Ron's right - it was PWB that started the file give away semantic not BSD or the Research kernels..  PWB gave way to PWB 2,0, then PWB 3.0 aka  System III  .    As for who's idea it was, you probably should ask some one like Mash.  I suspect there was some reason for it in the original tools --> a guess -.. maybe it some how it helped the IBM RJE stuff that PWB developed/supported - any one else remember?

I agree with you, I always thought it was crazy and always seem to be caused me a number of issues with things like tape utilities.    Since the Masscomp kernel was a System III/BSD blend, and the Stellix kernel was System V3/BSD - we supported it and was were I first really had to deal with it.   I don't remember if we made the kernel behavior dependent on the universe setting - but I suspect not.

Anyway, the idea of file give-away made it into the SVID as a result of being part of the PWB heritage. There was a definite argument in the POSIX meetings if it was good idea to allow it just because SVID allowed it.  Some of us thought it was a crazy concept (aka a bad idea).   But at the time, there was a large group that fought anything that was not SVID ("System V - consider it standard") - they just wanted to take SVID and bless it.

I do not believe that Sun pick up the semantic until the Solaris project when the start to take SVR4 and fold Sun things into it.  I did not think BSD ever took it.   If it did it was post 4.3.

I remember the argument int he early POSIX meetings, I've forgotten why some of backed down and let it stand.    Bostic or Quarterman might remember as I seem to think they were at that set of meetings also. 


On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 7:46 AM, Ronald Natalie <> wrote:
To my knowledge none of the "research" versions allowed chown() other than for the superuser.

The non-su behavior seems to have orginated in PWB UNIX.

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