Hello, my studies lately bring me to the question: Are there any extant examples of telephone switching software, built on UNIX, from the various parts of the Bell System prior to the introduction of the 5ESS and 3B20D? My focus veers earlier as some 5ESS/3B20D/DMERT technology is still in active use, that sleeping dragon can lie.
What's gotten me curious is reading about 1ESS in a BSTJ volume I picked up, noting the particulars on how previous concerns of manual and electro-mechanical systems were abstracted into software. Even without surviving examples, were previous systems such as the 1ESS central control ever ported to or considered for porting to UNIX, or was the hardware interface to the telco lines too specific to consider a future swap-out with, say, a PDP11 running arbitrary software? Columbus's SCCS (switching, not source code) also comes to mind, although all I know that survives of that is the CB-UNIX 2.3 manual descriptions of bits and pieces.
By the way, it's funny, I have UNIX to thank for my current experiments with telephones and other signalling stuff, what with making me study the Bell System more generally. It's starting to come full circle in that I want to take a crack at reading dialing, at least pulse, into some sort of software abstraction on a SBC that can, among other things, provide a switching service on top of a UNIX-like kernel. I don't know what I'd do with such a thing other than assign work conference call rooms their own phone numbers to dial with a telephone on a serial line...but if I can even get that far I'd call it a success. One less dependency on the mobile...
- Matt G.
It's been a while since I asked, and I would be extraordinarily surprised if the situation had changed, but I thought I might try my luck one more time...
The 3B2 is a dreadful computer, but nevertheless I find myself compelled to try to make the SIMH 3B2 emulation more accurate. The emulation for the 3B2/400 is probably as accurate as it's ever going to be, but the 3B2/700 has very clear and known bugs. One of the things holding back fixing those bugs is documentation in the form of source code. I have the leaked kernel source code for the 3B2/400 ("Version 2") architecture, but I have never seen any kernel source code that targets the 3B2/700 or /1000 ("Version 3") architecture. All I have are the system header files from /usr/include/sys, nothing more.
If by some chance you have a /usr/src/uts tree for the 3B2/600, /700, or /1000, I would love to see it. It would refer to the system board using the code name "FALCON", probably with a lot of #ifdef's (at least the system headers do)
Seth Morabito * Poulsbo, WA * https://loomcom.com/
maybe of interest, in the early 1990s i worked at UNSW and met several people in the computer science dept who knew John Lions.
i *was* the character on the cover of the reprint, i have a photocopy of the original pamphlet, complete with hand written annotations by someone who attended Lyons course.
perhaps everyone on tuhs has their own photocopy, but if anyone wants this one, give me a shout.
No, sorry, there hasn't been a new edition, just corrections. The
original version contained a number of scan errors, and thanks to
Conway Yee I have now applied a number of corrections. You can find
the document in various forms at
I've scanned through the output, and it seems correct. If you find
any further errors, please let me know.
Also thanks to Brian Foley, who sent me similar corrections 10 years
ago, but which I never got round to incorporating.
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> From: Douglas McIlroy
> The union table of man pages in "A Research Unix Reader', CSTR 139,
> marks with "L" local man pages that were not distributed outside of
> research. Does anyone have a copy of those pages? ... would love to get
> them all
The CB-UNIX manual has a bunch of xL "Local" pages, e.g. the Section 3 ones here:
I know this is CB-UNIX, but perhaps they are the same?
The union table of man pages in "A Research Unix Reader', CSTR 139,
marks with "L" local man pages that were not distributed outside of
research. Does anyone have a copy of those pages? I'm particularly
interested in galloc(3), but would love to get them all, which I
unwittingly trashed when I retired.
> You didn't say, but I reckon this is a survey of man(7) macros that
> might be considered extensions?
My presentation was too cute for my own good. I pointed out the
consistency of xS/xE for various x. I apologized for EX/EE, which
varied from that form (as UR/UE did more recently), and I
questioned OQ/CQ, which utterly breaks it.
The intended point was that one should have a strong rationale
for deviating from established custom, and thereby fostering
I omitted one crucial fact from my post about Joe Ossanna's influence
on the TTY 37. That happened not in connection with Unix, but with
Multics. When Unix came on the scene, model 37 was already in
I haven't known when or how to bring up this project idea, but figure I might as well start putting feelers out since my Dragon Quest project is starting to slow down and I might focus back on UNIX manual stuff.
So something painfully missing from my and I'm sure plenty of other folks' libraries is a nice, modern paper UNIX manual that takes the past few decades into consideration. The GNU project, BSDs, etc. ship manpages of course, and there's the POSIX manpages, but I'm a sucker for a good print manual. Something I'm thinking of producing as a "deliverable" of sorts from my documentation research is a new-age UNIX manual, derived as closely as possible from the formal UNIX documentation lineages (so Research, SysV, and BSD pages), but:
1. Including subsequent POSIX requirements
2. Including an informational section in each page with a little history and some notes about current implementations, if applicable. This would include notes about "dead on the vine" stuff like things plucked from the CB-UNIX, MERT/PG, and PWB lines. The history part could even be a separate book, that way the manual itself could stay tight and focused. This would also be a good place for luminaries to provide reflections on their involvement in given pieces.
One of the main questions that I have in mind is what the legal landscape of producing such a thing would entail. At the very least, to actually call it a UNIX Programmer's Manual, it would probably need to pass some sort of compliance with the materials The Open Group publishes. That said, the ownership of the IP as opposed to the trademarks is a little less certain, so I would be a bit curious who all would be involved in specifically getting copyright approval to publish anything that happened the commercial line after the early 80s, so like new text produced after 1982. I presume anything covered by the Caldera license at least could be published at-cost, but not for a profit (which I'm not looking for anyway.)
Additionally, if possible, I'd love to run down some authorship information and make sure folks who wrote stuff up over time are properly credited, if not on each page ala OWNER at least in a Acknowledgements section in the front.
As far as production, I personally would want to do a run with a couple of different cover styles, comb bound, maybe one echoing the original Bell Laboratories UNIX User's Manual-style cover complete with Bell logo, another using the original USENIX Beastie cover, etc. but that also then calls into question more copyrights to coordinate, especially with the way the Bell logo is currently owned, that could get complicated.
Anywho, anyone know of any such efforts like this? If I actually got such a project going in earnest, would folks find themselves interested in such a publication? In any case I do intend to start on a typesetter sources version of this project sometime in the next year or so, but ideally I would want it to blossom into something that could result in some physical media. This idea isn't even half-baked yet by the way, so just know I don't have a roadmap in place, it's just something I see being a cool potential project over the coming years.
- Matt G.
I got to wondering, based on the sendmail discussions, how many shell
escapes have appeared over the years?
xdvi : "The "allowShell" option enables the shell escape in PostScript specials"
There must be a lot of them, however.