[TUHS] TUHS Digest, Vol 112, Issue 1

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Mon May 5 11:11:30 AEST 2014

    > From: Doug McIlroy <doug at cs.dartmouth.edu>

    > I didn't realize that MIT had PDP-11 Unixes.

Yes; I don't know exactly when the first one arrived, but I'm pretty sure it
was around the end of my freshman year (i.e. the summmer of '75), because I
remember a friend showing me Unix sometime in my sophmore year, and they
already had it as a going concern then.

The first one (I think) at MIT was the 11/70 belonging to the Domain-Specific
Systems Research group at LCS (DSSR). I got a copy of theirs for the Computer
Systems Research group (CSR) at LCS, that would have been in the fall of '77.
I don't think the AI Lab ever had one; with us all together in 545 Tech Sq I
think I would have heard (although maybe the Turtle guys on the third floor
had one).

There were probably others on campus, but Unixes could be pretty small, and
MIT is big enough that the left hand wouldn't know of the right (and 545 Tech
Sq was kind of insulated from the rest of campus anyway). One I recollect on
main campus later on was somewhere in the EE department - maybe Speech? They
had the CHAOS protocols installed on it - that was later, say '79-'80 or so.

    > Other places didn't worry about it, with John Lyons' V6 book being the
    > biggest leak.

Not to mention things like the ACM paper, which was public domain...

    > From: Win Treese <treese at acm.org>

    > As I understood it, MIT's main objection was that they didn't want to
    > get entangled in anything that would require students to sign
     non-disclosure agreements.

That sounds likely.

    > At some point, MIT did have a license with Western Electric that did
    > not have such a requirement. I'm pretty sure it was at least V7, and
    > possibly 32V; not sure about V6.

Well, I don't know about the license (MIT had a student who was an intern at
Bell, and I think a lot of stuff slipped out the back door with him :-), but
MIT definitely had V6 in 1976 or so, and V7 wasn't released until 1979. So we
had it long before V7. Plus to which I have listings of the kernel; it's
definitely pre-V7, but it's not vanilla V6, it has some other stuff in it (I
think it's probably PWB).


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