[TUHS] A repository with 44 years of Unix evolution gets the MSR '15 Best Data Showcase Award

Diomidis Spinellis dds at aueb.gr
Tue May 19 06:07:53 AEST 2015

Since early 2013 I've occasionally asked this list for help, and shared
the progress regarding the creation of a Unix Git repository containing
Unix releases from the 1970s until today [1].

On Saturday I presented this work [2, 3] at MSR '15: The 12th Working
Conference on Mining Software Repositories, and on Sunday I discussed
the work with the participants over a poster [4] (complete with commits
shown in a teletype (lcase) and a VT-220 font).  Amazingly, the work
received the conference's "Best Data Showcase Award", for which I'm
obviously very happy.

I'd like to thank again the many individuals who contributed to the
effort. Brian W. Kernighan, Doug McIlroy, and Arnold D. Robbins helped
with Bell Labs login identifiers. Clem Cole, Era Eriksson, Mary Ann
Horton, Kirk McKusick, Jeremy C. Reed, Ingo Schwarze, and Anatole Shaw
helped with BSD login identifiers. The BSD SCCS import code is based on
work by H. Merijn Brand and Jonathan Gray.

A lot of work remains to be done.  Given that the build process is
shared as open source code, it is easy to contribute additions and fixes
through GitHub pull requests on the build software repository [5], but
if you feel uncomfortable with that, just send me email. The most useful
community contribution would be to increase the coverage of imported
snapshot files that are attributed to a specific author. Currently,
about 90 thousand files (out of a total of 160 thousand) are getting
assigned an author through a default rule. Similarly, there are about
250 authors (primarily early FreeBSD ones) for which only the identifier
is known. Both are listed in the build repository's unmatched directory
[6], and contributions are welcomed (start with early editions; I can
propagate from there). Most importantly, more branches of open source
systems can be added, such as NetBSD OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD, and illumos.
Ideally, current right holders of other important historical Unix
releases, such as System III, System V, NeXTSTEP, and SunOS, will
release their systems under a license that would allow their
incorporation into this repository.  If you know people who can help in
this, please nudge them.


[1] https://github.com/dspinellis/unix-history-repo
[5] https://github.com/dspinellis/unix-history-make

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