[TUHS] Unix game origins - stories similar to Crowther's Adventure

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Thu Feb 2 09:24:18 AEST 2023

[TUHS to Bcc]

On Wed, Feb 1, 2023 at 3:23 PM Douglas McIlroy
<douglas.mcilroy at dartmouth.edu> wrote:
> > In the annals of UNIX gaming, have there ever been notable games that have operated as multiple processes, perhaps using formal IPC or even just pipes or shared files for communication between separate processes
> I don't know any Unix examples, but DTSS (Dartmouth Time Sharing
> System) "communication files" were used for the purpose. For a fuller
> story see https://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~doug/DTSS/commfiles.pdf

Interesting. This is now being discussed on the Multicians list (which
had a DTSS emulator! Done for use by SIPB). Warren Montgomery
discussed communication files under DTSS for precisely this kind of
thing; apparently he had a chess program he may have run under them.
Barry Margolin responded that he wrote a multiuser chat program using
them on the DTSS system at Grumman.

Margolin suggests a modern Unix-ish analogue may be pseudo-ttys, which
came up here earlier (I responded pointing to your wonderful note
linked above).

> > This is probably a bit more Plan 9-ish than UNIX-ish
> So it was with communication files, which allowed IO system calls to
> be handled in userland. Unfortunately, communication files were
> complicated and turned out to be an evolutionary dead end. They had
> had no ancestral connection to successors like pipes and Plan 9.
> Equally unfortunately, 9P, the very foundation of Plan 9, seems to
> have met the same fate.

I wonder if there was an analogy to multiplexed files, which I admit
to knowing very little about. A cursory glance at mpx(2) on 7th
Edition at least suggests some surface similarities.

        - Dan C.

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