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From: Clem Cole <>
To: Warner Losh <>
Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society <>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] PWB vs Unix/TS
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2019 11:16:34 -0400
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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Below ... from memory - Someone like APS was a little closer to some of
this than I was, so I might have a few things wrong.  I don't think so, but
it's been quite a few beers

On Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 2:26 AM Warner Losh <> wrote:

> OK. I'm totally confused, and I see contradictory information around. So I
> thought I'd ask here.
> PWB was started to support unix time sharing at bell labs in 1973 (around
> V4 time).
No...  that is not quite right.  PWB was Mashey's project to build an RJE
system to front end SW development for the IBM systems, which AT&T had a
number [IIRC Call Accounting and lot of the 'business' part of the Bell
System was mainframe based].  I think Dick Haight was also involved.  I've
forgotten the site there were at.  It might have been Holmdel or Whippany.
But it was not MH or Summit.

> PWB 1.0 was released just after V6 "based on" it.
Well not so much "right after", but it was based on V6.  There are
differences.  IIRC this was the first attempt at redoing how groups
worked.  The biggest additions were an IBM RJE support, SCCS and a
different set of backup utilities; including some disk to disk (volcpy) and
the original binary formatted program for 9-tracks (cpio) to replace
Ken's assembler
based tp.

SCCS was important and the RJE support was important because that was the
system being used and it made a huge impression on AT&T staff.   A terminal
to a UNIX box was way cheaper and to the IBM and people were so much more

Also remember, that tp(1) was written in assembler had been originally
targeted to DECtape in a very early version of Research UNIX.  The DECtape
nature is why the directory was on the front of the tape.  Ken moved it
9-track but used the same tape format.   I don't remember who wrote stp
(super-tp - in C), [?? Harvard ?? it's on the Harvard tape and is how I got
it].   But better peripheral support was really important in Mashey's
setting.  In that world, the production computer system was being put in
the raised floor computer rooms next to a mainframe and they had
'operators' so John and team started to think more about what was needed to
admin the system.   IMHO: this was the first heavy use of shell scripts,
while I saw them in MH, it was Mashey's guys that cause me personally to
have an ah-ha moment about them.

Interestingly enough, and I have talked to Bourne and Mashey about it,
John's use of the V6 was definitely one of the groups that were asking for
a new shell, which Bourne set out to solve; but that is not yet available.

At some point (and here is where we need Steve Johnson, aps, and I wish the
late Ted Kowalski) to fill in details I can not.  USG/Summit was chartered
to "support UNIX for the Bell System."   As I understand it, the genesis
for their system was a kernel from MH that was moving towards V7s but not
there yet, the 'Typesetter C' and a bunch of other utilities that Summit
had collected/developed, but which I do not know.  I think fsdb was around
by that time. The new Bourne Shell and adb were being developed although
how complete I'm not sure.

But accept for the new shell and updated compiler, I remember the system
'felt' like V6 (Thompson shell) and thinking how much 'better' different v7
(Bourne Shell was) when we finally got it. This earlier system is the one
Ted brought to CMU in the fall 1977 (I think that is the right date) to
update the V6 system were then running.  Anyway, Ted always referred to
this as a UNIX/TS kernel.

Another thing we did not have SCCS or the RJE stuff.  What I'm not sure of
is if there was a formally release of what ted had.  So it may have been
that TS had them and sent the release to Mashey, although I don't think
there were such releases originally in TS.  FWIW: I believe that in our
(CMU) case,Ted would just grab things as they appeared that he thought we
needed at CMU and he pushed things back (like CMU's fsck as he found things
we had that he thought we would like).  Interestingly enough, RJE and SCCS
was needed for the IBM support and while Ted (and his undergrad roommate,
Bill Joy) had worked on the MTS system on the IBM's at UMich, I always felt
like Ted looked down on the mainframes (which was were I had also emerged
but from CMU's TSS team).

Also, Ted was a die-hard original cpio user and I liked the user interface
to stp, which I remember was a difference/source of argument.   Tar did not
yet exist. TS had some of the PWB tools like volcpy; but we were using DOS-11's
similar but different backup scheme (I've forgotten the name of the format;
but the tapes were boot-able, which volcpy tapes were not).

