[TUHS] MASSCOMP MC-500 Guide to Writing a Unix Device Driver

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Tue Apr 30 00:45:50 AEST 2019


I should have copies of it, I'm also in email contact with both Tom T. (aka
tjt - who is someone I reference often on this list) and Janet (Tom often

As for history, until Janet created that document for Masscomp, nothing
existed other than a short paper I believe Dennis wrote for V6 and updated
for V7.   Cliff and Tom A had spent hours in Tom and my shared office
picking our brains.  What they came up with was not quite right (to be
polite) and tjt attempted to fix it - which at least was technically
correct.   Janet has the head of Masscomp's documentation group, re-wrote
Tom's version to make it easier to understand.  I should have the version
in my files [Janet might even have the original troff sources].

When Tim O'Reilly (who had been writing a lot of our doc under contract and
started to do the original 'nutshell' series) cut a deal to take the
documentation he was writing for us 'out of Masscomp' and publish it (thus
creating the original X-Windows documentation and the first real hit for
ORA), precedent had been set.

Shortly after, Tom and I had left for Belmont, ney Stellar, and Janet and
Tom decided to redo it as a book.

On Mon, Apr 29, 2019 at 9:50 AM Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> wrote:

> Greetings,
> I'm trying to find the predecessor to "Writing a UNIX Device Driver, J.
> Egan & T. Teixeira, 1st ed, 1988". In the preface, it says:
> "This book is based on a MASSCOMP manual, Guide to Writing a Unix Device
> Driver.  The first version that MASSCOMP published as part of the
> documentation set for the MC-500 was based on preliminary drafts prepared
> for MASSCOMP  by Cliff Cary and Tom Albough of Creare R&D."
> I checked bit keepers and found nothing.
> I was wondering if people on this list know of this manual, have a copy,
> etc. In general, I'm looking for pre-SysV driver manuals. I can find all
> kinds of SysV driver books (some of which cover 4.2BSD or 4.3BSD as well),
> but nothing for System III or V7 unix. There were a lot of early systems
> that were based on ports of V7 to different architectures that were then
> updated to System III or System V (at least according to the big chart of
> unix history and some wikipedia entries, which may be just repeating
> marketing schlock and not reflect actual reality).
> As part of a talk I'm putting together on the 40th anniversary of V7, I
> wanted to have a bit of history for things we still have in unix today
> (like strategy) and things that successors to unix have added or left
> behind (like the packet mux in V7 that was tossed aside for either STREAMS
> or netinet from BSD, though packet muxing to userland is back with DPDK).
> Warner
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