A Quarter Century of UNIX

Peter H. Salus

Publisher: Addison-Wesley, 1994, 256 pages

ISBN: 0-201-54777-5

Keywords: Operating Systems, Biography

Last modified: April 9, 2021, 1:23 p.m.

UNIX is a software system that is simple, elegant, portable, and powerful.

It grew in popularity without the benefit of a large marketing organisation. Programmers kept using it; big companies kept fighting it. After a decade, it was clear that the users had won. A Quarter Century of UNIX is the first book to explain this incredible success, using the words of its creators, developers and users to illustrate how the sociology of a technical group can overwhelm the intent of multi-billion-dollar corporations. In preparing to write this book, Peter Salus interviewed over 100 of these key figures and gathered relevant information from Australia to Austria. This is the book that turns UNIX folklore into UNIX history.


  • Provides the first documented history of the development of the UNIX operating system
  • Includes interviews with over 100 key figures in the UNIX community
  • Contains classic photos and illustrations
  • Explains why UNIX succeeded
  • Part 1 Genesis
    1. Prelude to Space
    2. Summer1969-Fall 1970
    3. Calculating and Computing
    4. Operating Systems
    5. Project MAC: CTSS and Multics
  • Part 2 Birth of a System
    1. The PDP-11
    2. First Edition, 1971
    3. C and Pipes: 1971-1973
    4. The First Paper—1973
    5. The Law—Part I
    • Status 1974
  • Part 3 What makes UNIX Unix?
    1. The Users
    2. Why Unix?
    3. Style and Tools
    4. PWB and MERT
    5. Utilities
  • Part 4 Unix Spreads and Blossoms
    1. The Users—Part II
    2. Berkeley Unix: Part I
    3. Version 7
    4. Berkeley Unix: Part II
    5. Commercial Unix
    6. DEC
    7. The Law—Part II
  • Part 5 The Unix Industry
    1. /usr/group
    2. Sun and JAWS
    3. Standards
  • Part 6 The Currents of Change
    1. Duelling Unixes
    2. Offspring Systems
    3. OSF and UI
    4. Berkeley Unix: After the VAX
    5. The Law—Part III
  • Finale
    • Finale: What Made It Work?
    • Further Reading
    • Who's Who and What's What


A Quarter Century of UNIX

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Very Good ******** (8 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:54 a.m.

The real story. Read and enjoy.


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