Posted on Sunday, June 6, 2021
I recently finished reading the book “UNIX - A History and a Memoir” by Brian Kernighan which was a great read, especially for someone who is into the UNIX operating system as much as I am.
On about 180 pages the book tells the story how UNIX came about and how its groundbreaking concepts changed the path of computer technology and led to a whole lot of new and innovative software, which still is in use over 50 years later.
What I particularly liked about the book is not only the intelligible and entertaining style it is written in, but especially that the events are portrayed first-hand by Brian, who had been closely working with the Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at the time when Unix was created at Computing Science Research Center at Bell Labs.
It was especially interesting to learn, how the particulars, the exactly fitting mix of people and work environment, time and events led to something far beyond what the creators could have imagined.
If you are interested in computing or computing history, or in Unix specifically, this book is for you.
At the end of the book Brian had referenced a couple of web links I almost was too lazy to type in. But I did it anyway and it led to some interesting resources on the topic. Mainly for my own reference, I’ve listed some of them below. Be aware that this is by no means the complete list of references Brian had mentioned. There are a whole lot more, especially to papers and books.
- The Creation of the UNIX Operating System
- Michael Noll about his time at Bell Labs
- The Multics mainframe operating system
- Doug McIlroy’s A Research UNIX Reader
- The Unix Heritage Society (especially the Unix source code)
- An Oral History of Unix
- Video: VCF East 2019 – Brian Kernighan interviews Ken Thompson
- Dennis Ritchie’s homepage
- A History of UNIX before Berkeley: UNIX Evolution: 1975-1984