Monday, December 5, 2011

The History of Unix

Just stumbled on this fantastic IEEE article on the The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix;  A fantastic read, worth the 15 minutes of time in knowing how Unix came about.

Unix: an emasculated version of Multics!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Unix: an emasculated version of Multics!"

This is news to someone?

jre said...

Hee, hee! That pun reminds me of a weird dinner I had about 22 years ago. I was about to leave MIT, and figured I had to meet Richard Stallman while I had the chance. I found the number of the AI lab, and he actually picked up the phone.
"Hey, man, I heard about what you're doing, and I want to know more about it. You want to go grab a sandwich or something?"
There was a pause.
"I don't eat sandwiches."
His affect was not so much flat as otherworldly.
So I swung by the AI lab, and we went out for Chinese.
Stallman's lair at the lab was in a way what you might expect -- a cot with a rumpled blanket and a desk chair, both surrounded by monitors -- and in other ways hard to describe. There was a sense of strange forces at work.
Another guy from the lab went with us. Most of the conversation was between him and Stallman, and might have been in Urdu for all I could understand of it. But I do remember that at one point he was telling about a conversation with his girlfriend: "So she said she was talking with her mom, and trying to explain what we do here, and her mom says 'What, he's working with eunuchs?'""
Stallman cracked up, in an otherworldly kind of way. I wish I could say that I came back smartly with "Gnus, not eunuchs!" but I'm not that quick.