[TUHS] Princeton's "Unix: An Oral History": who was in the team in "The Attic"?

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Fri Oct 7 18:30:55 AEST 2022

Has this been covered before? I’ve searched but not found an obvious answer, which would be a timeline, not a table.

Has anyone roughly calculated “man years” spent developing Unix to 1973 or 1974?
Under 25 "man-years”? (person years now)

It compares favourably to the quoted “5,000 man years over 4 years” invested by IBM for the 1st million lines of OS/360 - which by 1978 was estimated a 10M LOC.

In my reading on Multics, I’d not noticed a ‘man years’ estimate, thought the project ran from 1965 to 1985 when Honeywell ‘capped’ development and span off a commercial entity [ Bell Labs leaving April 1969 ].
There were many releases of Multics beginning with "MR 1.0” in 1974 to “MR 11.0” in 1984, with some others later. 

Cobato in 1977 wrote that by 1969, when it moved out of ‘development only’, 150 man-years were spent on software.

The original Unix group working with the PDP-11 on the 6th floor should be well known, but I can’t recall seeing a list.
Would the first 1973 conferenceor 1974 CACM paper be the natural cut-off date for an ‘original' group?

There’s a list of "Former members of 1127” maintained on-line.
As an outsider who doesn’t know ppl & dates, can’t extract what I was interested in.

There was a constraint on active users / concurrent logins in the “Attic": the number of connected terminals & desks there.
Assuming it took time to get terminals installed elsewhere, then later dedicated phone lines and 300 baud modems outside.

The typesetter used by the patent dept isn’t mentioned.
I’ve a recollection it was fed by mag tape, but unsure of that source.

Infer at least the people named in the piece, which looks very sparse:

	Ken & Dennis :)

	Plus Joe Osanna working on roff / troff? [ do I have that wrong ]

The 1971 “1st Edition” Manual Intro lists 4 names. No others appear in Sections 1, 3, 6, 7 [ commands & libraries ]

	ken K. Thompson
	dmr D. M. Ritchie
	jfo J. F. Ossanna
	rhm R. Morris

In June 1974, Dennis wrote in the preface to the Version 5 manual, with he and Ken named as authors.

	The authors are grateful to 
		L. L. Cherry, 
		L. A. Dimino, 
		R. C. Haight, 
		S. C. Johnson, 
		B. W. Kernighan, 
		M. E. Lesk, and 
		E. N. Pinson 
	for their contributions to the system software, 

	and to 
		L. E. McMahon for software and for his contributions to this manual. 

	We are particularly appreciative of the invaluable technical, editorial, and administrative efforts of 
		J. F. Ossanna, 
		M. D. Mcllroy, and 
		R. Morris


An Oral History of Unix

Assembling the History of Unix [ Report of FRS121 course ]

	The center of Unix activity was a sixth-floor room at Murray Hill which contained the PDP-11 that ran Unix.
		"Don't think of a fancy laboratory, but it was a room up in the attic," as Morris describes it. 

	In addition to the programmers, four secretaries from the patent department worked in the attic, 
		performing the text-processing tasks for which Unix was ostensibly developed. 

Robert Morris:
	We all worked in the same room. 
	We worked all up in an attic room on the sixth floor, in Murray Hill. 
	In space that maybe was one and a half times the size of this hotel room. 
	We were sitting at adjacent terminals, and adjacent, and we knew each other and we always in fact ate lunch together. 
	Shared a coffeepot. 
	So, it was a very close relationship and most of us were both users and contributors and there was a significant initiative for research contribution at all points.


Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design 
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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