[TUHS] Early Unix Growth: Number of “Installations” or Licences?

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Wed Jun 22 13:25:38 AEST 2022

I’ve been wondering about the growth of Unix and if there’s any good data available.

There’s the Early Unix Epoch, which probably ends with the Unix Support Group assuming the distribution role, plus providing / distributing their version of the code.

Later there’s commercial Unix:
	System III and System V, I guess.

BSD, until the lawsuit was resolved, required a Source code license, but their installation count is important in pre-Commercial Unix.

Large licensees like SUN, HP & IBM (AIX) may not have published license counts for their versions - but then, were their derivatives “Unix” or something else?

Warner Loch’s paper has data to around 1978 [below].

I’ve no idea where to find data for USG issued licences, or if the number of binary & source licences were ever reported in the Commercial Era by AT&T.

I’ll not be the first person who’s gone down this road, but my Search Fu isn’t good enough to find them.

Wondering if anyone on the list can point me at resources, even a bunch of annual reports.

I don’t mind manually pulling out the data I’m interested in. But why reinvent the wheel if the work is already done?



numbers extracted from Warner Loch’s paper.


       2nd Edn June 1972      		 10 installations
       3rd Edn February 1973  		 16
       4th Edn November 1973		 >20, or 25

 		July 74 				CACM paper "Unix Time Sharing System” after which external interest exploded

       6th Edn 1975				???
       7th Edn March 1978			600+,  >300 inside Bell System, "even more have been licensed to outside users”


Steve Jenkin,
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

mailto:sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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