[TUHS] Were cron and at done at the same time? Or one before the other?

scj at yaccman.com scj at yaccman.com
Sun Dec 13 05:10:16 AEST 2020

As the inventor of "at", I can tell you that cron existed for quite some 
time, but was little used.  An arcane set of manipulations was required 
to get things to run, and there was little demand.   But there were a 
bunch of us all using the same PDP-11, and I wanted to add a job to run 
at 3AM that would be a bit of CPU hog.  I struggled and finally got 
something to work.  And thinking about it, I realized that what I really 
wanted to say was
    at 3am command-line
I made a shell script that did the bare minimum and advertised it on 
motd.  Within a day or two, Dennis grabbed it and made sure that the job 
would run in the proper directory with the correct permissions, and 
otherwise behave the way I wanted it to.

As many of you know, the rule with Unix was "you can touch anything, but 
if you change it, you own it."  This was a great way to turn arguments 
into progress.  I think I "owned" at for at most two days.  I had a 
similar experience with
spell--I think my ownership of spell lasted about 2 weeks.

In both cases, I was delighted to provide the "sperm of the idea" and 
let someone else carry and deliver the baby.


On 2020-12-11 18:56, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> On Wed, 9 Dec 2020, Clem Cole wrote:
>> My point is that   "intelligent design" doesn't necessarily guarantee 
>> goodness or for that matter,complete logical thinking.
> Don't mention "intelligent design" in my hearing; it's just a fad
> term for creation theory...
> Look at Unix, for example :-)  It didn't so much spring from the brow
> of Zeus i.e. Ken and Dennis, but has since evolved over decades (and
> it's still recognisable as Unix).
> -- Dave, using Unix since Edition 5

More information about the TUHS mailing list