[TUHS] Regular Expressions (was Re: origin of the name 'glob')

Steve Johnson scj at yaccman.com
Mon Jul 10 08:06:35 AEST 2017

If you haven't seen it, check out Ken Thompson's brilliant paper on
compiling regular expressions.  The date was 1968... In effect, he
built a JIT to do regular expression searches (on an IBM 7094, no


The earliest reference is a paper by Kleene in 1956.   In fact, I
recall that * was sometimes called "the Kleene star" in the day...


----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Winalski" <paul.winalski at gmail.com>
To:"ron minnich" <rminnich at gmail.com>
Cc:"The Eunuchs Hysterical Society" <tuhs at tuhs.org>
Sent:Sun, 9 Jul 2017 17:55:50 -0400
Subject:[TUHS] Regular Expressions (was Re: origin of the name 'glob')

 On 7/9/17, ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com> wrote:
 > All the DEC-10 and 11 operating systems I used had that wildcard,
as well
 > as IIRC even the PDP-8, maybe someone can confirm the -8.
 > It would have been nice had RE's been the standard way to glob
files, but,
 > that said, when I mention .*.c to people instead of *.c they don't
 > like it.

 So when were REs first designed and implemented? I would imagine that
 they came about as a way to extend the old '*' and '?' wildcard
 syntax, but that is only a guess.

 -Paul W.

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