[TUHS] My EuroBSDcon talk (preview for commentary)

Bakul Shah bakul at bitblocks.com
Mon Sep 16 09:25:17 AEST 2019

On Sun, 15 Sep 2019 17:46:42 -0400 Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
> The first UNIX clone that I know about was a V6 version by Whitesmiths,
> called Idris, I want to say in 1977/78.   I believe that Michel's Gien's
> Pascal clone that he talked about a year later started out as V6, but
> morphed to V7 before he was done (and then later morphed again to become
> Chorus in a C++ rewrote).  Mike Malcolm's Thoth (which "Thucks" by the way,
> my wife threw out my tee-shirt years ago;-) was a pseudo V6 clone.   I

Acc. to a paper[1] by Cheriton, Malcom and Melen did the
original small run time executive called Thoth. Cheriton
rewrote it to form the kernel of the system described in the
Feb 1979 CACM article. It used memory mapping, swapping. etc.
They also added a filesystem.

Thoth could not have been a clone of v6.  It used message
passing. More RPC than pipes. And it had "teams", where a
"team" is roughly the same as a Unix process (separate address
space) and a Thoth "process" was a thread in that address
space.  root was "*" (instead of "/") and current dir was "@"
(instead ".").  A bigger difference was that it had *nodes* or
files and any file can have sub nodes.  There was no
separation between files and directories.

It was an interesting system and a lot of different things
were tried in it. In 1980-81 timeframe AMD forked off a
separate company called AMC to build microcomputers. They
chose Thoth.  I almost worked there but in the end decided I'd
rather do unix and joined Fortune and soon after AMD came to
its senses and shut AMC down.

[1] https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/research/tr/1979/CS-79-19.pdf

> As I mentioned before the first commercial user of UNIX was Rand
> Corporation in LA.  Al Arms of AT&T legal wrote the original $15K/CPU
> license for them.   I don't know how many of those licenses were made
> available, but I've always been under the impression it was under 10.  Like
> a lot of people at the time, this was when the 'glass tty' was just showing
> up in force and Rand updated/wrote a version of ed(1) called the rand(1)
> editor [IIRC, its still available as the 'grand editor' from Dave Yost].

The Rand editor e had nothing in common with ed(1).  e
descended from NED, a 2D editor, invented by Ned Irons in 1967
and described in "A CRT editing system" CACM Jan 1972.

The "Grand editor", derived from e19 is long gone. Even Dave
gave up on it long ago.  Though you can find a separate
version on the 'Net, also derived from e19.  e with its
multiple windows was a joy to use on a 60 line Ann Arbor
Ambassador terminal. I use acme because it too is a tiling
editor like e. It has some goodies not in e but overall e
was a better experience.


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