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Author Topic: R.I.P. Fernando Corbato  (Read 2665 times)

Offline PDP-8

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R.I.P. Fernando Corbato
« on: July 21, 2019, 03:26:30 PM »
I'm saddened to learn of Corby's passing.

Fernando, of CTSS and later Multics fame passed away July 12, 2019.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_J._Corbat%C3%B3

Briefly, CTSS provided the path from batch to multi-user timesharing, and later the Multics project, which stalled and inspired the ATT programmers to create what we are basically using now in Unix.  Multics eventually got polished without ATT, most notably with the Bull-Honeywell hardware.

Without going into too much history, the hierarchical filesystem from Multics is well-known to us now.  And so is the search $PATH.  Initially pulled from Unix, it was re-instated when /bin and /usr/bin overflowed by the time of research Unix V3 or so - 1972 / 73'ish?

If you want a good read, this is worthy of note - aside from mere hardware and software history, the history of a *cultural* phenomenon of working together for a common goal without any strings attached.  Well, until someone woke up and decided it was worth / legal to productize.

https://www.princeton.edu/~hos/frs122/unixhist/finalhis.htm

Anyway, it's not about specific hardware, but GOOD programming and ideas that can stand the test of time, even if you wrap a lot of eye-candy around it.  What was valid back in 1965 is still valid today, even though Tinycore seems far removed.  Peel back the layers, and it's not.

Unix has been proclaimed dead and old-fashioned many times over the years - unfortunately succumbing to marketing pressure to try and make it so for the next thing.  Under the hood, it is still ticking over like clockwork - although at times that clockwork has been folded, stapled, and mutilated.  Unravel the basic ideas, and it all comes back into shape. :)
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth