[TUHS] The Mark Williams Company and Coherent

Rob Pike robpike at gmail.com
Fri Mar 15 17:00:12 AEST 2024

Another detail. There was lawyerly concern about the code being stolen, and
we (127) were asked to find ways to test, absent their source, whether they
had just stolen our source and built the binaries. It was soon concluded
that there were enough details different to definitively say that at least
most of the work was done in a clean room, as advertised, but the piece I
liked best is that their PPT(1) program (ASCII art showing a paper tape
rendering the argument text) did not include the original, and just
discovered, bug that mispunched, if I remember right, the letter 'R'.


On Fri, Mar 15, 2024 at 4:16 PM Heinz Lycklama <heinz at osta.com> wrote:

> Interesting little history about Coherent. They were
> one of a few companies building UNIX-like systems
> from scratch without using UNIX source code in the
> early 1980's. Robert Schwartz represented the Mark
> Williams Company on the /usr/group standards
> effort resulting in the /usr/group Standard in 1984.
> Robert was very insistent that members of the
> /usr/group standards group did not have to be
> UNIX source licensees.
> Heinz
> On 3/14/2024 8:45 PM, Marc Rochkind wrote:
> > In another thread there's been some discussion of Coherent. I just
> > came across this very detailed history, just posted last month.
> > There's much more to it than I knew.
> >
> > https://www.abortretry.fail/p/the-mark-williams-company
> >
> > Marc
> >
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