Posts Tagged ‘Unix’

Ask Slashdot: What Should a Unix Fan Look For In a Windows Expert?

August 30th, 2012 08:00 admin View Comments


andy5555 writes “I am hardcore Unix (and recently storage) fan responsible for our server department. Most of the servers run (you guessed it) different types of Unix. For quite a long time, Windows servers played very little role, but sometimes we get applications from our business departments which run only under Windows. So it seems that we have to take it seriously and hire a few Windows fans who would be able to take care of the (still small but growing) number of Windows servers. Since I am Unix fan, I have very little knowledge of Windows (some of my teammates may have more, but we are not experts). If I have to hire such a person I would like to find someone who is passionate about Windows. It is easy for me to recognize a Windows fan, but I don’t know how to test his/her knowledge. There are some sites with typical Windows interview questions, but everybody can read them and prepare. How would you recommend the hiring process to proceed? What should I ask?”

Source: Ask Slashdot: What Should a Unix Fan Look For In a Windows Expert?

Ask Slashdot: Comparing the Value of Skilled Admins vs. Contributing Supervisors

June 9th, 2012 06:12 admin View Comments


HappyDude writes “I’ve been asked to manage a department in our IT group. It’s comprised of UNIX, VMWare, Citrix, EMC and HP SAN Admins, Technicians and Help Desk personnel. The group covers the spectrum in years of experience. I am a 20-year Admin veteran of Engineering and Health Care IT systems including UNIX, Oracle DBA, Apache HTTP/Tomcat, WebSphere, software design plus other sundry jack-of-all-trades kinds of stuff. Although I consider myself a hack at most of those trades, I’m reasonably good at any one of them when I’m submerged. I also have 10 years of Project Management experience in Engineering and Health Care related IT organizations. I do have formal PM training, but haven’t bothered to seek credentialing. I’m being told that I’ll be worth less to the organization as a supervisor than what I’m making now, but the earning potential is greater if I accept the management position. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they’re offering to start me in the new position at the same wage I’m currently making. Does this make any sense, Slashdot? “ Read on for further details.

Source: Ask Slashdot: Comparing the Value of Skilled Admins vs. Contributing Supervisors

Google Talks About Its Ubuntu Experience

May 12th, 2012 05:12 admin View Comments


dartttt writes “There was a very interesting session at the Ubuntu Developer Summit by Google developer Thomas Bushnell. He talked about how Ubuntu, its derivatives and Goobuntu (Google’s customized Ubuntu based distro) are used by Google developers. He starts by saying ‘Precise Rocks,’ and that many Google employees use Ubuntu — including managers, software engineers, translators, people who wrote the original Unix, and people who have no clue about Unix. Many developers working on Chrome and Android use Ubuntu. Ubuntu systems at Google are upgraded every LTS release. The entire process of upgrading can take as much as four months, and it is also quite expensive, as one reboot or a small change can cost them as much as a million dollars across the company.” Bushnell also mentions that Google Drive will soon be available for Linux. Other news out of UDS: there was discussion of a GNOME flavor of 12.10, Electronic Arts reaffirmed that they “won’t delay their Windows work for Linux,” and Unity 2D is likely to disappear in 12.10.

Source: Google Talks About Its Ubuntu Experience

Remembering Dennis Ritchie, Creator of the C Programming Language and UNIX Co-Creator

December 26th, 2011 12:00 admin View Comments

dennis-ritchie.jpgDennis M. Ritchie, co-creator of UNIX and father of the C programming language, died this past weekend after a long illness. It’s no exaggeration to say that without Ritchie, modern computing would not be what it is today.

Often known as “dmr,” Ritchie was born in Bronxville, NY in 1941. He studied at Harvard University, initially focusing on physics. Ritchie said that he entered computing because “my undergraduate experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be a physicist, and that computers were quite neat.”

Redux2011.pngEditor’s note: This story is part of a series we call Redux, where we’re re-publishing some of our best posts of 2011. As we look back at the year – and ahead to what next year holds – we think these are the stories that deserve a second glance. It’s not just a best-of list, it’s also a collection of posts that examine the fundamental issues that continue to shape the Web. We hope you enjoy reading them again and we look forward to bringing you more Web products and trends analysis in 2012. Happy holidays from Team ReadWriteWeb!

“As a result, C became in effect a universal assembler: close enough to the machine to be cost effective, but far enough away that a C program could be compiled for and run well on any machine.” Brian Kerninghan

Ritchie joined Bell Labs in 1967 and worked with a group of developers, including Ken Thompson, to create UNIX, the first version of which was released in 1969. Initially called UNICS (following a system called MULTICS) was written in a low-level assembly language by Thompson. According to Thompson, Ritchie’s contribution to UNIX was “mostly on the language and the I/O system.”

The Creation of C

The language, of course, was C. So named because it followed the B (for Bell Labs) programming language, C is a higher-level language designed to allow cross-platform programming. To make it portable to different hardware, it was re-written in C, and released in 1971 as UNIX.


Brian Kerninghan said that with C “Dennis managed to find a perfect balance between expressiveness and efficiency. It was just right for creating systems programs like compilers, editors, and even operating systems. C made it possible for a programmer to get close to the machine for efficiency but remain far enough away to avoid being tied to a specific machine… As a result, C became in effect a universal assembler: close enough to the machine to be cost effective, but far enough away that a C program could be compiled for and run well on any machine.”

The concept of a multi-platform language and operating system no doubt seem, well, unexceptional today. However, at the time, it was unheard of, as Herb Sutter notes.

