UNIX, circa 1984
By bmc on Nov 24, 2004
While I had heard of VENIX (a System III derivative), I had never used it before today. (And nor, presumably, have the good folks at pharmanex.) In using it, it's clear that VENIX had some BSD influence: VENIX 2.0 includes both csh (blech) and vi (phew). Using a twenty year old UNIX is a strange experience: I'm amazed at how little the most basic things have changed. There was very little that I didn't recognize ("em1" anyone?), and I was familiar with all of the tools necessary to write a program (vi), compile it (cc) and debug it (adb). Using the latter of these was the most amusing; here's a screenshot of me using adb.
Compare this output with the output of "$a" on adb, and you'll see why this got me excited. (And then try "$a" on mdb for our warped idea of an easter egg.) It should go without saying that I looked (so far in vain) for an Algol 68 compiler on this system. Seeing adb spit out a true Algol stack backtrace would be like sipping from the debugging fountain of youth...
While it's amazing how familiar VENIX feels, I'm also stunned by how anemic its facilites are: it has no TCP/IP stack, no real filesystem, no multiple processor support, no resource management, no dynamic linking, no real virtual memory system, no observability and poor debuggability. It reminds me how far we have come -- even before we embarked on the far more radical technologies found in Solaris 10...
Now, does anyone know of a Language H compiler for the PDP-11?