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Unix: How It All Began

Unix PDP-7Development for Unix started 41 years ago in 1969. A group of AT&T employees working out of Bell Laboratories suddenly found themselves without work after AT&T quit the Multics Project. Where others were mostly working on primitive batch computing, Ken Thompson, one of the AT&T developers, was left with the Multics developed ideas on how to build a file system. He found himself without the machine he had worked on for some years now and had even wrote a game for called Space Travel.

Unix was first developed on a PDP-7 (see image on the left), the "minicomputer" of it's time. This PDP-7 was Thompson's testbed for his operating system idea, it was also his a way to play his baby, Space Travel. I will not explain the complete origin story of Unix here but Thompson and his co-inventor Dennis Ritchie (also the inventor of the C program language) and Doug McIlroy with a few more colleagues, developed the basis of not only many Linux derivatives but also the Mac OS. With Unix they provided a nicer programming environment the the card-fed monsters that everyone else was forced to use. This code was thought up by three people and implemented by Ken Thompson in three days.

Read our guide to find more information on Unix history and development, as well as user tips and tricks.

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