on is what the landscape looked like on the filesystems over the early years of development. Here are some of those observations with a few areas perhaps requiring further illumination:
In the first two editions, there was a file, /etc/uids, which mapped simply a username to a uid. The reason was presumably due to the plaintext passwords in /etc/passwd at the time. The arrival of crypt(III) and related functionality rendered this moot by the time of V3. Additional GECOS information is first spotted in /etc/ident in V2 but by V3 has also found home in /etc/passwd in the GECOS field today used often for a user's full name. The s1-bits source codes refer to /etc/passwd where disassembled s2-bits binaries refer to /etc/uids still, dating both sets of code.
References to /etc/motd first appear in the V2 manual from what I could find, so that may not have been around in V1. Additionally, after V1 many files are moved from /etc to locations under /usr such as ascii and kbd moving to /usr/pub and roff's suftab moving to /usr/lib. It seems in the First Edition, manual section VII mapped to /etc itself it seems, with etc and misc in the manual being synonymous.
So all in all it seems, in terms of support files anyhow, /etc wound up smaller by the advent of the C system, at which point init beings using /etc/rc and the directory begins to expand again.
Another directory of interest is /sys for a few reasons. First, this directory serves different purposes depending on your kernel these days, with BSD systems storing system source code here whereas Linux provides a kernel interface filesystem. I'm not sure what other contemporary systems may use this for, but from V3 and back, this was another RK disk mounted in addition to /usr. This /sys directory appeared to contain the manuals, source code to system components including the commands, kernel, bootloader, and languages, and a copy of the kernel image referenced down in the source tree.
In total I've identified the following directories: c, fort, lang, man, mdec, source, sys. Most names should be obvious from later releases, with lang being a parent directory that contained bdir and mdir B and m6 languages respectively. My guess is that when RP support was made workable in V4, there was no longer a need to segregate data amongst RKs like this so /sys was merged into /usr, leading to the later structure we see in V4-V6. Of note, this structure is implied in CB-UNIX still in the path names of the source code available on the archive. The kernel is found at /tsys/sys/ much like the kernel in V1-V3 living at /sys/sys.
One thing I haven't been able to glean in the process is precisely how the command and library source code was stored in these very early versions. The kernel in T.R. Bashkow's analysis is implied to be stored in files u[0-9x].s, and command source files at least exist somewhere as the command followed by .s. As of V5, the command, syscall wrapper, and library source codes are split up amongst a number of directories with names such as s1, s2, s3, etc. under source. By V7, this has taken on the cmd/lib/sys structure of later releases.
Finally, just a general curiosity the version study involved has raised. Given the movement of UNIX to the 11/45 and then to C, does the Third Edition represent a version of UNIX for the 11/45 with protection but written in assembly, not C? I've seen one handwritten document that makes mention of some of this, but is there any other information such as documents, code, etc. concerning the 11/45 assembly version? Was work completed on the 11/45 kernel changes in the context of this version and then simply "ported" to the C version or were there concepts that were cropping up in one or the other and varying amounts of transportation back and forth as 11/45 and C aspects were implemented?
As always, thanks for keeping up, hopefully I can get this repository up to V6 soon, then the real branching fun begins. The V3 to V4 changes are hopefully the last time the commit diffs have major noise, what with the conversion from roff to nroff. I suspect transitions to macro packages later won't be as bad.
- Matt G.
Howdy folks, I was perusing old copies of ;login: and came across a note about the BSTJ UNIX issue in the August 1978 newsletter: https://archive.org/details/login_august-1978
What I find particularly amusing is that all UNIX licensees at the time of that publication allegedly were provided a copy free of charge. The text goes on to indicate additional copies can be purchased for a measly $1.50.
Fast forward to today and I typically don't see this copy pop up on auction for less than $100. Still, amazing how something was being just tossed out to anyone who wanted one and now here 45 years later, it's a mad scramble to find the same. Then there's this listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/134212722284?hash=item1f3fb39e6c:g:9VEAAOSw8HtjCp2…
$3000 dollars...quite shocking, although perhaps they're banking on the uniqueness of that little sleeve, I've never seen one of those with a BSTJ issue before. Was that some sort of packaging the issues were delivered in? It has the Bell Logo in the little window on either side, so I want to believe it's original and not something someone threw together after the fact.
In any case, I suspect part of the low pricing is due to Bell anti-trust stuff, as they really moved on nickle and diming on documentation once they were legally able to. In any case, I'm always shocked to see how much I paid for something in my archival efforts and then I find a price sheet only to find out someone bought a book back in the day for the cost of a burger and fries. While I'm pursuing documents for research purposes...I may be inadvertently building myself quite the value store without even meaning to...
- Matt G.
