[TUHS] PDP-11 questions
jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Mon Jan 25 11:11:40 AEST 2016
> From: Norman Wilson
> I have to disagree in part
You make a number of good points. A few comments:
> the PDP-11 is a big part of what made UNIX so widespread, especially in
> university departments
That last part was really a big factor, one not to be understated. That
penetration led to production of a whole generation of people who i) were
familiar with Unix, and ii) liked it, and were not about to put up with the
OS's being turned out by various vendors.
> I too suspect that a majority (though I'm not so sure about `vast') of
> PDP-11s never ran UNIX.
'Embedded systems'. The number of PDP-11's running timesharing was a small
share of the total number, I expect.
> I don't think those who weren't around in the latter 1970s and early
> 1980s can appreciate the ways in which UNIX captured many programmers
> ... as no other competing system could.
Very true. My jaw basically hit the floor when I first saw (ca. '75) what Unix
was like. People who didn't live through that transition can't _really_ grok
it, any more than my kids can really fully grok a world without mobile
phones. It wasn't as powerful as Multics, but I was completely blown away that
anyone could get that much capability into a PDP-11 OS.
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