[TUHS] a book (was Re: PWB vs Unix/TS)

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon Sep 16 06:12:17 AEST 2019

On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 12:16 AM Eric Allman <tuhs at eric.allman.name> wrote:

> On 2019-09-14 17:58, Adam Thornton wrote:
> > I...have never been all that impressed with Salus's work.  It's not
> _bad_ but it's also not terribly insightful.
> I think Peter's work was an amazing effort to collect and disseminate
> facts, and despite a few gaps (inevitable) he did a great job.  But
> Peter's works were more collections of facts than attempts to interpret,
> contextualize, or otherwise put the facts into a larger narrative.

+1 Amen, bro.
For many of us that lived the time he covered, which was the first 25
years, it's awesome and frankly, I don't look for it for insights, as that
was to me not what he was after doing.  He was trying to create a
narrative that documented what happened.   Yes, he left things out, but
pretty much go it right.

> Honest historians can disagree on the role of written histories.  A pure
> "just the facts ma'am" history avoids context and interpretation but
> tends to be fairly dry.  This was Peter's approach.

I agree.  Moreover, as Jon points out, I'm not sure even if was made widely
available, other than people like those on this list, I'm not sure it will
be really that interesting.

> But it's impossible to completely avoid bias because you have to pick and

choose the facts you include.

And this is the biggest issue.  And I have observed (maybe I'm wrong - but
it seems to me ...) that the people that I know today, that dislike Peter's
work dislike that Linux is not huge part of it.   Or more importantly that
it was the emergence of the *Internet and UNIX that were enablers for Linux*.
 As Jon has suggested, it should not be Gnu/Linux but rather Internet/Linux.

Contextualizing history inevitably leads to interpretation
> which leads to some amount of bias, but interesting or even gripping
> histories read like a novel that unfolds before you.

*i.e.* Peter is not David McCullough and we don't seem to have David coming
to us to write his next book.

I've believed for a long time that when the definitive history of Unix
> is written, Peter's books will be a major (albeit not "primary", in the
> technical sense) source material.

Absolutely.  It needs to be the place where a historian starts.

I salute him for all his hard (and early) work.  I hope that someone will
> step

up to do this larger history (much of which happened after Peter's
> publication

dates) before we all die off.

+1 A louder *amen*....

> And I have to say, It looks like Warner's research (with all the
> abundant help from this group) the last week or two is amazing.

I agree - as much as I offered some additions and corrections it is well
done -- thank you, Warner.

> .... I deeply regret that I never had an opportunity to meet Joe Ossanna.

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