[TUHS] Russian Ancient UNIX stuff in the Archive

SZIGETI Szabolcs szigi at ik.bme.hu
Tue Mar 18 18:12:32 AEST 2003

> A friend of mine told me that Back in The Days the first UNIX users in the
> USSR were running patched (russified) 2.xBSD on Soviet PDP-11s and had
> for Russian. Since the flagship editor on <any>BSD is ex/vi, this makes me
> think that those early Russian users used it and thus their patches


I've got a story about this, which happened in the early '80s, int the then
communist Hungary. A friend of mine worked at the university as a sysadmin,
they were using Russian and Hungarian made PDP 11 clones, and mostly 6th ed.
Unix. (Incidentally, I wish once someone wrote the history of how the
Eastern Block countries managed to clone western machines and get software
for it. I've heard a lot of fascionating stories, involving some really
genious work, which of course the Western countries didn't appreciate at all

One day, some really important and secret people come from the interior
ministry, or military, with a tape, which they wanted to transfer to an
other tape, and only the university had such a tape drive which could read
the original. Well, the sysadmins realized, that this is some important
stuff (BOFHs existed here also :-), so while one kept the officials
occupied, the other went into the machine room, and hacked the device
driver, so that the tape would secretly be copied to disk.

They started the transfer, under close supervision, so that no other tape
copies were done, and so on. When the people left, they examined what they
had. It was a Russian port of the 7th edition, only maybe a couple of years
after 7th ed. were created. So they concluded that all the COCOM and other
export control regulations weren't really effective :-)


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