[TUHS} Running V8 ...
will.senn at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 02:38:48 AEST 2017
On 10/16/17 6:58 AM, Doug McIlroy wrote:
> The advent of non-typewriter input put a damper on Universal Unix. One has
> to learn something to get started with a novel device. I am impressed,
> though, by the breadth of Universal Unix that survives behind those
> disparate facades.
I totally agree. In 2005, I bought a Powerbook because I liked the
aesthetics of it over Windows laptops of that era. I had been using
Linux for fun but not without a significant bit of pain since the early
1990's (0.9 kernel), but never seriously. When I opened up my first
terminal on the Powerbook, I began to love my Powerbook and Unix -
beauty AND power! As a result of that exposure, I'm comfortable with
pretty much any *nix and am only frustrated when distributions mess with
the core tools or leave out system documentation.
To digress a little, my recent exposure to V6 an V7 have only served to
reinforce my appreciation for the universal aspects of Unix. How is it
remotely possible that OS's that are approaching 40 years old have so
much in common with their modern ancestors? The thing that most
impresses me though, is the durability of the documentation. I was
reading K&R's "Programming Unix" in volume 2 of the V7 programmer's
guide. When I came across a concise and informative description of fork:
Now we will show how to regain control after running a
program with execl or execv. Since these routines simply
overlay the new program on the old one, to save the old
one requires that it first be split into two copies; one of
these can be overlaid, while the other waits for the new,
overlaying program to finish. The splitting is
done by a routine called fork.
Nowadays, fork is usually discussed first, with exec seeming to be
included as a second class citizen (see Rago & Stevens APUE), which to
me always seemed a little inverted. The K&R note shows exec first and
then fork - seems logical - which is how most of K&R and most of the V6
& V7 documentation is - too bad most of today's documentation is either
deemed unnecessary (vis a vis the intuitiveness of the Mac/iPhone or is
of poor quality.
Your note makes me wonder what you thought of Plan 9's mouse input, or
what K&R thought of it, about "having" to use a mouse for input. I'm
playing with Plan 9 on my raspberry pi 2 model b and while it seems to
work, I find the interface constantly getting in the way of my mind and
fingers :). You even have to use the mouse to wake the screen up! Don't
get me wrong, I find Plan 9 to be quite interesting and parts of it
conceptually elegant, but not the interface!
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