[TUHS] Were all of you.. Hippies?

Steve Johnson scj at yaccman.com
Sat Mar 25 14:52:26 AEST 2017

I wasn't very keyed into the networking world at Bell Labs, but I do
know there was a lot of suspicion about Ethernet in the Unix group. 
The key problem from BTL's point of view, and this problem is still
with us today, is that you could not guarantee a minimum bandwidth of
connectivity.  At the speeds things were running at that time, this
would have made Ethernet impossible for voice, not to mention video.

Sandy Fraser's Datakit, which was a time division switch I think,
would give you a reliable end-to-end connection (although when you got
to the other end, it could still bog down in the other computer).  It
was an extremely reliable and easy-to-use system.   Exactly who did
what is murky to me, but I seem to recall that Peter Weinberger did
something much akin to NFS (I think it eventually morphed into RFS). 
I remember Bill Joy visiting the Unix group and seeing it and being
very excited.  Story is that he went back to Sun/(Stanford?) and
implemented NFS and got it to market at least two years before than. 
Also, I think Greg Chesson implemented something like ssh so you could
run processes on remote machines.

A lot of this work happened for (or was influenced by) the Blit
terminal, where you could download a 68000 program from the PDP-11 and
run it on the terminal with communications between the terminal and
the application on the PDP-11.  There were some very neat demos, and
a few real tools, but it was hard to program and debug.   If I have
a regret about Unix, I'm sorry that this particular line wasn't pushed
harder, since it's now the world we live in (in spades!) and I would
have liked to see what those minds came up with to make this easier...


On Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 4:56 PM Josh Good <pepe at naleco.com [1]> 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?


[1] mailto:pepe at naleco.com

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