decoration decoration

When you want to know more...
For layout only
Site Map
About Groklaw
Legal Research
ApplevSamsung p.2
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Gordon v MS
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
MS Litigations
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
OOXML Appeals
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v Novell
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Unix Books


Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

You won't find me on Facebook


Donate Paypal

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.

What's New

No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin - Ch. 7 ~ by Dr. Peter H. Salus
Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 10:22 AM EDT

Here is Chapter 7 of Peter Salus' book, "The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin," which he is publishing in installments on Groklaw under the Creative Commons license, 2.0, attribution, noncommercial, noderivatives.

Here are the earlier chapters:


The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin

~ by Peter H. Salus

Chapter 7. BSD and the CSRG

Professor Robert Fabry was on the program at the SOSP where Ken and Dennis delivered the first paper on Unix. He was full of enthusiasm when he returned to Berkeley. When he got back to Cory Hall, his first chore was to attempt to assemble a joint purchase (by Computer Science, Math and Statistics) of a PDP-11/45.

He then ordered a tape from Thompson and, in January 1974, Keith Standiford (a graduate student) installed Unix. As Kirk McKusick tells the tale, Ken had been involved in all the early installations -- but not this one, "though his expertise was soon needed to determine the cause of several strange system crashes." Thompson would phone Keith in the machine room, the phone would be inserted in the 300 baud acoustic modem, and Ken would "remotely debug crash dumps from New Jersey."

The next problem arose because Math and Statistics wanted to run DEC's RSTS. 1 So slices of each day were allocated: eight hours for Unix, followed by 16 hours for RSTS. One of the undergraduates introduced to Unix at that time was Eric Allman.2

"I was taking an introductory OS course," he told me, "and they had been using something called the Toy Operating System on the [CDC Cyber] 6400. But they wanted to get off it and on to Unix on the 11/40,3 where we could only work eight hours a day, and a different eight hours each day. I recall having difficulties. I was reading the manual, and I remember not understanding why you would ever want the echo command. Totally bizarre. Now, of course, I know. Of course, 4th Edition was pretty flaky. It was a system that only a researcher could love. It was slow. It didn't have a lot of tools. Then I got hired by the Ingres project."
The Ingres project of Professors Michael Stonebraker and Eugene Wong was one of the first projects moved to Unix. As they were dissatisfied with the way time had been allocated, they bought their own PDP-11/40 in spring 1974. But there still wasn't enough student time available on the 11/45. In June 1974, Stonebraker and Fabry set out to get two instructional 11/45s for Computer Science. The money was obtained early in 1975, just about the time DEC announced the 11/70, which seemed more suitable (it was announced in March). So they pooled the money. The 11/70 arrived in fall 1975, just when Ken Thompson arrived for his one-year sabbatical as visiting professor. Thompson, Bob Kridle and Jeff Schriebman brought up V6 on the newly-installed 11/70. The "50 bugs" tape (see Chapter 3) was a side-effect.

That same autumn, two new graduate students arrived on the Berkeley campus: Chuck Haley and Bill Joy. They were fascinated by V6 on the 11/70 and began working on the Pascal system that Ken had hacked together. In fact, Haley and Joy improved the Pascal system to the point that it became the system of choice for the students. And when the Model 33 Teletype terminals were replaced by ADM-3 screen terminals, they felt that ed just wasn't good enough. So they developed ex from Coulouris' em (see Chapter 4).

Meanwhile, in a different part of the universe, Kirk McKusick, at that time a "JCL hacker at Cornell, was exposed to Unix by a friend who was studying at the University of Delaware.

