[TUHS] 8th Edition timeline

Paul Ruizendaal pnr at planet.nl
Mon Mar 30 17:43:06 AEST 2020

> On 29 Mar 2020, at 23:48, Rob Pike <robpike at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

I had not realised that the Research group expanded in 1980, but it fits.

> It was also the time of the VAX; the center's 11/780 arrived in late
> 1980 I think, maybe early 1981.

I did realise that bit, and it made me wonder if the ’73 burst was in part driven by the arrival of a 11/45.

> Our first experiments with graphical terminals spanned 1980 to early 1981,

Yes, as you may remember from this list I dove into that last November - schematics, tools & firmware.

> using Greg Chesson's mux, 

Chesson’s MPX files remain a puzzle piece that is somewhat difficult to fit in the overall story, having so many aspects. It sits between Rand ports and SysIII fifo’s, experiments with non-blocking I/O, has aspects of pseudo-terminals, etc. I have not been able to figure out what immediate need they served, unless it was used in the first generation Datakit software (as MPX precedes the Jerq, that cannot have been the immediate need.)

> 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
> Edition.

To be honest, late 1981 sounds a bit too early for the merge. The 4.1 code was ready in June 1981 and the ’select’ system call was first proposed in July 1981, so it is possible. However, in the BSD line ’select’ was not fully implemented until March/April 1982.

It is certainly possible, even likely, that ‘streams’ date from 1981 or earlier. Networks don’t mesh well with TTY line disciplines and clist buffering - that pain will have become apparent already in 1979. Maybe it was among the first things to be fixed when the VAX arrived.

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

If someday you have time for this, it would be much appreciated!


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