This month Unix celebrates its 40th birthday. Though for being over the hill, the operating system just seems to be getting better with age… or at least it’s definitely not become obsolete.
In 1969, Ken Thompson, a researcher at Bell Labs who had previously been working on a larger operating system project when AT&T pulled the plug, wrote the core code of Unix in a month, or so the story goes. And especially when AT&T gave away the software for free, it took off in the academic community.
Of course, now we see Unix everywhere–from the servers that run the net to Sun’s Solaris to the guts of Mac’s OSX. And even systems that are just “Unix-like” might not exist if it weren’t for that month of coding in 1969. GNU might be a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix,” but the free software movement was largely influenced by Unix’s policies of online documentation and open access to source code.
So happy birthday… and many more.