All, e-mails from the TUHS server are not making it to Hotmail or Outlook.
I've not changed anything. Is there anybody with some MTA/ISP experience
who might be able to help diagnose the problem?
In the midst of my documentation research, I've done a little analysis on the life and times of this whimsical little phrase which first appeared in the "HOW TO GET STARTED" or basinf section of the Third Edition manual (a derivative of the original login(VII) page):
"When you type to UNIX, a gnome deep in the system is gathering your characters and saving them in a secret place."
Aside from the wonderful imagery of the terminal interrupt driver as a little gnome, I've found that this line has some implications regarding UNIX documentation lineages. This exact verbiage survives in the research line through the Sixth Edition, and is slightly edited prior to the Seventh:
"When you type characters, a gnome deep in the system gathers your characters and saves them in a secret place."
The latter of the two changes holds with a trend over time of using progressive rather than continuous language. That aside, simple change of "to UNIX" to "characters". Seems simple enough, reduce redundancy and make it more clear what is happening. In this same breath, basinf was merged into intro. Checking the Tenth Edition manpage sources on the source tree, this version then seems to persist for the rest of the research lifetime. Peering across into BSD-land, I had to pull a paper copy for this one because I can't find the intro document in the tree, but it likewise has the same exact text, so this version also persisted through the remainder of the UCB development period.
When you start to look into other Bell lineages, things get a little more interesting. Let's start with MERT Release 0. This manual was produced in October, 1977, and has a "gnome" message identical to that in the Sixth Edition manual, so presumably by this time, the old text could very well have still been up in research. Unfortunately we only have scans of this manual, so I can't say whether the merge from intro and basinf to just intro has happened yet. Additionally, this may not reflect the case with USG Program Generic 3 (or any of those) as the intro is one of the sections marked as modified from the USG manual.
Next let's check the situation with PWB 1.0. To start, the intro and basinf documents have been merged into a document titled "introduction", which may very well indicate that this manual page at least was produced after the merge in the research line, and given this was July 1977, that's a case for the MERT 0 page likewise probably being a merged page. However, the text reads:
"When you type to UNIX, a gnome deep in the system is gathering your characters and saving them."
So a different modification of the Sixth Edition text, we still have "to UNIX" and the continuous "is gathering...and saving". What does change is we no longer know where the gnome is saving those characters. We've now lost the secret place, research and BSD carry on knowing the real story, and MERT 0 kept this intact as well. Taking a look further afield, in the System III manuals, originally produced in 1980, we see the same as PWB, a merged intro document (now just named intro again), and the same text, the Sixth Edition text minus the secret place commentary. So whatever merges of documentation took place between PWB 1.0 and 3.0, it seems the updated text from the Seventh Edition was never picked up, and the modified line persisted through to this point. Checking forward, this text persists into the release of PWB 5.0. The first release of System V only changes "UNIX" to "the UNIX System", consistent with nomenclature changes throughout documentation in the PWB 5.0->System V transition.
Taking a little peek aside into yet another lineage, the CB-UNIX 2.3 manuals circa 1981 likewise carry this same text, with the "secret place" removed. Unfortunately we don't have any other versions of CB-UNIX manuals to compare with, but the specific page in question actually lists CB-UNIX 2.1 in the footer with a date of November 1979, so the PWB-ish text in that lineage dates to at least that point.
There are a few different variations circa SVR2, with the 1983 BTL version and 1984 DEC processors versions of the manual changing the first bit to "When you type to UNIX system", whereas the 1986 HRW tradebook manuals state "When you type to the UNIX system." So the "the" is dropped, "system" is lower-cased, but then the "the" is added back between 1984 and 1986.
Finally, there is one more variation on this line, the saddest one of all, that appears circa System V Release 3 material in 1987:
"When you type to the UNIX system, your individual characters are being gathered and temporarily saved."
"Pay no attention to the gnome behind the curtain," says AT&T, removing all whimsy from the equation. This persists into SVR4. Can't say what happens in SVR4.2, I don't have one of those user's manuals, but in any case, it's probably save to assume Novell didn't resurrect the gnome. So just to review the strange and wonderful journey our little gnome has been on:
- Introduced in Third Edition
- intro and basinf documents merged between Sixth and Seventh Edition
- MERT 0 takes the old text
- PWB line takes the old text and drops the reference to a "secret place"
- Seventh Edition adjusts the text to drop UNIX redundancy and use progressive language
- PWB line keeps rolling with their modified text, CB-UNIX takes it up (or vice versa? can't conclude anything there)
- PWB to System V process converts most references of "UNIX" to "the UNIX System"
- Along the way, the "System" is ultimately lowercased, the "the" gets lost for a while and comes back
- AT&T finally removes the gnome reference in SVR3/1987
- Research and BSD keep the Seventh Edition text to the end
Granted, this is a very trivial detail, but one that does demonstrate some flow of documentation revisions and what sorts of changes different groups were making to their documents, what with research making changes to the grammatical style while the PWB-then-commercial line grew more sterile in this presentation over time. This then shows at least one instance of a lack of merging of aspects of the Seventh Edition documentation back into the PWB line after the split of 1.0. Eventually I hope to illuminate many more such areas through the diffing and historical analysis I'm performing.
