[TUHS] etymology of cron

Johnny Billquist bqt at update.uu.se
Thu Dec 24 03:09:56 AEST 2015

On 2015-12-23 17:04, norman at oclsc.org  (Norman Wilson) wrote:
> John Cowan:
>    Wikipedia is by nature a*summary of the published literature*.  If you
>    want to get some folklore, like what "cron" stands for, into Wikipedia,
>    then publish a folklore article in a journal, book, or similar reputable
>    publication.  Random uncontrolled mailing lists simply do not count.
> ======
> That sounds fair enough on the surface.
> But if you follow the references cited to support the cron
> acronyms, you find that random unsupported assertions in
> conference papers do count.  That's not a lot better.

I've had similar experiences with Wikipedia in the past. At one point I 
was trying to get the PDP-11 article corrected, as it said that the 
PDP-11 was an architecture that disappeared in the 80s (paraphrasing). I 
pointed out that the last *new* PDP-11 model from DEC itself was 
released in 1990, and that others are still making new PDP-11 CPUs.

My corrections were reverted, and I was asked for citations. I went 
through a silly loop of requests for sources for my claims, while there 
seems to have been no demand for citation for the original claims, more 
than the "knowledge" of someone. It wasn't until I dug up the system 
manuals and documentation from DEC about the PDP-11/93 and PDP-11/94 
(which have actual time of original publishing date printed) that my 
claims were (somewhat) accepted.

I've also had numerous fights about the Wikipedia articles about virtual 
memory, where the original authors on the article clearly had not 
understood the difference between virtual memory and demand paged 
memory. The articles are better today, but when I last looked, they 
still had some details wrong in there. And getting anything corrected is 
hell, as any silly statement that is already in is almost regarded as 
gospel, and anything you try to correct is questioned to hell and back 
before anyone will accept it. (Hey, according to Wikipedia, a PDP-11 do 
not have virtual memory... I wonder what it has then. Fake memory? 
Although, the article might now actually accept that a PDP-11 do have 
virtual memory, although no OS I know of implements demand paging, but 
that could be done as well, if anyone wanted to.)

Nowadays, I use Wikipedia to find information, but just take everything 
in there with a large grain of salt when it comes to details. There are 
just too many ignorant people who are writing stuff, and who seem to get 
anything accepted, and too much hassle to get anything corrected when 
you actually knows the subject.


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at softjar.se             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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