2. History: A Tale of Two Cultures

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

The Life of Reason (1905) —George Santayana

The past informs practice. Unix has a long and colorful history, much of which is still live as folklore, assumptions, and (too often) battle scars in the collective memory of Unix programmers. In this chapter we’ll survey the history of Unix, with an eye to explaining why, in 2003, today’s Unix culture looks the way it does.

2.1 Origins and History of Unix, 1969–1995

A notorious ’second-system effect’ often afflicts the successors of small experimental prototypes. The urge to add everything that was left out the first time around all too frequently leads to huge and overcomplicated design. Less well ...

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