this is my first post on this list.
After looking at the archives for this mailing list, I have seen that
the B language has been discussed several times already.
After viewing Ken Thompson's interview by Brian Kernighan at VCF East
2019, I became interested in the B language, as it seemed full-featured
for system programming, close to C, and simple enough to write a parser
for it without a code generation tool.
So for fun and self-education, I am now writing a (or yet another) B
compiler, in C, after reading Jack Crenshaw's "Let's build a compiler"
documentation ( https://compilers.iecc.com/crenshaw/ )
Here it is: https://git.sr.ht/~f4grx/bpars
It is now starting to generate code for the 68hc11 8-bit platform. It
can also generate C code.
I have written some test programs, found some B examples, but I thought
it would be great to use my compiler with actual B software.
Of course, B was a "transition" language, that did not have a continued
use as soon as it evolved into C. so if any software remains, it will be
quite hard to find.
And here is my question, is any of you aware of original B source code
archives? or are in touch with people that would know?
In particular, I read on this document written by Dennis Ritchie:
> After the TMG version of B was working, Thompson rewrote B in itself
(a bootstrapping step).
I have also read that the YACC tool was initially written in B.
There might be other historical B sources that I am not aware of.
Do you know if any of this code has survived to this day? Where could I
find more information about this?
Thank you very much,
Sebastien Lorquet (F4GRX)
After talking with the folks I bought the recent documents from, they let me know they are also selling a piece of hardware: https://www.ebay.com/itm/125714380860
After the link is an auction for an Instrumentation Laboratory Pixel 100/AP. A small booklet included with the many documents I received indicates as of 1982 the Pixel 100/AP ran a System III derivative. The booklet goes on to present a summary of user commands and options. Despite the System III basis, included among these are the C shell and ex/vi.
I have no room for hardware or honestly at that price point it'd be worth the preservation effort. Hopefully it finds a good home, it includes an almost complete documentation set save for the small booklet I've got (which could be separate promo material for all I know)
In any case, there were a few letters amongst the documents suggesting the original owner was involved in the production of this system, particularly in the area of OS details. If I find any noteworthy information I'll pass it along.
- Matt G.
P.S. If anyone knows of a preservation effort accepting new machines I can pass this along.
Hello, I've just today received another box from the person I got that set of UNIX manual binders from and hoo boy there's some cool stuff in here. It'll probably be a bit before I scan it all, but among the many bits is a folder bearing "Software by the Bell System" on the front cover with a photo of some tape reels lying around. The back is a simple black 70's Bell system logo. Flipping to the interior, the left panel of the folder bears facsimile AT&T letterhead with a "letter" from Otis L. Wilson, Technology Licensing Manager, denoting what promotional materials are enclosed. Among the various terms of the licenses mentioned is:
'all software comes "as is" -- with no maintenance agreements or technical support'
Between this and the Bell logos all over this stuff, I presume it is prior to 1982.
As for the contents themselves, there are pages for V6, V7, Mini-UNIX, PWB, 32V, and System III, the last of which is a photocopy whereas all the others are on some nice glossy cardstock, so I presume this was hot out the door on the heels of System III as a commercial release. Aside from pages describing each of these UNIX versions, there is a separate page describing "The Phototypesetter Package", in other words, pre-DWB distribution of TROFF and friends. Aside from the UNIX stuff, there are also various utilities amongst IBM 360/370 and Honeywell 600/6000 systems and some various scientific and mathematical systems. Also included is "Summary of UNIX System III" which looks to be a bit of an amalgamation of info from some of the "Documents for UNIX 3.0" set distributed with System III. Unfortunately, being for external release, the document is very of the mindset of "here's what changes from V7/32V to System III" rather than that sweet sweet "here's what changes from PWB 2.0 to 3.0" that I hope to find (or create) sometime. Anywho, finally amongst the promo material was an (undated) letter from M.B. Wicker (Technology Licensing, AT&T) to an unlisted recipient, obviously just copy they sent to everyone, essentially communicating the terms of UNIX System III in more detail. Between all of these materials, the following are UNIX-related prices I could find:
UNIX Sixth Edition
- Initial CPU - $20,000
- Additional CPUs - $6,700
- UNIX Programmer's Manual - $30
- Documents for Use with UNIX - $30
- System III upgrade - $26,000
- System III add CPU - $10,300
- Initial CPU - $30,000
- Additional CPUs - $10,000
