Unix: A History and a Memoir. Since its creation in a Bell Labs attic in 1969, the Unix operating system has spread far beyond anything its creators could have imagined. It has led to the development of a great deal of innovative software, influenced myriad programmers, and changed the path of computer technology.

This book is part history and part memoir. It tells the story of the origin of Unix, explaining what Unix is, how it came about, and why it matters.

Accessible to non-specialists, the book is written for anyone with an interest in computing or the history of inventions.

Published October 2019. Available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Updated Wed May 11 16:57:18 EDT 2022

Kindle Edition

Comments on Amazon indicate that some readers are unhappy with the Kindle version of the book.

The Kindle version is what Amazon calls a "print replica," which in this case is just the PDF of the paper version. Before uploading, I tried this on a Mac, on an iPad, and on a small Android phone; it was fine on the first two and usable on the phone, though not very convenient.

This format took less than two hours to produce, mostly fiddling with the cover size. The alternative, a proper flowable e-book format, is more challenging. Amazon's software for creating e-books is awkward, hard to work with, and incomplete -- for example, it supports only a small number of HTML tags, so it's hard to handle things like code fonts. But it is poorly documented.

I find it ironic that Amazon's Cloud Kindle can't handle their own format.

In any case, this is not meant as an excuse, and I do hope to produce a proper e-book format as I find time to defeat the current software.



p 9: "Multics was originally spelled MULTICS". Not true; it was always Multics (Dan Cross).

p 38: Missing word: "Ken decided *to* explore..." (Kim Tracy).

p 81: Lawrence Berkeley Lab, not Livermore (Debbie Scherrer).

p 84: "Doug's opinions ... *were* invaluable" (Alex Ginsburg).

p 86: "organized the contents of the manuals for the *7th* through 10th edition" (Doug McIlroy).

p 96: "He came up with *an* elegant idea" (Hans Wennborg).

p 121: GMPL (or MathProg) is an open-source language quite similar to AMPL (Jason Bucata).

p 125: The Morris Worm date is 1988, not 1998 (Adam Thornton).

p 128: Dave Ditzel went to Sun, then founded Transmeta (Joseph Skudlarek).

p 150: There's a missing | after the tr command in the spell example (Silas Poulson).

p 150: The command should be comm -23, since comm's arguments are the columns to omit (Diomidis Spinellis).

p 165: Typo: "Later operating systems ..." (Alex Gezerlis).

p 171: Naperville, not Napierville (Peter Weinberger).

p 178: Guido van Rossum (Hans Wennborg).

various: The pictures contributed by Gerard Holzmann are more likely to be from early 1984 than 1981, and perhaps even later.