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

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Sat Oct 12 23:55:13 AEST 2019

    > From: Warren Toomey

    > What was your "ahah" moment when you first saw that Unix was special,
    > especially compared to the systems you'd previously used?

Sometime in my undergrad sophmore year, IIRC. A friend had a undergrad
research thing with DSSR, who I think at that point had the first UNIX at
MIT. He showed me the system, and wrote a tiny command in C, compiled it, and
executed the binary from the shell.

No big deal, right? Well, at that point ('75 or so), the only OS's I had used
were RSTS-11, a batch system running on an Interdata (programs were submitted
on card decks), the DELPHI system (done by the people in DSSR), and a few
similar things. I had never used a system where an ordinary user could 'add' a
command to the command interpreter, and was blown away. (At that point in
time, not many OS's could do that.)

Unix was in a whole different world compared to contemporaneous PDP-11
OS's. It felt like a 'mainframe' OS (background jobs, etc), but on a mini.


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