[TUHS] [COFF] Unix and SW Releases (was V7 et al from Will)

Wesley Parish wobblygong at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 13:41:29 AEST 2020

I'm trying to get my head around this, in relation to the U of
Canterbury, NZ's setup. I know they had had some PDPs, because one was
offered for sale c 1992. I expect it would've been running 2.xBSD,
because the U of C NZ was by and large a BSD house - when I asked
about a suitable OS for my brand-new 486 in 1991 I was told if I could
afford the (AT&T) license I could have the source tree of (would've
been) 4.3BSD. I know they had VAXes, and from what I recall, though
the admin ones were VMS boxen, the Computer Science one/s would've
been running Unix. They also had Sun pizza boxes.

Am I right in assuming that 2.xBSD was the state of the play on PDP
while 4.xBSD was the source tree compatible state of play on the
VAXes? That if you had a VAX you got the 4.xBSD tapes, whereas if you
had a PDP you got the 2.xBSD tapes?

Wesley Parish

On 8/7/20, Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 2:22 PM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
>> That said, when the distribution of UNIX moved to USG in Summit, things
>> started
>> to a bit more formal.   But there were still differences inside, as we
>> have tried to unravel.  PWB/TS and eventually System x.   FWIW, BSD went
>> through the same thing.  The first BSD's are really the binary state of
>> the world on the Cory 11/70, later 'Ernie.'  By the time CSRG gets stood
>> up because their official job (like USG) is to support Unix for DARPA,
>> Sam
>> and company are acting a bit more like traditional SW firms with
>> alpha/beta
>> releases and a more formal build process.     Note that 2.X never really
>> went through that, so we are all witnessing the wonderful efforts to try
>> to
>> rebuild early 2.X BSD, and see that the ephemeral nature of the bits has
>> become more obvious.
> I'm rebuilding 2.11BSD as released, not any of the early bits... :) 1991 is
> quite late in the 2BSD timeline (oh, wait, it's still going strong in
> PiDP-11 land).
> Having said that, though, 2BSD through at least 2.8BSD gives the feeling of
> the tape of the day club. If you look closely at what's in the TUHS
> archive, and what's in Kirk's archive as well as other copies around,
> you'll likely notice small variations. Or you'll see a dozen or two files
> having newer dates than the documented release date. And the 2.79BSD
> tape... I'm more than half convinced it was really the 79th tape that had
> been made and they said 'nuts to that, for a while we'll do 2.8BSD since we
> now have a kernel'. This is pure speculation, I've not asked around...
> 2.9BSD, 2.10BSD and 2.10.1BSD all seem to be a little more controlled,
> though 2.9BSD has a lot of forks and it's not entirely clear they all
> started from the same spot. There's references to 2.9-SEISMO and 2.9.1 and
> 2.9 with patches and it isn't at all clear if these are the same thing or
> different (I think the same, but there's a 2.9 from princeton that's
> clearly a rollup release years later in kirk's archives).
> And even my 2.11BSD reconstruction shows that proper CM wasn't deployed for
> it. I've found half a dozen missing patches that were not released as real
> patches, but showed up in the 'catch-up' kit that seems to be hiding these
> sorts of minor sins in the first couple of years after 2.11BSD was
> released. I'm down to 10-20 files that I'm unsure about ever recovering.
> These are clearly local files (different kernel configs, UUCP data, games
> high score files), and I doubt I'll be able to recover them completely....
> Though in the scheme of things, they likely are the least important files
> since they only had relevance to the site making the tapes and were deleted
> from later versions (which is why I can't find them :).
> In a way I've started thinking about this like quantum physics. Why you
> look at it at the macro level, it's all predictable, orderly and makes
> sense. But when you zoom in too much to any point on the timeline, you find
> that things get messy, chaotic and a bit indeterminate.
> Warner

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