"He showed me how you could play games on it," McKusick told me, "so I really didn't have any exposure to Unix till I got out to Berkeley in 1976. I came out in the spring because I was looking at graduate programs to go to, and they were on spring break, so there weren't a lot of people around. But I came across Bill Joy in the computer room where he was busily hacking away and he said 'Hi, I'm Bill Joy. This is what we're working on here - a Pascal system that runs under Unix.' And I said, 'What can you do with Unix?' So he said, 'You can edit files and compile files and you can play chess. Let me log you in.' So I proceeded to play chess the rest of the afternoon. And I decided that I liked Berkeley and that's where I'd go."
When Thompson returned to BTL at the end of the summer of 1976, Joy and Haley turned their interests toward the kernel. But word of the Pascal compiler got around. And at the beginning of 1978, Joy began producing the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). He offered a copy to Tom Ferrin (at UCSF) in a letter dated 9 March 1978. The "license" was on one side of a sheet of paper. Tom signed it on 13 March. The tape (in "standard tp format, 800 bpi...") consisted of:
a) Unix Pascal system
b) Ex text editor
created by
a) W.N. Joy, S.L. Graham, C.B. Haley, K. Thompson
b) W.N. Joy

Bill Joy, acting as "distribution secretary," sent out about 30 "free" copies of BSD in early 1978. By mid-year enough had been done (the Pascal system had been made more robust, the system could be run on the 11/34,4 and vi and termcap5 had been written), that a "Second Berkeley Software Distribution" was put on tape.

Bill answered the phone, put together the distributions, and incorporated user feedback into the system. He also mailed out nearly 75 copies of 2BSD. 3BSD appeared in December 1979.


Kirk McKusick has told the tale of the CSRG.

In the fall of 1979, Bob Fabry responded to DARPA's interest in moving towards Unix by writing a proposal suggesting that Berkeley develop an enhanced version of 3BSD for the use of the DARPA community. Fabry took a copy of his proposal to a meeting of DARPA image processing and VLSI contractors, plus representatives from Bolt Beranek and Newman, the developers of the ARPAnet. There was some reservation whether Berkeley could produce a working system; however, the release of 3BSD in December 1979 assuaged most of the doubts.

With the increasingly good reputation of the 3BSD release to validate his claims, Bob Fabry was able to get an 18-month contract with DARPA beginning in April 1980. This contract was to add features needed by the DARPA contractors. Under the auspices of this contract, Bob Fabry set up an organization which was christened the Computer Systems Research Group, or CSRG for short. He immediately hired Laura Tong to handle the project administration. Fabry turned his attention to finding a project leader to manage the software development. Fabry assumed that since Joy had just passed his Ph.D. qualifying examination, he would rather concentrate on completing his degree than take the software development position. But Joy had other plans. One night in early March he phoned Fabry at home to express interest in taking charge of the further development of Unix. Though surprised by the offer, Fabry took little time to agree.

The project started promptly. Tong set up a distribution system that could handle a higher volume of orders than Joy's previous distributions. Fabry managed to coordinate with Bob Guffy at AT&T and lawyers at the University of California to formally release Unix under terms agreeable to all. Joy incorporated a variety of changes and 4BSD was released in October 1980. 6

(The last CSRG system was 4.4BSD-Lite, Release 2, June 1995. Soon thereafter, the CSRG was disbanded. Another era was over.)

1Resource Sharing Time Sharing Extended, a multi-user OS for the PDP-11 series, generally programmed in "Basic Plus."

2 Inventor of sendmail.

3 The 11/40 was a higher performance version of the 11/20, introduced in January 1973. The 11/45 was a faster, microcoded 11/20, introduced in June 1972.

4 The 11/34 was a cast-reduced version of the 11/35.

5 vi was the result of the arrival of the ADM 3a terminals; termcap was born when Joy decided to consolidate screen management, using an interpreter to redraw the screen.

6 from Marshall Kirk McKusick, "20 Years of Berkeley UNIX," in Open Sources (O'Reilly, 1999).

Dr. Salus is the author of "A Quarter Century of UNIX" and several other books, including "HPL: Little Languages and Tools", "Big Book of Ipv6 Addressing Rfcs", "Handbook of Programming Languages (HPL): Imperative Programming Languages", "Casting the Net: From ARPANET to INTERNET and Beyond", and "The Handbook of Programming Languages (HPL): Functional, Concurrent and Logic Programming Languages". There is an interview with him, audio and video,"codebytes: A History of UNIX and UNIX Licences" which was done in 2001 at a USENIX conference. Dr. Salus has served as Executive Director of the USENIX Association.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin - Ch. 7 ~ by Dr. Peter H. Salus | 51 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here...
Authored by: clueless on Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 10:26 AM EDT PJ can find them.

