50 years of unix


However, something else happened that summer which you won’t find in most history books… a Bell Labs researcher named Ken Thompson created the first version of Unix, which turned out to be one of the most important pieces of computer software ever invented.

This year, we celebrate 50 years of Unix! It was the summer of 1969 that Ken Thompson finished what came to be known as Unix over a three week period when his wife took his kid to visit the in-laws for summer. It would not be hyperbole to suggest that what Ken accomplished literally revolutionised computing.

Bell Labs is hosting a two-day event starting October 21st to celebrate the anniversary by reflecting on the past and envisioning the future of computing, with notable dignitaries including Brian Kernighan attending. Part of the event will be live streamed on YouTube with a panel discussing the origins of Unix.

Peter Adams, the Faces of Open Source photographer, has a short but illuminating article that shares some of the legendary Unix folklore, including stories involving the mysterious G. R. Emlin.

The golden era of Bell Labs that was home to Ken, Dennis Ritchie, Doug McIlroy, Brian Kernighan, Rudd Canaday, Peter Weinberger, and Bob Morris, among others, is unparalleled in the world of computing. This captivating interview of Ken by Brian at VCF East held earlier this year, provides a priceless glimpse into that important part of history. It is well worth the time.

Thanks, Ken, for all that you have given to the world!

Tags: unix
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