- PWB/UNIX User's Manual - $40
- Documents for PWB/UNIX - $40
- System III upgrade - $16,000
- System III add CPU - $7,000
- Initial CPU - $12,000
- Additional CPUs - $4,000
- UNIX Programmer's Manual - $30
- Doucments for Use with Mini-UNIX - $30
- Initial CPU - $28,000
- Additional CPUs - $9,400
- UNIX Programmer's Manual, Vol. 1 - $40
- UNIX Programmer's Manual, Vols. 2A and 2B - $60
- System III upgrade - $18,000
- System III add CPU - $7,600
- Initial CPU - $40,000
- Additional CPUs - $15,000
- UNIX/32V Programmer's Manual - $40
- UNIX/32V Programmer's Manual, Vols. 2A and 2B - $60
- System III upgrade - $6,000
- System III add CPU - $2,000
UNIX System III
- Initial CPU - $43,000
- Additional CPUs - $16,000
- UNIX User's Manual - $40
- Programmer's Manual for UNIX System III, Volume 2A and 2B - $40 each
- The separate page detailing System III further goes on to break down that a non-refundable payment of $25,000 to sublicense object code
Phototypesetter (Version 7)
- Initial CPU - $3,300
- Additional CPUs - $1,100
- Documents for Use with Phototypesetter - Version Seven - $20
Additionally there are options to upgrade a V6&V7 supporting license to System III for $14,000 and add additional CPUs to those terms for $6,300. The same for a group of V7 and PWB for $4,000 and $3,000 for first CPU and addtional CPUs respectively.
Of note is that all documents listed above could be purchased from the Computing Information Service in Murray Hill *except* those issued for UNIX System III, which instead were to be ordered from the Western Electric Patent Licensing Organization. This reflects the shift to WECo distribution from Bell Labs themselves, as would continue to be the case for 3B20S shipments of 4.1 and the eventual 5.0 and System V releases. In addition to the promotional materials are also "Specimen Copy" blanks of the various licenses involved in at least System III, perhaps other versions (there are blanks where LICENSED SOFTWARE is supposed to be written/typed in).
Finally, in the same folder is also a nice stack of UNIX summary documents spanning different versions. There are summaries for PWB, Mini-UNIX, V7, and 32V. Additionally, there is a document "Proposal to Provide VAX UNIX system support at Berkeley" by Bob Fabry. A quick internet search didn't turn up a PDF of this, so I have to wonder if it's preserved somewhere. If not, it will be. The other document here may prove even more interesting though: "The UNIX Time-Sharing System for UNIVAC 1100 Series Systems - 7th Edition Summary", dated October 19th, 1981. Can't say I've seen this anywhere, just mention of the UNIVAC version in the BSTJ article on UNIX porting experiences. A quick perusal yields a document very similar to the V7 and 32V summaries, but with UNIVAC-isms pointed out.
Anywho, there's more material in this box than just this stuff, but this floated to the top as particularly significant. Among other contents are a "UNIX System and 'C' Language" "Training from the Source" foldout from WECo's Corporate Education group, listing 16 courses available at various training centers. There is a copy (nicely produced) of the 1984 draft /usr/group standard along with a stapled, standard printer document titled "Reviewer's Guide to the PROPOSED /usr/group Standard" dated March 14, 1984. I must say, the publication quality for this being a proposed standard is quite nice, I'd expect a draft to be lucky to have staples if not being just paper-clipped together, but it has a nice printed cover with a logo and all. There is one other thing but I'm making a separate thread for that one, might warrant quite different feedback than this stuff.
- Matt G.
As promised in the other email, I had one other tidbit worth sharing some detail on but that is very different from WECo promo and informational material. What I've got here are two documents pertaining to the "Department of Defence Kernelized Secure Operating System" project as undertaken by Ford's Western Development Laboratories Division.
The documents in question are https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA111577.pdf and https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA111566.pdf and represent the User's Manuals and Final Report respectively on this KSOS system. These appear to be from the same microfiche as the documents linked based on splotches on the last page's date frame, although the copies I have here have the full frame, the PDFs linked seem to have the last panel cropped to a small square in the middle. Not super significant, but sometimes it's the little details.
Anywho, unfortunately I don't have much to report, I got a bit excited while looking for these at first because I was having a hard time turning up PDFs, thought I had stumbled upon something unseen for some time, but in the gulf between last email and this I found them. Silver lining is one less set of documents to scan, but nothing to really expose that isn't already a click away.
- Matt G.
Rather an aside, but the alt.sysadmin.recovery message referenced
chimes interesting chords for me.
If you care only about technical stuff, you should skip to
your next e-mail message now.
