[TUHS] Unix install & "standalone" package

Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS tuhs at tuhs.org
Mon Sep 4 19:57:48 AEST 2023

Recently, I was looking into the “Das U-Boot” boot loader package. Summarised with great simplification, u-boot bundles device drivers, file systems, commands and a Bourne-like shell into a standalone package. Normally it auto-runs a script that brings up a system, but when used in interactive mode it allows a great deal of poking around.

It made me think of the “standalone” set of programs for installing early Unix. On 16-bit understandably each basic command has to be a separate standalone program, but after the shift to 32-bit bundling more functionality in a single binary would have become possible.

How did the Unix “standalone” package evolve in the 80’s, both in the research and BSD lineages? Is there any retrospective paper about that? Or is it a case of “Use the source, Luke”?

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