[TUHS] Project Idea: The UNIX Programmer's Manual: Heritage Edition

KenUnix ken.unix.guy at gmail.com
Wed Sep 20 09:47:42 AEST 2023


There was a book printed by Newnes titled UNIX pocket book. It covers
System-V Xenix, BSD 4.3, C-shell, plus the usual commands.

Also has sections dedicated to system administration, vi, rebuilding the
kernel, Bourne Shell, C-Shell, Korn Shell, etc...

It was written by Steve Heath 1998 "ISBN 0 7506 410 88" 340 pages. A good
read. Only problem, for my eyes it is physically too small.


On Tue, Sep 19, 2023 at 4:32 PM segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> wrote:

> I haven't known when or how to bring up this project idea, but figure I
> might as well start putting feelers out since my Dragon Quest project is
> starting to slow down and I might focus back on UNIX manual stuff.
> So something painfully missing from my and I'm sure plenty of other folks'
> libraries is a nice, modern paper UNIX manual that takes the past few
> decades into consideration.  The GNU project, BSDs, etc. ship manpages of
> course, and there's the POSIX manpages, but I'm a sucker for a good print
> manual.  Something I'm thinking of producing as a "deliverable" of sorts
> from my documentation research is a new-age UNIX manual, derived as closely
> as possible from the formal UNIX documentation lineages (so Research, SysV,
> and BSD pages), but:
>     1. Including subsequent POSIX requirements
>     2. Including an informational section in each page with a little
> history and some notes about current implementations, if applicable.  This
> would include notes about "dead on the vine" stuff like things plucked from
> the CB-UNIX, MERT/PG, and PWB lines.  The history part could even be a
> separate book, that way the manual itself could stay tight and focused.
> This would also be a good place for luminaries to provide reflections on
> their involvement in given pieces.
> One of the main questions that I have in mind is what the legal landscape
> of producing such a thing would entail.  At the very least, to actually
> call it a UNIX Programmer's Manual, it would probably need to pass some
> sort of compliance with the materials The Open Group publishes.  That said,
> the ownership of the IP as opposed to the trademarks is a little less
> certain, so I would be a bit curious who all would be involved in
> specifically getting copyright approval to publish anything that happened
> the commercial line after the early 80s, so like new text produced after
> 1982.  I presume anything covered by the Caldera license at least could be
> published at-cost, but not for a profit (which I'm not looking for anyway.)
> Additionally, if possible, I'd love to run down some authorship
> information and make sure folks who wrote stuff up over time are properly
> credited, if not on each page ala OWNER at least in a Acknowledgements
> section in the front.
> As far as production, I personally would want to do a run with a couple of
> different cover styles, comb bound, maybe one echoing the original Bell
> Laboratories UNIX User's Manual-style cover complete with Bell logo,
> another using the original USENIX Beastie cover, etc. but that also then
> calls into question more copyrights to coordinate, especially with the way
> the Bell logo is currently owned, that could get complicated.
> Anywho, anyone know of any such efforts like this?  If I actually got such
> a project going in earnest, would folks find themselves interested in such
> a publication?  In any case I do intend to start on a typesetter sources
> version of this project sometime in the next year or so, but ideally I
> would want it to blossom into something that could result in some physical
> media.  This idea isn't even half-baked yet by the way, so just know I
> don't have a roadmap in place, it's just something I see being a cool
> potential project over the coming years.
> - Matt G.

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