[TUHS] Gnu/Stallman (was Bugs in V6 'dcheck')

Ronald Natalie ron at ronnatalie.com
Mon Jun 2 22:27:14 AEST 2014

Well PCC wasn't bad (we used it to build the compilers for the HEP Supercomputer), but you are correct GCC was reasonably good.
In addition to Idris mentioned, there was also Mark Williams's Coherent.   The bigger issues with these "clones" and the legitimate Unices like XENIX, IS/1, etc... were that the PC platform wasn't quite there yet.     Still with all it's flaws, on the 286 and later UNIX actually did run in protected mode, something it took ages for DOS/Windows (one can argue backwards compatibility with the early processors) or Apple (no excuse here, the early Macs were 68000's which had protection) to pick up upon.

Wasn't just us in academia who were concerned.   Spent an evening sitting in the hallway of some dormitory (UDel?) with Dennis Mumaugh from the NSA discussing security holes we'd fixed.

Carping about obscure bugs in Version 6 is sort of silly (as I stated, they were even fixed as of V7) and frankly, software security / reliability was a different world back then.    We had less of a time with our TOPS-10 system only because we didn't give students so much free rain on the accounts (compared to the UNIX system which you just had to ask pretty much) but I still remember crashing the EXEC-8 system at UofM with a corrupted file I kept around.

Of course there were always hardware bugs to deal with.   There were some on the PDP-11 and even on the 386 (when I was working with AIX ...really the UCLA Locus version of UNIX) there was disgusting hacks that doiubled up the paging protection with the old segment-offset stuff because of a security bug there.

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