[TUHS] The evolution of Unix facilities and architecture

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Tue May 16 23:46:58 AEST 2017

I believe it is a true story...   The issue was that any early version of
the FE tools was set to use the RS04 as a temporary disk when running the
system exercisers if it found one.   The author of that error is a friend
of mine (and would later become a UNIX guy at Masscomp).  He said to me
about it once. he had checked with the DEC OS teams and thought it was an
'ok' because when they did it, none of the DEC OS used the RS04 for
permanent storage - the device had been designed to be a swapping device.

>From what I understand, the issue was actually short lived, but widely
known in the UNIX community.   He told me it the accident only occurred at
one site that he knew about (AT&T) and they made a quick change to have it
ask before it wiped it out and that verion of the tools was release to the
field quickly.  But he was personally wise to UNIX from them on (and it
later years would come to love become a UNIX a user although I don't think
he ever gave up the EDT macros we wrote for EMACS for him and the other
ex-VMS folks).


On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 9:20 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>

>     > From: "Steve Johnson"
>     > a DEC repairperson showed up to do "preventive maintenance" and
> managed
>     > to clobber the nascent file system.
>     > Turns out DEC didn't have any permanent file systems on machines that
>     > small...
> A related story (possibly a different version of this one) which I read
> (can't
> remember where, now) was that he trashed the contents of the RS04
> fixed-head
> hard disk, because on DEC OS's, those were only used for swapping.
>         Noel
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