[TUHS] System Economics

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Fri Mar 17 06:21:27 AEST 2017

    > From: Clem Cole

    > Do you know the time frame of the banishment? Noel any memories of what
    > allowed it be used?

Sorry, this is something I know nothing of; it must have happened while I was
still an early undergrad.

The first Unix I knew of at MIT was the one in the DSSR/RTS group in LCS,
which arrived (I think) roughly around the start of my sophmore year (so
early '76 or so) - I have a memory of one of my friends (who was an undergrad
working in that group) telling me about it, and showing it to me. (I remember
being totally blown away with the way you could write a command 'foo',
compile it, and jut say 'foo' to run it...)

Actually, it may have shown up well before that - perhaps they had it well
before I first saw it.

Certainly by the time I showed up at LCS (fall of '77) it had already spread
to CSR; they had an 11/40 with Unix on it, cloned from the DSSR system.
Again, I don't know if there was any paperwork that had to happen, or if that
system was already covered under whatever license the DSSR machine was under.

Of course, this was all DARPA-funded work, and there may have been something
there that allowed it. We certainly passed Unix source around with other
DARPA projects (e.g. at BBN) without, AFAICR, worrying much about paperwork.

    > we had a sign a document with the university stating something that we
    > understood it was AT&Ts IP

I don't recall anything like that at MIT; maybe in the very early days, there
was something, but certainly not by '77.

If it's important to know what happened, I can ask (e.g. Prof. Ward, head of


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