The UNIX System

March 5, 2020 • #

Today on the nerdy computer history feed, we’ve got a 1982 video from Bell Labs: The UNIX System: Making Computers More Productive.

Most of the video has Brian Kernighan explaining the structure of UNIX and why it’s different from its contemporary operating systems. I should do more work with the keyboard in my lap and my feet on the desk.

Navigating a Linux shell looks almost identical to this today, 50 years later.

I liked this quote John Mashey, a computer scientist who worked on UNIX at Bell:

Software is different from hardware. When you build hardware and send it out, you may have to fix it because it breaks, but you don’t demand, for example, that your radio suddenly turn into a television. And you don’t demand that a piece of hardware suddenly do a completely different function, but people do that with software all of the time. There’s a continual demand for changes, enhancements, new features that people find necessary once they get used to a system.