[TUHS] Re: V7 UNIX on VAX 11/750

Dennis Ritchie dmr at plan9.bell-labs.com
Fri Jun 27 14:46:34 AEST 2003

To clean up some of the questions:

We (in our group) owned successively two photographic

The original Graphics Systems
C/A/T, which  was used to render the camera-
ready copy for several editions of the manual,
also the first edition of K&R as well as
other books.  This exposed characters
by flashing a Xenon lamp through a spinning
cylinder with the character images arranged
around the axis; the character was imaged
onto a fiber-optic bundle, which moved
horizontally with respect to the paper. The paper
was moved vertically.

The Linotron 202;  it had a CRT on which lines
of characters were drawn, with an unmoving,
line-wide fiber bundle. Rollers moved the paper

Both of these were managed by us (including
the hardware connection, via DR11-C; it stood
in for the paper tape that the manufacturers
had intended).

These used chemical processing to develop
the paper. This was messy and (especially
for the C/A/T version) smelly, so we were
glad when the local Comp Center began offering
service on an Autologic APS-5, a machine similar
in design to the 202, but better engineered,
and the comp center managed the chemistry.
This was used for the second edition of K&R,
for example. I think what we sent was troff output
which the CC converted to Postscript.

Later this service was outsourced, then dropped.
In recent years laser printers have become
good enough that decent camera-ready copy
can be generated using them (e.g. for
Kernighan and Pike, The Practice of Programming).

As for the system aspects: K&R 1 (1978) was done on
what would soon be 7th edition Unix, on 11/70;
K&R 2 (1988) using 9th edition on VAX 8550.
Kernighan and Pike's Unix Programming
Evironment (1984) used 8th edition
on VAX 11/750.

About the releases (or pseudo releases) that
Norman mentions: actually 8th edition was
somewhat real, in that a consistent tape
and captured, probably corresponds fairly
well with its manual, and was educationally
licensed for real, though not in large quantity.
9th and 10th were indeed more conceptual in that
we sent stuff to people (e.g. Norman) who asked,
but they weren't collected in complete and
coherent form.


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