FWIW:  cu(1) did not yet exist.  I wrote a program (that I tended to prefer
in some ways for many years) called connect(1cmu) that did the same thing.
We used it to download images to the Microprocessors like the KIM-1.   It
was originally written with the v6 portable C library, which is also what
the original fsck used (it's what we had on v6).   Ted introduced me to
what would become stdio and one of my first tasks was using it with
connect(1cmu).  The other thing I remember about that program is it was the
first time I wrote something that used two separate processes on a UNIX
system that cooperated with each other and found it so much easier than on
the PDP-10.

Also, Dennis' stand-alone system for V7 was not yet available BTW.   If I
think of anything else about that system I can remember, I'll send an update

PWB 2.0 was released just after V7, also "based on it".
I think the confusion is that TS and V7 were done sort of at the same time
and while the folks working on them talked to each other, it has never been
clear to me who was behind TS. For instance, I would learn that Bourne was
the 'project leader' for Seventh, in that he was the person that collected
everything for it.  I never heard of someone having the same role for TS,
which is why I sometimes think it was a name inside of Summit, but never
actually saw the light of day as a formal release.   I really am not sure
and would love to learn more details (I wish Ted were still alive to fill
us in).

As for V7 itself, Ken wrote tar(1) in response to cpio (preferring an ASCII
based header, but 'threading' it like cpio did, but keeping the user
interface that tp/stp had).  As I understand it, Dennis built up did the
standalone toolkit stuff.  Ken changed groups and messed with the file system
in the kernel.  Lots of new peripheral support, which is why he also added
lseek() as disks overflowed a 16-bit integer for the seek position.  Plus
there were a number of other small changes between v6 and v7.  Some of this
stuff from PWB and Summit went back to MH (fsck as an example), but not
everything (like cpio/volcpy/SCCS).  I kind of think of the kernel and
Typesetter C going from MH to Summit and the PWB teams.

@Steve Johnson, I need your help here.... at some point PCC was created in
MH (along with lint).  Didn't that start on V6 but was not complete until
V7? And when did you move to Summit to lead the compiler effort there?  My
impressions that was yet to happen, but I'm fuzzy on dates.

Remember, there are a number of teams at BTL hacking on UNIX by then.
Dale's team in Columbus, the crew in Indiana Hill,  folks at Western
Electric (the Teletype folks ported the Ritchie C to the Z80 at some point
for instance), *etc.*

Again, I don't remember the politics but like any big company, you can
imagine it was not all that clean and crisp.   PWB 2.0 & 3.0 definitely
picked up features from other UNIX systems.  As I remember, Dale's shared
memory hacks would beget System V Shared Mem, Semaphores and IPC (they are
different, but they started in Columbus).

The other thing I'm not clear on is when the PWB team was folded into USG (Unix
Support Group) in Summit.  *I believe* that was after PWB 2.0 was
released.  But at some point, Mashey's team and the USG got interwoven.  I
really don't know/remember many of those details as I watched them from the
outside and only knew the results.  The key point is the PWB 2.0 would
eventually be released as the internal, but official UNIX for the Bell
System.   It was supposed to bring together the needed from the different
labs; but it was not >>officially<< released *outside of the Bell System*
(it was an internal product, remember at this point, AT&T is not allowed to
have computer products, etc...)

So PWB 2.0 is basically internal, and a melding of V7, TS, PWB 1.0 and
starting to take things from different labs with in BTL -- different from
all of them but mostly a superset.

> Later Unix TS 3.0 would become System III.
No --I do not think this is a true statement... not sure where you got
that, more in a minute

We know there was no System I or System II.

But was there a Unix TS 1.0 and 2.0?
This is where it gets sticky.  I don't think so.   TS was the original work
by USG.   What I do not know is if it ever was 'packaged' as PWB had been. *I
do not believe it was*.   I think a little like the way Research 'bled' out
a little a time, pieces of TS made their way to MIT, CMU, *etc*. but never
as a formal release.

> And were they the same thing as PWB 1.0 and 2.0, or somehow just closely
> related?
See above... I'll explain how PWB 3.0 became System III in a minute.