“Before C, there was far more hardware diversity than we see in the industry today. Computers proudly sported not just deliciously different and offbeat instruction sets, but varied wildly in almost everything, right down to even things as fundamental as character bit widths… There was no such thing as a general-purpose program that was both portable across a variety of hardware and also efficient enough to compete with custom code written for just that hardware.”

Tim Bray writes, “Unix combines more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else I’ve seen or am likely to see in my lifetime… It is impossible – absolutely impossible – to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I’ve been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years.”

The combination of C and UNIX have been at the core of computing ever since, and are (in slightly altered form) still going strong today. UNIX, as a portable and multi-user operating system, became extremely popular. AT&T was prohibited from entering the computer market at the time UNIX was created, so it was freely spread far and wide to businesses, schools, and within the U.S. government.


UNIX ultimately spawned dozens of versions, including SunOS and Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, NeXTSTEP, BSD, A/UX, Mac OS X and many others. UNIX inspired the GNU Project and Linux, though they are not derived from the same codebase.

C is still widely used, as are its direct descendants; C++, Perl, Objective-C, Java, C#, PHP and many others.


The popularity of C has been helped by The C Programming Language, often referred to as K&R for its co-authors: Kerninghan and Ritchie.

The book was published in 1978, and is a comprehensive guide to C in less than 300 pages. Kerninghan said that he “twisted Dennis’s arm into writing it” which was “probably the smartest thing I ever did.” Kerninghan called Ritchie “an exceptionally clear and elegant writer.”

“It is impossible – absolutely impossible – to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I’ve been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years.” Tim Bray

K&R continues to be considered an important guide to C. It was revised in 1988 to accommodate the ANSI C standard, and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Kerninghan said that the book has been successful “in large part because of the success of C, though it probably helped that the book, like the language, is rather small and simple, and made it possible for people to do useful things quickly.”

The book made popular the now-obligatory “Hello World!” example, which explains how to create a small program that prints “Hello World!” to the display.

Later Career

Later in his career, Ritchie continued in computer research and contributed to the creation of Plan 9 and Inferno distributed operating systems.

While neither Plan 9 or Inferno have achieved widespread popularity, Inferno has been released as open source and is under continued development.

Ritchie retired as the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department in 2007. He received numerous awards for his achievements, including the U.S. National Medal of Technology in 1999 in conjunction with Thompson.

Rob Pike, who worked with Ritchie at Bell Labs and on the Plan 9 and Inferno projects, reported Ritchie’s passing yesterday, saying, “He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.”

Source: Remembering Dennis Ritchie, Creator of the C Programming Language and UNIX Co-Creator

Researchers Expanding Diff, Grep Unix Tools

December 8th, 2011 12:44 admin View Comments


itwbennett writes “At the Usenix Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference being held this week in Boston, two Dartmouth computer scientists presented variants of the grep and diff Unix command line utilities that can handle more complex types of data. The new programs, called Context-Free Grep and Hierarchical Diff, will provide the ability to parse blocks of data rather than single lines. The research has been funded in part by Google and the U.S. Energy Department.”

Source: Researchers Expanding Diff, Grep Unix Tools

The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix

December 2nd, 2011 12:45 admin View Comments


riverat1 writes “After AT&T dropped the Multics project in March of 1969, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie of Bell Labs continued to work on the project, through a combination of discarded equipment and subterfuge, eventually writing the first programming manual for System I in November 1971. A paper published in 1974 in the Communications of the ACM on Unix brought a flurry of requests for copies. Since AT&T was restricted from selling products not directly related to telephones or telecommunications, they released it to anyone who asked for a nominal license fee. At conferences they displayed the policy on a slide saying, ‘No advertising, no support, no bug fixes, payment in advance.’ From that grew an ecosystem of users supporting users much like the Linux community. The rest is history.”

Source: The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix

Ask Slashdot: GNU/Linux Laptops?

October 24th, 2011 10:08 admin View Comments

GNU is Not Unix

conner_bw writes “I’m an OS X user looking to switch to a Linux laptop. I like the Unix/BSD aspect of OS X. Simple things like when I close the lid the laptop goes to sleep, the sound card works out of the box, long battery life, minimum cooling fan noise, and a comprehensive but relatively straightforward backup system and ‘AppleCare’ package are important to me. What all-inclusive model of laptop and distro would you recommend?” He didn’t mention it, but I am presuming that working Wifi should be on that list too.

Source: Ask Slashdot: GNU/Linux Laptops?

Early UNIX Contributor Robert Morris Dead at 78

June 30th, 2011 06:07 admin View Comments


dtmos writes “Robert Morris, a major contributor to the Unix password and security features while at Bell Labs, has passed at the age of 78. His interesting life was made even more interesting by his son, Robert Tappan Morris, who invented the computer worm.”

Source: Early UNIX Contributor Robert Morris Dead at 78

Imagining the CLI For the Modern Machine

May 19th, 2011 05:26 admin View Comments


scc writes TermKit is a re-think of the storied Unix terminal, where human views, input and data pipes are separated. Output viewers render any kind of data usefully. It may not be a new idea, but it’s certainly a new take on it.” I know you are quite comfortable in your shell of old, but this sort of thing sure gets my juices going. The best of both worlds.

Source: Imagining the CLI For the Modern Machine

SCO Found No Source Code In 2004

March 2nd, 2011 03:13 admin View Comments


doperative writes “A consultant hired by SCO in 2004 to compare UNIX and Linux, with the thought he could be used as an expert at trial, says that, after days and days, his comparison tool found ‘very little correlation’. When he told that to SCO, it paid him and he never heard from SCO again.”

Source: SCO Found No Source Code In 2004