Rockefeller University, where I work, was one of the original UNIX sites. In 1975, Mel Ferentz held what was apparently the second UNIX users group meeting (it is not clear if he was one of the organizers of the first meeting, in 1974). Mel went on to build USENIX out of those meetings. He moved on to Rockefeller University soon after those first meetings; just before I started at RU Computing Services, Mel stepped down as Director of RUCS, and moved on to develop Internet2 at NYSERNET.

Last week, Mark Kowitz left RU IT (RUCS after a name change), where he had worked for 23 years. Mark met his wife, Robin, in RUCS over 20 years ago. I met Amy there too, when I started in 1992 (I left in 1995, and Amy left in 1996; I came back; she has not). While cleaning out his papers, Mark found some old documentation on booting UNIX on the PDP-11/70, VAX 11/750, and VAX 11/780, and passed it along to me. Mark doesn't remember whether he or Mel wrote the documentation, but it is visibly classic UNIX documentation (distinctive fonts and layout).

Ancient UNIX boot instructions

You can see some more about booting PDP-11 UNIX (in emulation) at Ancient UNIX, Digital Archeology, and Amit Singh's GBA UNIX.

To give you some idea of how much water there has since been under this particular bridge, UNIX was first developed on a DEC PDP-7 in 1969. Digital Equipment Corporation was basically bought by Compaq, which itself was later acquired by HP. This version of UNIX contains Western Electric license statement; UNIX was createdat Bell Labs, which was jointly owned by Western Electric and AT&T. Bell Labs was later absorbed into AT&T, spun out as part of Lucent, and merged with Alcatel to become part of Alcatel-Lucent.

AT&T split off UNIX into UNIX System Labs, which was later bought by Novell. Novell sold much of the UNIX business to Santa Cruz Operation, which sold its UNIX rights and the "SCO" name to Caldera. SCO changed its name to Tarantella and Caldera transformed itself from a Linux company into a UNIX company named "SCO Group". Alas, Caldera didn't make money either way, and eventually sued the world -- IBM, Novell, various of its own customers, etc.

Along the way, several BSDs were created to provide an alternative to AT&T's UNIX, later providing a family of excellent UNIX-based operating systems (including the core of Mac OS X). In contrast, Linux was launched in 1991 by Linux Torvalds, born in 1969, the same year as UNIX.

Those little pages are quite a time capsule!

Another paper, by Dennis Richie: