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

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Tue Oct 15 14:06:11 AEST 2019

I had two aha moments.

First was that I really didn't want the filesystem to do logical name
translation. It was simple enough to do in the program. So no way to have
the kernel expand /usr/share/fubar/$USER/fu. While VMS' logical names were
a cool wart on its filename stuff, the whole ball of wax had too many
special cases for different device types, permission areas of logical
names, logical name table nesting rules, etc. Simpler was better.

The second was the simplicity of the install... boot one file to prep the
disk, one to copy a fs to the future swap system and a final one to get the
ball rolling... for booting off of tape, on systems with no real memory,
this kept what wound up in memory small enough to live in the sub Megabyte
systems ot needed to work on...  though once there was a lot more, this was
left behind when you could just load one kernel with a ran disk to do all
the setup... the different pieces of the install acted as a Koan for how
Unix worked...


On Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 7:19 PM Andrew Warkentin <andreww591 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I didn't really have a single "Aha" moment, but I remember borrowing
> some books on Unix from the library and realizing it was more powerful
> than anything else I'd used (up until then, I'd only really used
> DOS/Windows, classic Mac OS, and Apple II systems; as you can probably
> tell, I'm quite a bit younger than many other people on this list).
> Shortly afterwards, I installed Linux (initially Mandrake 8.2, but I
> replaced it with Debian 3.0 shortly thereafter; I still have my
> original Debian 3.0 install around as a VM that I use from time to
> time) and never really looked back. I did keep a Windows dual boot
> around for a while but that eventually went away (although I still do
> have Windows VMs around). Soon after that, I decided I was going to
> put together my own Unix-like OS; initially I was going to put
> together a NeXTStep/OS X-like Linux distribution, but then later
> decided I was going to write a QNX-like microkernel-based OS instead.
> I still don't have anything that is actually useful at the moment,
> although now I am making a bit better progress than in the past (I
> changed my mind on several parts of the design and was quite busy with
> other projects for a while).
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