[TUHS] shared memory on Unix

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Thu Feb 2 05:30:43 AEST 2017

On Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 1:33 PM, <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:

> ​..
> At the time, the policy was to release externally one version
> behind what was being run internally, so System III was released to the
> world while the Bell System was using Unix 4.0.  I still have the manual;
> I'm pretty sure "PWB" and "Programmer's Workbench" are not on the cover,
> ​ ​
> it was just called "UNIX".
​Could be.... the "System III" manual cover I have says PWB 3.0​

I never had a 4.0 doc, although I saw it at some point.

> As UNIX 5.0 was approaching, someone decided that to be one release
> behind on the outside was dumb, thus the jump from System III to System
> ​​
> V.

​Making the outside and inside system in sync makes sense and I think I
remember some of that.   But the name was definitely forced by the
Marketing types in NC.  I somewhere have a memo that they sent to all
licenses about the term UNIX and how it could be used and what could be
called same.    It was clear that was all part of the UNIX wars and they
were trying to make System xxx have some sort of halo.

As a side note, what is funny is when it all went down, I remember having
an argument with some of the Masscomp (and ex-DEC) marketing types.   The
geeks (like me) just could not get through to them that what mattered was
how it worked and what was inside (which BSD was pretty much superior
technology by most accounts).   It was not that Sys III/V was bad, it was
just unadorned and claiming it was cool and trying to give it a cool name
was not going to make it cool.​

Around this time we came up with the Universes hack, so you can have it
both ways; but our kernel was more BSD that AT&T.

As I said, funny, because a few years later with Stellar, the same group of
people would >>start<< with a System V kernel and fold in BSD interfaces as
needed.  We wrote our own FS (which was UFS-externally - i.e. BSD user api)
but kernel insides completely new (extent based, more like VMS).

We had decided that by then the AT&T code base was *cleaner to make scale
on a multiprocessor*, as we had already lived the BSD MP nightmare once
with the Masscomp kernel.     But the key was that even thought we used
System V, we made darned sure the user mode API's (such as sockets, mmap,
signals, namespaces etc) were the BSD APIs and that the BSD user code from
UNIX and that VMS/FORTRAN sources would pretty much compile out of the box.

We were at that point targeting Sun, Apollo & VMS customers so we knew it
name meant nothing, it was all about how easy it was going to be for the
code recompile and "just work".

Back to the main point, AT&T Marketing was still chasing IBM at this time.
It was amazing to many of us watching the ship sink.   They really did not
see where the future was and that they owned the SW technology that was
going to dive it, but it was going to be sold to people other than whom IBM
had traditionally sold.  They also made the fatal mistake of trying to grip
it too tight and in doing so, it slipped through their fingers.

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