[TUHS] crt0 -- what's in that name?

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Tue Jun 13 11:48:58 AEST 2023

On Mon, Jun 12, 2023, 9:37 PM Norman Wilson <norman at oclsc.org> wrote:

> Clem Cole:
> > Apologies to TUHS - other than please don't think Fortran did not
> > impact UNIX and its peers.
> Fortran had an important (if indirect) influence in early Unix.  From
> Dennis's memories of the early days of Unix on the PDP-7:
>   Soon after TMG became available, Thompson decided that we could not
>   pretend to offer a real computing service without Fortran, so he sat
>   down to write a Fortran in TMG.  As I recall, the intent to handle
>   Fortran lasted about a week.  What he produced instead was a definition
>   of and a compiler for the new language B.
> (The Evolution of the Unix Time-Sharing System; see the 1984
> UNIX System issue of the BLTJ for the whole thing, or just read
> https://www.bell-labs.com/usr/dmr/www/hist.html)
> Now let's move on to the name `rc'.  Not the shell, but the
> usage as part of a file name.  Those two characters appear
> at the end of the many annoying, and mostly pointless, configuration
> files that litter one's home directory these days, apparently
> copied from the old system-startup script /etc/rc as if the
> name means `startup commands' (or something beginning with r,
> I suppose, instead of startup).  But I recall reading somewhere
> that it just stood for `runcom,' a Multics-derived term for what
> we now call a shell script.
> I can't find a citation to back up that claim, though.  Anyone
> else remember where to look?

Not a citation, either, but I believe the original RUNCOM came from CTSS (
https://multicians.org/shell.html), and MDN-4 on the design of the Multics
shell mentions the term and MDN-5 goes into detail here.

Newer Multics calls this "exec_com", as in the shell startup file `
start_up.ec` that Multics users have in their login directories.

        - Dan C.
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