[TUHS] Were all of you.. Hippies?

Josh Good pepe at naleco.com
Sun Mar 26 08:26:32 AEST 2017


On 2017 Mar 25, 03:55, ron minnich wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 4:56 PM Josh Good <pepe at naleco.com> wrote:
> 
> > Which brings up a question I have: why didn't UNIX implement ethernet
> > network interfaces as file names in the filesystem? Was that "novelty"
> > a BDS development straying away from AT&T UNIX?
>
> See https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc681, section 4j:
>  FILEDES = OPEN( "/DEV/NET/HARV",2 );
> 
> People were thinking about it. There was no shortage of people at
> the time who were struggling to find a way to make the Unix model
> work for networking (not me, I had no clue; I was just an interested
> observer). It didn't quite work out and as a result we were left with
> the non-unix-like socket interface we have today, and a feeling among
> many of us that we'd missed an opportunity.

> It's really hard to get this stuff right, and the approach outlined
> in the RFC is not really what you want. Rob had a nice talk 20+ years
> ago about the right and wrong way to do this; I can't find it and he
> can't find it, and I keep hoping it'll appear.

> It's a shame that Unix did not get a Unix-like model for networking,
> but maybe it was just too soon.

Thank you Ron for your very informative answer. I too would like to read
that Rob's paper if it ever resurfaces.

By the way, that RFC-681 you point to, has these two very interesting
paragraphs:

	RELIABILITY 

	AS  OF  THIS  WRITING, NETWORK UNIX HAS BEEN RUNNING ON A FULL
	TIME BASIS FOR ABOUT FOUR WEEKS.  DURING THAT PERIOD,  THERE WERE
	BETWEEN  THREE AND FOUR CRASHES A DAY.  THIS IS NOT A VALID
	INDICATOR BECAUSE MANY OF THE FAILURES WERE DUE TO HARDWARE
	COMPLICATIONS.  MORE RECENTLY THE HARDWARE HAS BEEN RE-CONFIGURED
	TO IMPROVE RELIABILITY AND THE CRASH RATE HAS BEEN REDUCED TO ONE
	A DAY  WITH A DOWN TIME OF 2-3 MINS.  THIS IS EXPECTED TO
	CONTINUE, BUT THE SAMPLING PERIOD HASNT BEEN LONG ENOUGH FOR ANY
	DEPENDABLE ANALYSIS.

	AVAILABILITY

	ALTHOUGH  THE UNIX NETWORK SOFTWARE WAS DEVELOPED WITHOUT ARPA
	SUPPORT, THE CENTER FOR ADVANCED COMPUTATION IS  WILLING  TO
	PROVIDE IT GRATIS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE ARPA COMMUNITY.

	HOWEVER BELL LABORATORIES MUST BE CONTACTED  FOR  A  LISCENSE  TO
	THE BASE SYSTEM ITSELF.  BELL'S POLICY IN THE PAST HAS BEEN TO
	LISCENSE THE SYSTEM TO UNIVERSITIES FOR  A  NOMINAL  FEE,
	$150.00,  AND  UNFORTUNATELY  FOR  A  COST OF $20,000.00 TO
	"NONUNIVERSITY" INSTITUTIONS.


Those are truly delicious historical tidbits about UNIX: how the
beginnings were on humble/unreliable hardware (like Linux was on PC
hardware in the early '90s), and how as early as 1975 the licensing from
big AT&T much differed from the customs in the nascent Arpa/Internet
community.

The "licenses war" was latent in UNIX from the very beginning.

And as a side note: that RFC-681 shows case sensitivity was not a
particular cause of concern back in the day. Why then was UNIX, born in
those days, so particularly case-sensitive?

-- 
Josh Good



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