> And I've seen both Unix/TS and Unix TS. Is there a preferred spelling?
Don't know.  I remember Ted always called it UNIX/TS all caps.

The thing you left out is how PWB 3.0 became System III.

Two important issues.  First with V7, AT&T (Al Arms) wrote the first binary
system redistribution license.  The commercial folks were happy to have a
redistribution license, but the terms were not what they really needed.
Much of the issue was that AT&T was not the computer hardware or software
business and really did not understand the issues that the vendors had.
Professor Dennis Allison of Stanford, was consulting for almost all of us
in the computer industry at the time (for those that don't know Dennis,
around the same time he founded what is now called the Asilomar
Microprocessor Workshop (check out:

Dennis arranged for a big meeting at Ricki's Hyatt in Palo Alto and invited
Al Arms and team, plus a representatives from his clients. I was the techie
with a lawyer from Tektronix in the room (as I have said in other emails
this it is only time I have been in a meeting with Bill Gates).  The folks
I remember who were there: was Bill Munson and team from DEC; Fred Clegg
and Team from HP; Bob MetCalfe from 3Com; Gates and the MSFT crew; folks
from SCO and DG.   There were some others, about 10 firms in total;
although I think if remember correctly, IBM was not among them [This is the
meeting where Gates famously exclaimed: "*You guys don't get it.  The only
thing that matters in the software industry is volume*."].

BTW: The bits we were discussing was the upcoming release from USG, to be
called PWB 3.0 and they were for the PDP-11 only (which was fine, that was
what we all had been licensing already.  We could still use things from
other places, because that is what those other places were all licensed to
have -- all was good in UNIX-land).

Thus began a series of negotiations for a new license agreement that would
allow the HW vendors to better ship UNIX as a binary product:  FWIW: Gates
wanted to pay $25/copy.   The DEC, HP and DG folks laughed.  $1K/copy was
fine by them, since their HW was typically $50-150K/system.

Either shortly after or maybe during the negotiations time, Judge Green
ruled and AT&T got broken up.   One of the things that occured is that AT&T
was now allowed to sell SW and more importantly their new 3B20 as a product
(against IBM and DEC).  From a SW standpoint, AT&T Marketing did not like
the 'Programmers' moniker, feeling that it would limit who they could sell
too.  So they rebranded the new software product 'System III.'

Note the printing of the manuals had already begun, which is why the cover
of the manuals say System III, but the title pages say PWB 3.0.

As other have said a few years later, another PWB release came out for the
Bell System, *a.k.a.* PWB 4.0; but this was not licensed outside.

At some point later, negotiations had restarted on yet another license with
the System III licensees and AT&T.   By the time that completed, yet
another release had been finished by USG.  The biggest change was the
addition support for HW besides the PDP-11. In particular, the official USG
support for the VAX and the 3B20.  What I forget, but I think in that
license you had to declare a system type and most licensees picked the VAX.

By the time of release and finalization of the license, AT&T Marketing
which had already started the '*Consider it Standard*' campaign, called the
new release "System V."

AT&T Marketing would stay with System V moniker from then on and we know
have SVR2, SVR3, SVR4, SVR5 in later years.

> Thanks for all your help with this topic and sorting things out. It's been
> quite helpful for my talk in a few weeks.
> Warner
> P.S. Would it be inappropriate to solicit feedback on an early version of
> my talk from this group?
I would suggest sending a pointer to this group to the slides and ask for
people to send you comments privately.

> I'm sure they would be rather keener on catching errors in my
> understanding of Unix history than just about any other forum...
Indeed - happy to help.

