[Rare systems]

From: Paul E Coad <pcoad_at_wco.com>
Date: Mon May 18 02:18:23 1998

After watching this go on for a while without resolving itself I pulled
out my copy of _A Quarter Century of UNIX_ by Peter H. Salus. According
to Salus, Thompson started work on what was to become Unix in the summer
of 1969 on a PDP-7. Within a month the basic system had been developed
including and assembler, editor, and a shell. The PDP-11/20 arrived in
the summer of 1970 without a disk. According to Salus according to

  "We got the PDP-11 very early. It came during the summer of 1970. Only
  the processor and memory arrived, there was no disc. It was all paper
  tape software, you loaded things with paper tape, there was no operating
  system as such. The first Unix for it was written cross-assembling
  from the PDP-7 using the PDP-7 assembler that was written in B."

There is a list on p.43 listing the 10 AT&T Bell Laboratories editions of
the Unix Programmer's Manual:

First Edition November 3, 1971
Second Edition June 12, 1972
Third Edition February 1973
Fourth Edition November 1973
Fifth Edition June 1974
Sixth Edition May 1975
Seventh Edition January 1979
Eighth Edition February 1985
Ninth Edition September 1986
Tenth Edition October 1989

All typos are mine.

To sum up: it all started in the summer of 1969. The first edition of
unix was produced in 1971.

Also Dennis Ritchie has a home page with a link to a document on the
early development of Unix at:


Look for `The Evolution of the Unix Time-sharing System,'.

_A Quarter Century of UNIX_ is very good. I recommend it highly to anyone
who wants to know more about the history of Unix.

The Antique Computer Collection: http://www.wco.com/~pcoad/machines.html

On Sun, 17 May 1998, Sam Ismail wrote:

> On Mon, 18 May 1998, Huw Davies wrote:
> > At 02:44 PM 17-05-98 -0500, Doug Yowza wrote:
> > >On Sun, 17 May 1998, Sam Ismail wrote:
> > >
> > >> Bzzt. Unix was created in 1974 at Bell Labs on a PDP-7.
> > >
> > >Proof by assertion *and* buzzer is my favorite kind of proof. At least
> > >the guy that wrote the UNIX FAQ disagrees with you, but I'm sure your
> > >buzzer is bigger than his :-)
> > >
> > > http://www.ee.byu.edu/unix-faq/subsection3_8_2.html
> >
> > Well I don't care how nicely formatted the page is, it's wrong. Unix was
> > definitely originally written in assembler for the PDP-7. I'm sure I've got
> > the reference at home.
> Ok, now we have two opposing consensus' (consensi?) going. Was it a PDP-7
> in 1974 as I originally stated or a (what was that?) in 1968?
> Sam Alternate e-mail: dastar_at_siconic.com
Received on Mon May 18 1998 - 02:18:23 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:31:12 BST