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* Re: [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
@ 2021-07-10 20:02 Noel Chiappa
  2021-07-10 20:09 ` Nelson H. F. Beebe
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Noel Chiappa @ 2021-07-10 20:02 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs; +Cc: jnc

    > From: Jon Steinhart

    > I use UNIX instead of Unix as that's what I believe is the correct form.

Well, Bell documentation uses "UNIX" through V6:

  https://minnie.tuhs.org//cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V6/usr/doc/start/start

"Unix" starts to appear with V7:

  https://minnie.tuhs.org//cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V7/usr/doc/setup

As mentioned, the trademark is "UNIX".

I don't really have a fixed position on _the_ way to spell it: when I'm
wiriting about a specific version (e.g. V6) I use the capitalization as of
that version; for general text I'd probably use 'Unix', as that seems to be
general now. But I could easily be convinced otherwise.

	Noel

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
  2021-07-10 20:02 [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter Noel Chiappa
@ 2021-07-10 20:09 ` Nelson H. F. Beebe
  2021-07-10 20:11   ` Jon Steinhart
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Nelson H. F. Beebe @ 2021-07-10 20:09 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Noel Chiappa; +Cc: tuhs, jnc

Jon Steinhart writes

> I use UNIX instead of Unix as that's what I believe is the correct form.

Brian Kernighan addresses this issue in section 7.3 of his
recent memoir: it has "UNIX A History and a Memoir" on the
cover, but prefers "Unix" in the rest of that book, except
in the noted section.  He also refers back to the 1984
book with Rob Pike, "The UNIX Programming Environment",
in which the typography uses small caps for "UNIX".

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe@math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe@acm.org  beebe@computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
  2021-07-10 20:09 ` Nelson H. F. Beebe
@ 2021-07-10 20:11   ` Jon Steinhart
  2021-07-10 21:54     ` Rob Pike
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-07-10 20:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Nelson H. F. Beebe writes:
> Jon Steinhart writes
>
> > I use UNIX instead of Unix as that's what I believe is the correct form.
>
> Brian Kernighan addresses this issue in section 7.3 of his
> recent memoir: it has "UNIX A History and a Memoir" on the
> cover, but prefers "Unix" in the rest of that book, except
> in the noted section.  He also refers back to the 1984
> book with Rob Pike, "The UNIX Programming Environment",
> in which the typography uses small caps for "UNIX".

Yeah, small caps was what I always considered correct.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
  2021-07-10 20:11   ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-07-10 21:54     ` Rob Pike
  2021-07-10 21:55       ` Rob Pike
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Rob Pike @ 2021-07-10 21:54 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: TUHS main list

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Yes, a related issue came up when dmr rebelled when the lawyers made him
rewrite a phrase when reprinting a paper in the BSTJ. For some reason, he
didn't prefer the rewrite: "PDP-11 computer system UNIX system file system".

-rob


On Sun, Jul 11, 2021 at 6:12 AM Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:

> Nelson H. F. Beebe writes:
> > Jon Steinhart writes
> >
> > > I use UNIX instead of Unix as that's what I believe is the correct
> form.
> >
> > Brian Kernighan addresses this issue in section 7.3 of his
> > recent memoir: it has "UNIX A History and a Memoir" on the
> > cover, but prefers "Unix" in the rest of that book, except
> > in the noted section.  He also refers back to the 1984
> > book with Rob Pike, "The UNIX Programming Environment",
> > in which the typography uses small caps for "UNIX".
>
> Yeah, small caps was what I always considered correct.
>

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
  2021-07-10 21:54     ` Rob Pike
@ 2021-07-10 21:55       ` Rob Pike
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Rob Pike @ 2021-07-10 21:55 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: TUHS main list

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(There were some ™'s in there too.)


On Sun, Jul 11, 2021 at 7:54 AM Rob Pike <robpike@gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, a related issue came up when dmr rebelled when the lawyers made him
> rewrite a phrase when reprinting a paper in the BSTJ. For some reason, he
> didn't prefer the rewrite: "PDP-11 computer system UNIX system file system".
>
> -rob
>
>
> On Sun, Jul 11, 2021 at 6:12 AM Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
>
>> Nelson H. F. Beebe writes:
>> > Jon Steinhart writes
>> >
>> > > I use UNIX instead of Unix as that's what I believe is the correct
>> form.
>> >
>> > Brian Kernighan addresses this issue in section 7.3 of his
>> > recent memoir: it has "UNIX A History and a Memoir" on the
>> > cover, but prefers "Unix" in the rest of that book, except
>> > in the noted section.  He also refers back to the 1984
>> > book with Rob Pike, "The UNIX Programming Environment",
>> > in which the typography uses small caps for "UNIX".
>>
>> Yeah, small caps was what I always considered correct.
>>
>

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
  2021-07-10 19:18 Jon Steinhart
@ 2021-07-10 19:27 ` Rich Morin
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Rich Morin @ 2021-07-10 19:27 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

> Unix (/ˈjuːnɪks/; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, whose development started in the 1970s at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others. ... -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix

Perhaps UNIX is to Unix as STREAMS is to streams? (:-).

-r

> On Jul 10, 2021, at 12:18, Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:
> 
> BTW, except where I'm quoting the paper I use UNIX instead of Unix
> as that's what I believe is the correct form.  Please let me know
> if that's not correct.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter
@ 2021-07-10 19:18 Jon Steinhart
  2021-07-10 19:27 ` Rich Morin
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2021-07-10 19:18 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

Once again, thanks to everybody who as contributed to making this a
better letter.  Many of you have asked to be co-signers.  Please
let me know if I've included your name by mistake or if you'd like
your name to be added.  And, of course, let me know if any more
edits are required.