On one hand, the doubly-embedded net.unix-wizards message
from Dennis, dated 1984-12-08, containing the original dsw.s:
that was posted a few months after I joined Bell Labs, and
may even have been partly my fault. 1984 was the nominal
15th anniversary of UNIX; as a member of the steering committee
of the recently-formed UNIX* Special Interest Group in US DECUS,
I convinced Dennis to attend the Fall 1984 Symposium, in Anaheim
in early December, as part of a celebration. As another part, I
made copies of the V1-V7 manuals in the UNIX Room and had them
shipped out so people could leaf through the history. I think
Dennis dug out the PDP-7 source-code books as a contribution to
that effort; I am all but certain we brought copies of those too.
Of course I had the copies returned not to the Labs but to my
home address. I still have them, now on a shelf in my home office.
A good friend offered to take care of shipping them back to New
Jersey, of course making her own copies in return.
I also recall that the conference hotel happened to give me
room 127. I offered to swap with Dennis, since he deserved
that number more than I did (the extra digit had already been
prepended before I joined) but he cheerfully declined.
On the other hand--not as historic except to me--the author
of the singly-embedded 1999-11-23 alt.sysadmin.recovery message
is now (and has for some years been) a co-worker and a good
So this single 1999 TUHS posting touches points near both
the beginning and the end (so far) of my career, and two
different groups of smart people who are fun to work with.
While performing my CB-UNIX 2.3 manual separation, among the many curious things I came across was this manual page: https://www.tuhs.org/Archive/Distributions/USDL/CB_Unix/man/man1/dsw.1l.pdf
The dsw(I) pages I've seen in the various UNIX manuals are all for the interactive delete utility, but make brief mention of the history of the command being amusing. I've seen some communication on the matter of the years here, but had never come across a manual page for the former version of dsw.
In the linked page up there is the actual "delete from switches" version of dsw. What I find particularly interesting is that the footer indicates this was printed 8/11/81, but likewise indicates the command is "PDP-7 local".
This raises a couple of questions:
- Did Columbus ever touch PDP-7 UNIX?
- Did dsw(I) as "delete from switches" ever make it to PDP-11 UNIX? Even the V1 manual lists the "delete interactively" utility, not this.
- If neither are true, that begs the question of where this page came from, if there was ever a formalized PDP-7 manual that it would've descended from or not, etc.
Finally, this page plainly spells out the history of the command in the bugs section:
"This command was written in 2 minutes to delete a particular file that managed to get an 0200 bit in its name. It should work by printing the name of each file in a specified directory and requestion a 'y' or 'n' answer. Better, it should be an option of rm(1). The name is mnemonic, but likely to cause trouble in the future."
So the first bug is eventually mitigated by transforming this into the more familiar dsw. I can't say what the latter means, whether it's a concern of "dsw" colliding with some reserved word eventually or is more poking fun at the other folk etymology of "delete s__t work".
In any case, I hadn't seen the etymology explained to this degree in the mailing list references I found while searching around, so figured I'd share this analysis.
- Matt G.
P.S. There is mention here that Dennis Ritchie shared the original dsw manpage at some point https://www.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/1999-November/001203.html however the link in question appears to be dead. In any case, the source for the PDP-7 version is in that email if anyone wants to look at it, although looks to be the same as what is in the archive.
Came across something interesting by chance in the Sixth Edition document set I recently received. I took the binder to the park for a little light reading and found myself perusing the C reference manual. As an aside, I will always appreciate the style of the manual, and I still pick up something new or see something differently every time I flip the pages. The introduction includes these paragraphs:
> Most of the software for the UNIX time-sharing system is written in C, as is the operating system itself. C is also available on the HIS 6070 computer at Murray Hill, using a compiler written by A. Snyder and currently maintained by S. C. Johnson. A compiler for the IBM System/360/370 series is under construction.
> This is a manual only for the C language itself as implemented on the PDP-11. Hints are given occasionally in the text of implementation-dependent features, and an appendix summarizes the differences between the Honeywell and DEC implementations; it also contains some known bugs in each.
I didn't think too much of this initially, but then I found myself looking through some other old documents yesterday evening and found myself reading the memorandum version of the manual that Dennis linked to on his Bell Labs usr page: https://www.bell-labs.com/usr/dmr/www/cman74.pdf
In this version, the paragraphs have been altered and merged:
> Most of the software for the UNIX time-sharing system is written in C, as is the operating system itself. C is also available on the HIS 6070 computer at Murray Hill and and on the IBM System/370 at Holmdel. This paper is a manual only for the C language itself as implemented on the PDP-11. However, hints are given occasionally in the text of implementation-dependent features.
