[TUHS] 8th Edition timeline

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Tue Mar 31 05:31:13 AEST 2020

On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 12:02 PM Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl> wrote:

> Comments in line:
> > On 30 Mar 2020, at 15:26, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
> Your date of June '81 for the 4.1BSD release seems late, but I'll accept
> it.  3BSD was 1979, and I thought 4BSD was a year later, with 4.1BSD a few
> months after 4BSD (few people actually got 4BSD)
> I am aware of that. “20 years of Berkely Unix” says November 1980 for 4BSD
> and June 1981 for 4.1BSD. From the SCCS log I’d say November 9th and July
> 1st respectively.

Ok, that sounds right 6-7 months between them.   That was the time of the
'FASTVAX' work and the fight with Stanford over if BSD or VMS was to be the
official Arpa OS.  I remember Joy was incredibly prolific during that
time.  From a user standpoint, 4BSD and 4.1BSD are really similar, but he
was hacking the kernel.  It seemed like a new change came out all the
time.  The CAD group (where I was) always wanted the fastest system, so
there was pressure on me to follow him, but I was trying to make progress
on the AP work (my thesis) so I was a little loath to take the churn.

> As far as I can tell CSRG integrated the BBN stack with (almost) 4.1 in
> April 1981 - most of that is in a separate tree, with a few #ifdef’s in the
> main tree.

I'm pretty sure that was mostly Eric Cooper (ecc) IIRC.  We had a tape
directly from Gurwitz running in the CAD lab in Cory Hall, running on Xerox
3M Ethernet and because we needed it between our three 780s systems. We had
ordered the 3C501's from 3COM and we were going to be the Beta for the
Interlan board - which I wrote the original driver and gave it to Sam.  I'm
not sure when IngVAX arrived, Eric Schmidt had Ing70 downstairs (and that
was the ArpaNet connect via a VDH up the hill to the IMP at LBL.  We had
been running BerkNET over serial lines.  Ernie and Kim were the two 780s
over in Evan's (the big pile of 750s and the C30 IMP were still in the

> From SCCS it seems that implementation work on sockets started in Oct/Nov
> 1981 and 4.1a was released in April or March 1982.

That sounds about right.  It was a bunch of wnj marathon hacking sessions.

> From the partial coverage in SCCS I’d say there is no BBN code in 4.1a
> anymore.

Mumble ...   I sort of have a hard time with that.  I knew and worked with
both of them in my day and have heard both sides of the story. Joy had
Gurwitz's code and was hacking it - that is just a fact.  Claiming pure
authorship is a tad extreme.   For instance, Andy VanDam told me that the
whole mbuf's stuff is something Rob originally wrote for a project for him
at Brown when he was an undergrad.  Rob brought it BBN and he used it for
the OS-independent TCP (i.e. the HP3000 version) originally and it landed
in the UNIX version.  Joy hacked on it, but that's a data structure
directly from Rob.    On the other hand, Joy types open curly brace, close
curly brace, and hacks in code the fastest of anyone I ever knew (someone,
maybe Mary Ann Horton, once said he 'wrote code at 9600').  But if you look
at it, its sometimes not pretty.  It works and its usually fast, which is
hard to argue with.

> The socket API in that release was different from what ended being in 4.1c
> and 4.2,

Definitely.   I thought other hands besides Joy started to mess with it
(like Sam)

> and seems to have had some wider visibility in 2.9BSD and UniPlus System V
> - both of which used the 4.1a API (and probably code base).

Yeah, Keith was taking things was Sam at pretty hectic pace trying to keep
the 11's running.    I would guess that took more of a 'good enough'
attitude, they got the TCP stack in the limited address space and did not
want to try much more

> Yes, Summer 81 - Summer 82 must have been a vibrant year, with much
> interaction between various Unix groups.

It was a fun time to be apart of it all.

> By the way, dmr was on the 4.2BSD steering group.

Yes, I know.   That's how I first got to know him.
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