[TUHS] Any Good dmr Anecdotes?

Paul Ruizendaal pnr at planet.nl
Tue Jul 3 05:55:13 AEST 2018

Not quite a dmr anecdote, but maybe this list can clear up a statement that dmr reputedly made: “streams means something different when shouted”.
I think the claim goes back to around the turn of the millennium and as far as I know it is not disputed that dmr either said this or could have said this.

Now, from reading this list over the years my understanding of the above statement is that dmr designed streams as a mechanism to clean up the kernel handling of line disciplines in a context of access via a terminal and/or modem, and that STREAMS developed this into a way to integrate network stacks with the kernel — hence streams meant something different when shouted.

The original dmr paper (1984) on streams (http://cm.bell-labs.co/who/dmr/st.html) seemed to support this understanding, focussing on terminal handling in its discussion. Also, near the end it says: "Streams are linear connections; by themselves, they support no notion of multiplexing, fan-in or fan-out. [...] It seems likely that a general multiplexing mechanism could help in both cases, but again, I do not yet know how to design it.” This seemed to exclude usage for networking, which is typically multiplexed.

However, now that the V8 sources are available it is clear that the streams mechanism was used (by dmr?) to implement TCP/IP networking. He explains how that tallies with the above quote on multiplexing in a 1985 usenet post: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topicsearchin/net.unix-wizards/subject$3Astreams/net.unix-wizards/b7W_j_0qASU
(if the post by dmr does not immediately appear, click on the 8-10-85 post by 'd... at dutoit.uucp’ to make it fold out: this is the message I refer to).

The way I read this usenet post, dmr was actually reasonably content with implementing a network stack on top of (lowercase) streams. This then implies that he was alluding to something else when saying “streams means something different when shouted” (or maybe he never said it).

Any opinions on what he might have meant?

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