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POS 420 Week 1 DQs




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POS420: DQ’s for Week 1
Discussion Question 1 - Week 1 (Saturday):
How old of an operating system is Unix?
The story of how UNIX came to be is a long, but interesting tale. During
the mid-1960’s, the first multi-user operating system called Compatible
Time-Sharing System (CTSS) was created by Fernando Corbato at the MIT
Computation Center. Although CTSS was highly influential for its time, it
eventually failed, but not before a second generation operating system called
Multiplexed Information and Computing System (MULTICS) was
developed. MULTICS was started as a joint research project with AT&T
Bell Laboratories, General Electric, and MIT, but due to the high
maintenance costs associated with it, AT&T Bell Laboratories pulled out.
Two of the individuals working on the MULTICS project, Ken Thompson
and Dennis Ritchie, had written a computer game (Space Travel) on the
MULTICS system and were able to transfer it to a PDP-7 computer. By
1969, the file system and a set of basic utilities was created and because the
operating system could only support one user, the name Uniplexed
Information and computing System (UNICS) was given to it as a joke for the
MULTICS system. When multiprocessing functionality was added a short
time later in 1970, the UNICS name was changed to UNIX. So, to answer
the question, UNIX is over 40 years old.

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Discussion Question 2 - Week 1 (Saturday):
Who owns UNIX?
As mentioned in my first Discussion Question, UNIX was originally
created by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at AT&T Bell Laboratories in
1969. Today, the actual determination of who owns UNIX is unknown due
to legal issues. Novell holds the patent rights, which they acquired from
AT&T in 1993; the Open Group holds the trademark and the Single UNIX
Specification, and the copyrights are owned by the SCO Group (formally
known as Caldera Systems and Caldera International; now the Santa Cruz
Operation) , even though nothing has been recorded with the United States
Patent and Trademark Office. Additionally, Novell sold the Unix System V
source code and product implementation (Unixware) to SCO in 1995.
Furthermore, IBM licensed the UNIX code from AT&T in 1990 for the
development of its Advanced Interactive eXecutive (AIX) system, so there
are actually a lot of companies mixed up in the operating system.

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Discussion Question 3 - Week 1 (Sunday):
In what language is UNIX written?
UNIX is an operating system (OS) and was written in the C programming
language. As mentioned in the first Discussion Question, UNIX was the
successor of MULTICS (Multiplexed Information and Computing System)
and was developed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie in 1969. While
UNIX was being developed, Thompson and Ritchie also developed the C
programming language, which was then implemented into UNIX. The C
programming language gets its name from an earlier programming language
called “B”, which is basically a narrowed version of the Basic Combined
Programming Language (BCPL) that Thompson had been working on prior
to the development of the C programming language and UNIX. The B
programming language was used in MULTICS, but was later replaced by C.
The C programming language was actually designed and developed
because the B programming language did not work to its full potential
(lacked byte addressability) on the Programmed Data Processor 11 (PDP-11)
system; a set of 16-bit minicomputers. In order to overcome this problem,
an early version of the C programming language was designed.

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