[TUHS] History of chown semantics

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri Jan 10 00:56:18 AEST 2014

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 <ron at ronnatalie.com> 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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