So between the two, the print document I have here indicates the compiler for IBM mainframes is still in the works, but by the January 15, 1974 document, it is noted as complete and in use in Holmdel. Additionally, this print document mentions an appendix detailing DEC vs. Honeywell differences and some other bug notes. Unfortunately this appendix doesn't actually appear to be in the binder, so either it wasn't done yet or was tossed by a previous owner some time ago. Luckily, this appendix, despite the reference being dropped, *is* on the cman74 version.
In any case, upon discovering this, I then spot checked the rest of the contents of the two by seeing if any paragraphs had strange offsets from each other or there were noticeable changes in the visual flow. I didn't read each and every line, instead opting to see if paragraphs still had the same number of lines, the same "outline" (i.e. lines seem to start, end, and break pretty much the same), and that pages started and ended the same, and everything pretty much matched. There may be punctuation changes or other minor edits, but I didn't see anything indicating major changes in the language. The only other thing noticeably different is the references list, with Dennis's cman74 copy containing two extra references mine does not: "A User's Guide to the C Language on the IBM 370." by T.G. Peterson and M.E. Lesk, 1974, and "Programming in C- A Tutorial." by B.W. Kernighan, 1974. The latter is listed as unpublished in cman74. In my copy, aside from the two omitted references, the reference to the CACM paper does not have a date, instead just saying "To appear in C. ACM." and "The GCOS C Library" is listed as an unpublished memorandum with a speculative year of 1974.
So all in all, this appears to be a C Reference Manual most likely from late 1973, or however unlikely, one that was very rapidly published in the first few weeks of 1974 before the mentioned changes on January 15th of that year.
Are there any known copies of the manual that predate this which I can compare back with, or in any case is this particular revision known and captured somewhere? If not, it should be trivial to take the sources from V6 and produce a facsimile copy until it bubbles up in my scanning list (much ahead of it, got the ROFF manual scanned the other day, hoping to hit TMG and m6 in the next few.)
There is also an NROFF manual here that I see referenced in the TOC of the V6 document set in the source, but don't actually see in files. It is dated 9/11/74 and is only labeled "NROFF Users' Manual", no TROFF in the title. It is also noted as the "Second Edition" in the header. This document makes reference to the "TROFF User's Manual", dated April 1974, also by Ossanna. Of note too is a "Quick NROFF Addendum" dated 5/19/75 that is included at the end.
Finally, a slightly later version of the UNIX summary appears, dated August, 1975 instead of May, 1975, the date of the one in the V6 sources. It has minor chnages, most noticeably that the last few pages regarding NROFF and TROFF stuff have been split into two sections, one with more NROFF-y stuff and one with more more TROFF-y stuff.
Anywho, nothing earth shattering here, but at the very least, a couple of document variants vs. what is currently on the archive.
- Matt G.
Hello, I'm just emailing to notify that I've managed to split up the CB-UNIX 2.3 manual in the archive into individual items. I've moved the original contents of this directory into the "raw" directory, and now the split PDFs of the manual live under "man". I intend to do the same with the source code scans, breaking them up into individual files, which will eventually go in an accompanying "sys" folder.
As for my process, decided to throw together a little something to facilitate splitting up PDFs from a simple table. I've created two scripts, pdfslice and pdfbutcher. The former is an interface on top of Ghostscript to take a particular page-bound slice out of a PDF on stdin and drop it on stdout. The latter then reads a tab-delimited list of slices out of a table, butchering the PDFs down into their various cuts. The format is dirt simple: the source PDF name, the start page, the end page, and the destination file prefix to which .pdf is appended on output. This isn't by any means a formal or robust solution, just something that came together easy and works for my application. I'm sure this could be made much more efficient; it just operates on one slice at a time, including all the opening and closing for each slice, but gets the job done. Feel free to use it for whatever just don't complain to me when it eats your favorite file or scribbles all over your disk. Also, an example input file for the curious is included.
As for the CB-UNIX pages, my hunch is that whoever owned this manual had a CB-UNIX 2.1 manual originally and "upgraded" it with supplied pages for 2.3, as was conventional with documentation updates. For this reason, there are a few random blank pages and several locally printed pages strewn throughout. In any case a blank page was encountered, it was retained in the document for the manpage it followed. In other words, if there is a blank page between a.1 and b.1, it is appended to a.1. The likely reason for blank pages on the back of 2.1 pages was that new copies of the same 2.1 pages were provided with the replacements to keep the page spacing correct with respect to the pages not being replaced. That's my hunch anyway.