By the way, I believe a few list members had indicated at some point or another being in possession of some USG Program Generic manuals. If you happen to catch this, and have the time, I'd be ever so curious which of the above, if any, variations on the text they contain. This particular line is immediately following the "How to communicate through your terminal" heading the "HOW TO GET STARTED" section.
Anywho, I hope this was an entertaining diversion. While most of the analysis I'm performing concerns software details and version differences, it's also nice to take a closer look at some of the other sorts of changes that have happened in the lifetime of the system's growth and diversification.
- Matt G.
Although it dates from four years ago, MIT's obituary for Corbató was
still interesting to reread. It couldn't bring itself to mention
Unix--only the latecomer Linux. It also peddled some mythology about
Whirlwind from the decade before timesharing.
"Whirlwind was ... a rather clunky machine. Researchers often had
trouble getting much work done on it, since they had to take turns
using it for half-hour chunks of time. (Corbató said that it had a
habit of crashing every 20 minutes or so.)"
"Clunky" perhaps refers to Whirlwind's physical size. It occupied two
stories of the Barta Building, not counting the rotating AC/DC
motor-generators in the basement. But it was not ponderous; its clean
architecture prefigured "RISC" by two decades.
Only a few favored people got "chunks" of (night) time on Whirlwind
for interactive use. In normal business hours it was run by dedicated
operators, who fed it user-submitted code on punched paper tape.
Turnaround time was often as short as an hour--including the
development of microfilm, the main output medium. Hardware crashes
were rare--much rarer than experience with vacuum-tube radios would
lead one to expect--thanks to "marginal testing", in which voltages
were ramped up and down once a day to smoke out failing tubes before
they could affect real computing. My recollection is that crashes
happened on a time scale of days, not minutes.
"Clunky" would better describe the interface of the IBM 704, which
displaced Whirlwind in about 1956. How backward the 60-year-old
uppercase-only Hollerith card technology seemed, after the humane full
Flexowriter font we had enjoyed on Whirlwind. But the 704 had the
enormous advantages of native floating-point (almost all computing was
floating-point in those days) and FORTRAN. (Damn those capital
I think Clark was justified in deviating from Ossanna.
The prime rationale for allowing removal of read-only registers is
uniformity--a powerful argument. It simplifies documentation and
relieves a burden on users' understanding. It probably simplifies the
This kind of special-casing is AI in the service of some perception
that "no one would want to do that.". If "that" is the clear meaning
of some specified action, then so be it. We are not dealing with
physical hazards here.
> even if they don't screw up the formatter internally,
> they will become unrecoverably useless for documents
> and macro packages,
The same argument could be made about \applying .rm to any standard
request, and I would disagree for the same reason as above. (A
disappointing experimental discovery in this regard: .de seems to be
immune to removal.)
A change that I *would* welcome is warning about writing into a
read-only register. (Also make .rm work on .de--a near reversal of the
Even in these rusty times (oh what complicated chemical processes
there are!) a question that i hope someone can answer.
In both Spinellis' UNIX history repo as well as the CSRG one (via
robohack/ucb-csrg-bsd.git) one can find two ways of writing Kurt
Shoen's name, and whereas i, who always refer to Mail and its
[ Author: Kurt Shoens <kas>
AuthorDate: 1980-10-08 08:53:34 -0800]
+ * Author: Kurt Shoens (UCB) March 25, 1978
one can find the name "Kurt Schoens" as early as 4.2 BSD (curses,
twinkle1), and then in a growing number of files, especially after
1993 when Keith Bostic and then Kirk McKusick did
But one can also see the commit
Author: Kurt A. Schoens <kas(a)ucbvax.Berkeley.EDU>
AuthorDate: 1980-10-09 02:48:47 -0800
and that is strange, as i presume all-automatic version control
conversions here? Schoens .. is a bug?
|Der Kragenbaer, The moon bear,
|der holt sich munter he cheerfully and one by one
|einen nach dem anderen runter wa.ks himself off
|(By Robert Gernhardt)
|..and in spring, hear David Leonard sing..
|The black bear, The black bear,
|blithely holds his own holds himself at leisure
|beating it, up and down tossing over his ups and downs with pleasure
|Farewell, dear collar bear