Good morning, PJ! I was wondering where you had been.


A farewell to silly .sigs

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin - Ch. 7 ~ by Dr. Peter H. Salus
Authored by: Peter H. Salus on Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 10:26 AM EDT

There should be a footnote number 5 where vi and
termcap are first mentioned. The number "5" should
be "6."

The notes themselves are correct.

Peter H. Salus

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic posts here
Authored by: clueless on Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 10:29 AM EDT
And remember to make links clickable, like this:

<a href="">Like this</a>

unless they point to you-know-whose site, in which case you may not want to aid
generating eyeball revenue.


A farewell to silly .sigs

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 11:57 AM EDT
This is a marvelous series. Unix history has fascinated me for years, and this
is adding a lot of information I'd not come across anywhere else.


Larry N.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin - Ch. 7 ~ by Dr. Peter H. Salus
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 11:19 PM EDT
giving us, of course, that 1970's bestseller "The Ex of Joy"

[ Reply to This | # ]

As always, a good read. Re Bill Joy ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 05 2005 @ 11:20 PM EDT

I have always been intigued by his impact on Unix & what seemed to be
attempts by AT&T people to downplay his contribution & impact.

In early 1980s I had the chance to meet Ken Thompson at a Unix event (forming of
the 1st Unix users group outside US) & even Ken tended to be critical of csh
& other BSD contributions (basically he felt that the csh (in particular)
was inelegant). From where I had come from, I couldn't see how Unix could have
succeeded in the commercial world had 'the Berkley Enhancements' not been added
to early AT&T Unix versions. Also I considered the csh the only one to work
with & feel vindicated in this by the fact that the Korn shell became so
popular & that it incorporated many csh innovations.

I would argue that without termcap/curses & thus Unix's early ability to run
RMCobol, and support most types of ascii terminal, the commercial world would
not have been very interested in Unix.

But back to Bill Joy, has anyone here met him & is he as clever as he
appears to be ?.

Cheers Doug

[ Reply to This | # ]

1974 Berkeley Unix nostalgia (pre-BSD)
Authored by: retiarius on Friday, May 06 2005 @ 03:29 AM EDT
Yet another unheralded old-fart group that did pre-Joy/McKusick
early work with Unix at Berkeley were the denizens of the
Mike O'Malley speech lab (edition 4/5 Unix, PDP 11/40), run
by the uni-named 'Tovar', who jammed network Unix
onto the ARPANET years before ernie 'co-vax'.

"Users" included Clement Cole (co-author of 'jive')
and myself, satisfied with doing FFT's in C as
the pre-echo of .mp3 two decades before its time.

O'Malley now is publisher of the Berkeley Daily Planet.
Tovar somehow traded his 5MB cartridge disk debugging
devices (dental mirrors) for bigger and better things.
And Bill Joy graduated, at least. Certainly, we were
all pikers standing on the shoulders of Butler Lampson,
James Gray (first west coast Ph.D. in C.S., we think)
and Howard Sturgis ex-of project Genie/BCC fame.

Oh yeah, look up Ken Thompson's master's project (circa '66)
at Berkeley sometime, or check into the triple-threat
nature of his adviser, wizard Prof. Elwyn Berlekamp,
algebraic coding, combinatorial game theorist,
and juggler extraordinare...


p.s. It's possible that the undercurrent swirling around the
disparate Cal Berkeley computer groups had something to do
with the schizophrenia of the newish field of computing science
trying to align with either applied math (the Evans Hall bunch),
or the electrical engineering crew (Cory Hall environs).
With Unix now as a mass-market item invisibly woven into
the Macintosh at the neighborhood mall, this ur-history
barely matters now.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )