[TUHS] X and NeWS history (long)

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Wed Sep 13 13:55:03 AEST 2017

ron minnich writes:
> I don't disagree. I just think the knowledge of all that is lost, the same
> way so much knowledge of unix is lost. That's why we have things like
> systemd.

It's amusing to me how many of the topics on this list I've included in
my book in process because I feel that they're important.

I look at the systemd problem slightly differently.  In short, I was
coming into work one night at BTL when Ken was heading out the door for
his sabbatical at UCB with a stack of mag tapes under his arm.  I see
that as a pivotal moment in computer history.  Students could learn from
an actual real computer system; they had source code access.  And, they
had the ability to modify and contribute to that code.  A lot of students
from that era went out to do great things.  Years later, the lower cost
of PCs resulted in students using them for their work.  Not only was MS-DOS
not as advanced a system as UNIX, but source code access was gone.  Students
had to learn from contrived projects, and didn't have the ability to play
with the guts of the operating system that they were using.  While there are
exceptions, I don't feel like students from the PC era are nearly as good.
While Linux has sort of brought us back to the golden age of source access
many of the people working on it are from the PC era and are trying to wedge
their Microsoft-nonsensibilities into Linux.  That's where things like
systemd come from.


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