BTW, except where I'm quoting the paper I use UNIX instead of Unix
as that's what I believe is the correct form.  Please let me know
if that's not correct.

Thanks,
	Jon



I read the "Unix Shell Programming: The Next 50 Years" paper
expecting some well thought out wisdom.  I was sorely disappointed.

The paper is lacking the generally accepted form of:

 o  What problem are you trying to solve?
 o  What have others done?
 o  What's our approach?
 o  How does it do?

Some particulars:

 o  The paper never defines what is meant by the term "Unix shell."
    I think that you're using it to mean a command interpreter as
    described in the POSIX 1003.2 documents.

 o  The paper makes liberal use of the term "Unix" such as "... in
    every Unix distribution." While systems descended from UNIX
    abound few actual instances of UNIX exist today.

 o  There is no 50-year-old UNIX shell.  I started using UNIX in the
    early 1970s, and the command interpreter at the time (Ken Thompson's
    shell) was nothing like later shells such as the Bourne shell (sh
    since research V7 UNIX), Korn shell (ksh), C shell (csh), and the
    Bourne again shell (bash).  UNIX mainstreamed the notion of a
    command interpreter that was not baked into the system.  The paper
    lacks any discussion of prior art.  In practice, shell implementations
    either predate the POSIX standard or were built afterwards and
    include non-standard extensions.

 o  The paper repeatedly claims that the shell has been largely ignored by
    academia and industry.  Yet, it does not include any references to
    support that claim.  In fact, the large body of published work on
    shells and ongoing work on shells such as zsh shows that claim to be
    incorrect.

 o  The large number of pejorative statements detract from the academic
    value of the paper.  And, in my opinion, these statements are provably
    false.  It reads as if the authors are projecting their personal
    opinions onto the rest of the world.

 o  The paper applies universal complaints such as "unmaintainable" to the
    shell; it doesn't call out any shell-specific problems.  It doesn't
    explain whether these complaints are against scripts, implementations,
    or both.  One of the reasons for the longevity of the family of shells
    descended from Bourne's sh is that experienced practitioners have been
    able to write easily maintainable code.  Scripts written in the 1980s
    are still around and working fine.

 o  The paper seems to complain about the fact that the shell is documented.
    This is astonishing.  Proper documentation has always been a key
    component of being a professional, at least in my decades of experience.
    As a matter of fact, my boss telling me that "nobody will give a crap
    about your work unless you write a good paper" when I was a teenager
    at Bell Labs is what led me to UNIX and roff.

 o  The paper includes non-sequiturs such as discussions about Docker
    and systemd that have nothing to to with the shell.

 o  The paper has many "no-op" statements such as "arguably improved" that
    provide no useful information.

 o  The example on page 105 don't work as there is no input to "cut".

 o  The single result in Figure 1 is insufficient evidence that the
    approach works on a wide variety of problems.

 o  The paper gives the appearance that the authors don't actually understand
    the Bourne shell semantics.  Not just my opinion; Steve Bourne expressed
    that in an email to me after he read your paper, and I consider him to be
    a subject matter expert.

 o  The paper confuses the performance of the shell with the performance of
    external commands executed by the shell.

 o  Proofreading should have caught things like "improve performance
    performance" on page 107 among others.

I think that the paper is really trying to say:

 o  Programmable command interpreters such as those found in UNIX based
    systems have been around for a long time.  For this paper, we're
    focusing on the GNU bash implementation of the POSIX P1003.2 shell.
    Other command interpreters predate UNIX.

 o  This implementation is used more often than many other scripting
    languages because it is available and often installed as the default
    command interpreter on most modern systems (UNIX-based and otherwise).
    In particular, it is often the default for Linux systems.

 o  The shell as defined above is being used in more complex environments
    than existed at the time of its creation.  This exposes a new set of
    performance issues.

 o  While much work has been done by the bash implementers, it's primarily
    been in the area of expanding the functionality, usually in a
    backward-compatible manner.   Other shells such as the original ksh and
    later ash and zsh were implemented with an eye towards the performance
    of the internals and user perspectives.

 o  Performance optimization using modern techniques such as JIT compilation
    have been applied to other languages but not to POSIX shell implementations.
    This paper looks at doing that.  It is unsurprising that techniques that
    have worked elsewhere work here too.

It's hard to imagine that the application of this technique is all that's
required for a 50-year life extension.  The title of this paper implies
that it's going to be comprehensive but instead concentrates on a couple
of projects.  It ignores other active work on shells such as "fish".  While
it wouldn't eliminate the issues with the paper, they would not have been
quite so glaring had it had a more modest title such as "Improving POSIX
Shell Performance with JIT Compilation".

Jon Steinhart plus John Cowan, Warner Losh,
John Dow, Steve Bourne, Larry McVoy, and Clem Cole

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

end of thread, other threads:[~2021-07-10 21:56 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 7+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2021-07-10 20:02 [TUHS] The Unix shell: a 50-year view - hopefully final review of letter Noel Chiappa
2021-07-10 20:09 ` Nelson H. F. Beebe
2021-07-10 20:11   ` Jon Steinhart
2021-07-10 21:54     ` Rob Pike
2021-07-10 21:55       ` Rob Pike
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2021-07-10 19:18 Jon Steinhart
2021-07-10 19:27 ` Rich Morin

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