[TUHS] What was your "Aha, Unix!" moment?

KatolaZ katolaz at freaknet.org
Fri Oct 11 22:53:52 AEST 2019

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 06:55:46AM +1000, Warren Toomey wrote:
> All, we had another dozen TUHS suscribers to the list overnight. Welcome.
> A reminder that we're here to discuss Unix Heritage, so I'll nudge you
> if the conversation goes a bit off-topic.
> So I'll kick off another thread. What was your "ahah" moment when you
> first saw that Unix was special, especially compared to the systems you'd
> previously used?


Disclaimer: I am on the young-ish side as well.

I learned the basic Unix commands and the use of vi(1) from a book,
some four or five years before I sat in front of a unix login prompt
(around '91 or '92). I just found the whole thing amazing, so I
re-read that book several times, waiting for the day when I would have
been there for real.

Then finally that day came, and that was my "aahhh, Unix!"
moment. Instantly, everything made so much sense. As somebody else
suggested, I really felt like a duck plunging in a pond for the first

Since then, it has been just a sequence of "aha! Unix!" moments, like
when I conjured a longish pipe which solved in 30 seconds a reporting
problem on which two people had spent about two weeks, or when I left
a colleague jaw-dropped after seeing how I fitted several million data
points to a reference distribution with an awk+bc oneliner :P


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