[TUHS] Unix APIs: elegant or not?

ron minnich rminnich at gmail.com
Mon Nov 5 01:34:03 AEST 2018

On Sun, Nov 4, 2018 at 4:00 AM Chris Hanson <cmhanson at eschatologist.net> wrote:

> This was broken from the start though, and always really meant everything looks like a file *descriptor*, not a path in the filesystem.

OK, I only got into this game in 1976, and a lot had happened in Unix by then,
and maybe you saw some earlier stuff. But certainly in 1976, as
compared to the other 4 PDP-11 operating systems I was using,
the fact that resources had names visible to every program was very
important  to us. On the competitor systems the naming would be built
into individual programs,
e.g. PIP or (non-PDP11) the MPE fcopy program, one of the few programs
on that system where you could name, e.g., the tape drive on your

Being able to use a path name for resources was a very big deal for us
at the time. And we didn't say file descriptors, we said names.

Hence, I rate your comment as "interesting if true" but I see no
evidence to support it.


More information about the TUHS mailing list