[TUHS] Dennis' Draft of the Unix Timesharing System: not so draft?
clemc at ccc.com
Tue Dec 20 06:59:37 AEST 2016
On Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>
> Not really a response to your question, but I'd looked at that
> 'UnixEditionZero' and was very taken with this line, early on:
> "the most important features of UNIX are its simplicity [and] elegance"
> and had been meaning for some time to send in a rant.
> The variants of Unix done later by others sure fixed that, didn't they? :-(
One of my favorite comparisons and definitions of "bloat" came when I
discovered years ago that the SVR3 >>boot<< system was larger than the V6
> On a related note, great as my respect is for Ken and Doug for their work
> early Unix (surely the system with the greatest bang/buck ratio ever),
> I have
> to disagree with them about Multics. In particular, if one is going to
> have a
> system as complex as modern Unices have become, one might as well get the
> power of Multics for it. Alas, we have the worst of both worlds - the size,
> _without_ the power.
Mumble -- Other than one important idea (single-level-store as you said),
I'm not so sure. I think we ended up with most of what was envisioned,
and some of the SW things (like the "continuation" model and how
dyn-linking ended up working in practice) - I think we are ahead of
Multics. Winders more than UNIX (IMO) ended up with the complexity and
bloat and most of the bad ideas without the good. But I think UNIX mostly
was able to stick to what was important (except for the loss of "small is
beautiful" - my rant). Some of the HW idea moved on - Intel picked up
segments and rings. Look at INTEL*64, we use 2 rings and stopped using
using segments because it too hard to program around them --- both proved
to be unusable/impractical when they were released.
> (Of course, Multics made some mistakes - primarily in thinking that the
> of computing lay in large, powerful central machines, but other aspects of
> the system - such as the single-level store - clearly were the right
I agree, and this may yet come back. It's too bad too many of the
younger engineers have not studied it. I was recently reviewing some stuff
from a couple of our younger Linux jockeys and they have re-invented
something like it. I smiled and said -- yes it >>is<< a great idea, but
it has been done.
> And wouldn't it be nice to have AIM boxes to run our browsers and
> mail-readers in - so much for malware!)
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