A somewhat different view of UNIX

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Dear Doctor Science, How come we never hear about UNIX anymore? What was it, anyway?

-- John Kaplan from Milpitas, CA

UNIX was an easy-to-use language developed by unusually demented geeks who couldn't read or write Fortran. First licensed by Radio Shack for use in their House Buddy computers, it allowed you to copy recipes onto 3 x 5 cards at the rate of one per hour. Eventually it was supplanted by Basic, and taught to chimpanzees who were able to write programs with an error rate approaching 50%. While not good, they fared better with Basic than UNIX, so the language was allowed to die a natural death. Today it's only used in Albania and parts of Western Kamchatka.

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Actually, Unix is of course still around, but getting even bigger is Linux, which had it's roots in Unix.

-- FactFinder (FactFinder@bzn.com), July 18, 2000.


Your kidding, right? UNIX is an Operating System (or OS)and not a programming language. The task of an OS is to make your computers resources, like CPU, memory, disk space, NICs and removable media drive available to you (or, more exactly, to your applications). Once of the early strengths of UNIX was it's ability to be easily ported to different types of computers. Another is it's versatility. You could do alot with UNIX. The down side of that was that there are MANY commands.

You can find out more about UNIX at www.ugu.com.

Doctor Science: First, we'll immerse the lab rat in liquid oxygen. Dennis: Then what happens, Doctor Science? Doctor Science: What do you mean "Then what happens?" Dennis?

Watch six and keep your...

-- eyes_open (best@wishes.2all), July 19, 2000.

Of course, Doctor Science is a bit less serious than Dave Berry. The best computer humorist I've read was Lincoln Specter in the Computer Currents magazine.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), July 19, 2000.

UNIX trivia question time!

The C programming language was developed for UNIX, and is generally considered THE language of UNIX. The current UNIX OS itself is mostly written in C.

However, early in the history of UNIX, before C was invented, another language was used to develop UNIX programs. What was the name of this early programming language?

Hint: it wasn't Assembly language.


-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), July 19, 2000.


Assembler WAS the first language used on UNIX machines, but I suspect you're thinking of 'B'.

I took a few UNIX courses, and I found no revelations. The instructor took great pains to tout the multi-processing, multi-user capabilities, which sounded GREAT to folks who'd used PC's all their lives. He went on to tout the ability to "communicate" with other platforms, etc. Um...like VM hadn't been doing that through TCPIP?

The real PITA in those classes, for ME, was being forced to use vi as an editor. I'd been using CMS, which had PFkeys much like TSO, although they CAN be reset to your preference. During the day, PFkeys did ONE thing, and at night I went to class and they meant something totally different.

I've always admired folks who could work on two different operating systems in the same day using similar languages. With totally different languages, my mind could separate the two, but when they were close, I'd sometimes find myself starting in one and finishing in the other. Then I'd scratch my head wondering why it didn't work.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), July 19, 2000.


Unix is still alive and well. We have a lot of equipment that is controlled by Unix. We are changing it as fast as we can. Why, because it doesn't work? No it works well. It is all of those verbal inputs. If we could keep technicans for 50 years it would be fine. When they change every 5 years and have to learn it all over again; not so good. There lies the problems. They have less problem with Windows and Mac OS and the Equipment manufact. realize thi

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xxx), July 19, 2000.


You guessed it, I was thinking of the B language. The short-hand name for the assembler was A, so it made sense to call the "next generation" language B. They were simply following the same logic, when they invented C. I knew it wouldn't take long for someone to guess, knowing this crowd...


You are correct on both counts, UNIX is alive, and it is being replaced, somewhat, by GUI OSes. But it still has a pretty good foothold. UNIX still runs on much of the "back room" equipment, at places like ISPs. I did play with UNIX many years ago, but I never got into it. I've been mostly a DOS/Win guy, at least since they have been around...


-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), July 20, 2000.



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-- Oops, a little too fast (marquee_man@html.junkie), July 20, 2000.

Better yet (wait for it - I'll speed it up):




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