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

Norman Wilson norman at oclsc.org
Mon Oct 21 05:25:52 AEST 2019

Bakul Shah:

  Being an OS student I had read "The Unix Timesharing System" paper by
  Ritchie and Thompson and had wanted to use Unix years before I actually
  had the chance. I don't remember an "Aha!" moment but I took to it like
  a duck to water. Most everything felt just so comfortable and right.
  It was very much as I had imagined it to be.


That's more or less what it was like to me.  Not so much
an aha! moment, more just a feeling of coming home.  It
took a while to understand the different way things worked
in UNIX (I had previously used TOPS-10 for several years)
but as it all sank in it felt more and more right.

C felt the same way.  It took me a while to grok the pointer
syntax (I had done a lot of MACRO-10 programming so I certainly
understood the concept, just not how it fit into the higher-
level language), but things like the three-clause condition
in for so that all control for a loop could be in one place
were just magically right.

I don't think I read the CACM paper before I touched UNIX,
but I had read both editions of Software Tools, so my brain
was perhaps pre-seeded with some of the ideas.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

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