[TUHS] 8th Edition timeline

Rob Pike robpike at gmail.com
Mon Mar 30 07:48:20 AEST 2020

I have a dog in the fight, having joined in June 1980, but that is not
a coincidence. The period of 1980-1982 was a big one for 127 (soon
1127) as they were finally given the chance to grow, and I was one of
the lucky early hires in that burst. New blood brought in new ideas
and things happened fast.

It was also the time of the VAX; the center's 11/780 arrived in late
1980 I think, maybe early 1981. Our first experiments with graphical
terminals spanned 1980 to early 1981, using Greg Chesson's mux, but by
late 1981 we were using Dennis's streams (only STREAMS when they went
to USG) and the select system call, which was by then running in a
merged Berkeley/Research Unix that eventually became the Eighth

My notebooks can probably lock down a lot of this as I was a prolific
note-taker back then, when they still made paper.


On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 5:14 AM Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl> wrote:
> On 29 Mar 2020, at 16:04, arnold at skeeve.com wrote:
> >
> > Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl> wrote:
> >
> >> Related is the question when the "file system switch" was added. It must
> >> have been later than 1981 and before 1985, but I have not been able to
> >> pinpoint it further.
> >
> > IIRC there was a "paper" (only an abstract) on the file system
> > switch published in a USENIX conference proceedings. That woud help
> > trace it down.
> I have that paper (“The Unix 8th Edition Network File System”), it was presented at a March 1985 ACM conference. However, there are indications that the roots of the file system switch existed earlier, possibly much earlier.
> I think Doug McIlroy once described 1973 as a pivotal year for Unix, with many concepts devised that would blossom in the following 3-5 years. I’m increasingly tempted to think that Summer ’81 - Summer ’82 was a similarly pivotal year.
> > Peter Weinberger, who did it, is at Google; you could ask him
> > directly, as well.
> That is a good idea. If someone has the email address I’d appreciate an off list message.
> Paul

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