There are also pages here and there missing a page, or more likely that were supposed to be removed in the 2.1->2.3 update and simply weren't. Plus, there are a few instances of more than one copy of a non-local version of a page present (in other words, situations where the original 2.1 page wasn't removed but a 2.3 or other newer page was also added). In all these circumstances, the 2.1 page is the one with the normal name and the 2.3 page has been affixed .1l instead of .1, despite not being in the "local pages" PDFs. I'm open to suggestions but my reasoning was that if the 2.1 was the original page for that actual binder, and wasn't replaced by 2.3 but rather that was added, then the 2.3 page for all intents and purposes is a local addition. When in doubt,  should be a reasonably complete list of which non-l-suffixed pages aren't from 2.1. Anything else non-local should originate from the previous manual. Also, where there were duplicates on pages that otherwise couldn't be solved this way, the older of the two pages is marked with a .o in the path before the manual section, keeping with the CB-UNIX convention of doing this for old versions of pages.
As usual, please let me know if anything seems amiss. I'll admit after a few spot checks I didn't check each and every page my script popped out for accuracy, but everything I've checked had the right pages. If you do find something off and want to try and slice it right, the scripts above include manpages that should give you a good idea on how to use them if simply reading the scripts isn't clear.
- Matt G.
 - https://www.tuhs.org/Archive/Distributions/USDL/CB_Unix/
 - https://gitlab.com/segaloco/misc/-/tree/master/scripts
 - https://pastebin.com/9s2ene9g
 - https://pastebin.com/jHw7JeDc
P.S. Wholly unrelated but just out of curiosity, if anyone knows the 16650 UART well and has some time, can you please email me privately? It's tangential to a UNIX-y project but I'll spare the details here.
Good day, something I've come across in my documentation study that I finally got around to researching a bit is a reference to the language Explor in the V2 ld(I) page:
'There are libraries for Fortran (x="f"), C (x="c"), Explor (x="e") and B (x="b").'
The manual has no corresponding mention of any Explor environment, not even a section VI page. The only other UNIX Explor reference I can easily find is on the mailing list here indicating that there is a version of Explor for UNIX on a 1977 tape here (in the 1/explor+dl directory): https://www.tuhs.org/Archive/Applications/Usenix_77/ug091377.tar.gz
Does anyone know if there is continuity here or if the V2 reference and the code on the tape are only related in that they're both for Explor?
- Matt G.
KSOS and related work was sponsored by several DoD activities, at least the
part that I worked on - after 1983.
We've wandered a bit afar for TUHS(?), but, the PWB and other software
wasn't pirated, it was supplied as "government furnished equipment" as part
of each contract.
PWB and other software we got via the NSA's Tycho site, etc. NRL (and then
others) funded later KSOS work, including the Advanced Command and Control
Testbed (ACCAT) and various multi-level secure "Guard" systems, for the
Navy, Air Force, USAFE, etc.
All of which ran on PDP-11s, using the KSOS kernel and userspace, almost
all built by using PWB as the build platform.
On Sat, May 20, 2023 at 12:09 PM Clem Cole <clemc(a)ccc.com> wrote:
> I don't think it was pirated. I'm think it was a special license Ford Aero
> got due to the work with the USG. I sort of remember KSOS and if I'm
> correct that was a DoD funded effort for the Orange Book. So it would make
> absolute sense that Ford Aero might have used the USG connections to
> convince AT&T to release it to them. As I said, Al was very skittish about
> anything that might be misinterpreted by the Justice dept. But if DoD was
> asking for it, Al could show the Jusitce -- "hey -- your people asked for
> it -- we were not selling it."
> On Sat, May 20, 2023 at 3:03 PM Jon Forrest <nobozo(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 5/20/2023 11:50 AM, Clem Cole wrote:
>> > Taking this off list.
>> > I've always wondered about that. Thank you bad word choice -- but it
>> > was not officially released outside the Bell System. Since Ford Aero
>> > had it, it must have been a very special license.
>> It was already there when I arrived so I don't know how it got there.
>> I doubt it was pirated.
>> > Was Ford Aero doing something on a Gvt bid when you were using it?
>> Yes. It was creating KSOS which Tom Ferrine has also mentioned on the
>> TUHS list. This was a "provably" secure version of Unix.
>> You might want to ask John Nagle. His email is probably
>> nagle(a)sitetruth.com, and his GitHub is https://github.com/John-Nagle.
>> He was there when I arrived and he was a key developer of KSOS.
>> If he doesn't know the answer then he might be able to refer you to
>> someone who does.