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  parent reply index

Thread overview: 82+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2019-09-09  6:25 Warner Losh
2019-09-09  6:36 ` arnold
2019-09-10 15:16 ` Clem Cole [this message]
2019-09-11  0:28   ` Steve Johnson
2019-09-11  3:53   ` Warner Losh
2019-09-11 15:36     ` Clem Cole
2019-09-11 16:55       ` [TUHS] IBM Unix source licenses [was " Charles H Sauer
2019-09-12 19:31         ` Kevin Bowling
2019-09-12 20:59           ` Clem Cole
2019-09-12 21:09             ` [TUHS] IBM Unix source licenses - Series/1 NUXI Ronald Natalie
2019-09-12 21:31             ` [TUHS] IBM Unix source licenses [was Re: PWB vs Unix/TS Warner Losh
2019-09-12 22:30             ` jcs
2019-09-12 23:12               ` reed
2019-09-12 23:22                 ` jcs
2019-09-12 23:29               ` [TUHS] IBM Unix source licenses Warren Toomey
2019-09-13  7:06                 ` arnold
2019-09-13  8:30                 ` SPC
2019-09-14 18:29                   ` Warner Losh
2019-09-12 21:29           ` [TUHS] IBM Unix source licenses [was Re: PWB vs Unix/TS Charles H Sauer
2019-09-11 17:49       ` [TUHS] " Richard Salz
2019-09-11 17:52         ` ron
2019-09-11 21:44           ` Clem Cole
2019-09-11 18:11       ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-11 18:18         ` Richard Salz
2019-09-11 18:54           ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-11 21:05             ` Steve Johnson
2019-09-11 21:34             ` Steve Johnson
2019-09-11 21:57             ` Clem Cole
2019-09-11 22:50               ` Arthur Krewat
2019-09-11 21:59           ` Clem Cole
2019-09-11 21:50         ` Clem Cole
2019-09-11 22:49         ` Dave Horsfall
2019-09-12  3:43           ` [TUHS] SCCS Larry McVoy
2019-09-12  4:20             ` George Michaelson
2019-09-12  4:31               ` [TUHS] [SPAM] SCCS Larry McVoy
2019-09-12 13:44                 ` Tony Finch
2019-09-13  4:11                   ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-13  5:54                     ` Dave Horsfall
2019-09-13  8:00                       ` Peter Jeremy
2019-09-13 15:23                         ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-13 21:36                         ` Dave Horsfall
2019-09-12  4:28             ` [TUHS] SCCS Jon Forrest
2019-09-12  4:33               ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-12  6:12                 ` William Corcoran
2019-09-12 14:35                   ` Clem Cole
2019-09-13  5:22                 ` Dave Horsfall
2019-09-13  5:50                   ` Bakul Shah
2019-09-12 16:45               ` Eric Allman
2019-09-12 17:29                 ` Clem Cole
2019-09-12 17:47                   ` Warner Losh
2019-09-13  8:12                   ` emanuel stiebler
2019-09-13 21:11                     ` Steffen Nurpmeso
2019-09-13 21:17                       ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-13 21:48                         ` Bakul Shah
2019-09-13 23:12                           ` Steffen Nurpmeso
2019-09-13 23:03                         ` Steffen Nurpmeso
2019-09-14  1:55                           ` [TUHS] [SPAM] SCCS Larry McVoy
2019-09-16 17:23                             ` [TUHS] SCCS Steffen Nurpmeso
2019-09-16 20:31                               ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-17 17:57                                 ` Steffen Nurpmeso
2019-09-18  8:48                               ` Eric Allman
2019-09-18 17:33                                 ` Steffen Nurpmeso
2019-09-12 20:07             ` Nemo
2019-09-11 16:05   ` [TUHS] PWB vs Unix/TS Paul Winalski
2019-09-11 17:14     ` ron
2019-09-14  0:44   ` [TUHS] a book (was Re: PWB vs Unix/TS) reed
2019-09-14  2:53     ` Warner Losh
2019-09-15  2:18       ` Jon Steinhart
2019-09-15  2:39         ` Clem Cole
2019-09-15  3:24         ` Adam Thornton
2019-09-14 22:46     ` Clem cole
2019-09-15  0:58       ` Adam Thornton
2019-09-15  3:30         ` Eric Allman
2019-09-15  4:21           ` Larry McVoy
2019-09-15  5:17             ` Jon Steinhart
2019-09-15 20:14               ` Clem Cole
2019-09-15 20:21                 ` Jon Steinhart
2019-09-15 20:12           ` Clem Cole
2019-09-15 21:28             ` Dave Horsfall
2019-09-15 23:27               ` Clem cole
2019-09-15 23:45                 ` Richard Salz
2019-09-15  7:43     ` Andy Kosela

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