back to article Who wants a giant poster of the history of Unix?

This one is strictly for the hardcore fan - for the very first time, it says here, you have the chance to purchase a giant poster showing the history and development of Unix. That's right - this 40 foot poster includes over 1,000 versions of 150 different types of Unix. Backed with fractal art by Alan Tenant, the poster is …


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  1. Pete Silver badge

    Only if I'm on it

    > 1,000 versions of 150 different types of Unix

    And that goes a long way to explaining why we have a MS dominated world today.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Tried to access the link from work..... Blocked....

    Reason: The Websense category "Malicious Web Sites" is filtered.



  3. Anonymous Coward

    Never gonna get that on the wall

    Anyone geeky enough to want to own one of these won't have enough friends (real ones, not Farcebook ones) to hold it up whilst they gaffa tape it in place! :-D

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Wow, only $339!

    I'll bet the orders pour in!


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    maybe I'm not geek enough

    but I can think of far more entertaining ways to initiate a divorce than bringing home a $300, 40-foot poster

  6. Don Mitchell

    Bell Labs History

    here's some early history:

    I worked at Bell Labs during the 1980s and heard a few of these stories from the creators of UNIX. One thing you don't tend to see in articles is just how bad Multics was, apparently so inefficient on two people could use it at once, which just barely made it a "timesharing" system. The break with MIT never healed, there was still a lot of philosophical disagreement about software between Bell Labs and MIT even in the 1980s. You can find anti-Bell-Labs diatribes from MIT.

    MIT initially hated UNIX, and I think the real reason was that UNIX swept through the academic computer science community and destroyed MIT's dreams of dominating the CSci community with LISP and other systems they were developing, like ITS. Ken Thompson was also very hostile toward the MIT AI lab's research, which he considered to be little more "grant fraud". It's ironic, considering that today Stallman has achieved so much success on the basis of Linux.

  7. regadpellagru
    Gates Halo

    SYS V rel 3 anyone ?

    "That's right - this 40 foot poster includes over 1,000 versions of 150 different types of Unix."

    <SIGH> There used to be a time when there was only SYS V rel 3 and maybe its competitor BSD UNIX. Someone at that time told me "Now, everything will consolidate into the SYS V branch". Boy, how could he have been proved more wrong than that.

    Linux is still only a kernel with a miriad of distros, accounting for many of the poster I think, and each commercial Unix is as proprietary as MVS could ever be.

    As the first poster said, only Windows is a standard.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE: Who wants a giant poster...

    Looking at the website, that fractal art crap makes it a bit hard to read.

  9. Pete Silver badge

    @Don Mitchell

    > just how bad Multics was, apparently so inefficient on two people could use it at once

    You're badly misinformed, my friend. When I was at university, we had a Multics installation to serve the whole campus. It worked fine, supporting the whole student body and staff. I personally saw dozens / maybe a hundred people all using these new-fangled VDUs (at 600 Baud!!!!) all running quite happily - though the "cookie monster" would occasionally get one of them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Websense is so cool

    The Websense category "Malicious Web Sites" is filtered.

  11. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Dead Vulture

    In English please

    "I can think of far more entertaining ways to initiate a divorce than bringing home a $300 "

    40-foot poster"

    300 and something dollars is like something like 1200 two and sixes like.

    And 1200 half crowns is like 150 quid like. Well you could like put it up like in a garage like and she'd never like know.


    You could distract her by arguing the relative measures taken to devalue the pound from the good old days. When did pot noodle cost half a crown? like.

  12. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Down

    typical bloody unix

    gets the job done but is bloody ugly.

    couldn't he have at least experimented with some nice fonts and a slight drop shadow/outer glow to stop text disappearing in front of that crappy fractal?

  13. paulc

    FYI... Linux is NOT a Unix...

    GNU stands for Gnu is Not Unix...

  14. Anonymous Coward


    It will obsolete in a week...

  15. jake Silver badge


    Linux isn't GNU, either. However, it IS a UNIX-like OS, as is/were aix, mac osx, coherent, hp/ux, solaris, sunos, etc. I am not a fan of wiki-anything, but my brother sent me this link to a chart listing the links (or lack thereof) of most of the major players over the years.

    I note with interest that Mark Williams Coherent isn't included. Mark Williams C was one of my go-to tools for years ... You could fit the whole system, including compiler, assembler, linker, libraries, decent screen editor, etc. on a single, DOS-bootable 1.44 floppy!

  16. Neil Kay

    Print your own...

    In the spirit of Open Source...

    (also includes a view of the poster mentioned in the article)

    /I can't seem to fit the 40ft one in me coat pocket!

  17. Ed

    Look at the right hand end...

    The right hand end is about 50% Mac-derived versions - OS X, iPhone OS, Darwin and Apple TV...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: GNU stands for Gnu is Not Unix...

    The one thing that annoys me every time I try to pick a Linux distribution (wanting to see what all the noise is about). The eternal 'smugness / douche bag' factor of recursive acronyms i.e. WINE Is Not [an] Emulator, LAME [is (not?)] Another Mp3 Encoder, etc ad naseum. And that most software stays either the eternal Beta stage or that versions never line up in Major releases of 'distros'. And the fact there are so many 'distros' were people even have little wars about which one is better.

    I use a mix of Solaris/BSD/Windows for everything, choosing which based on the situation. The Linux 'community' has seemed to me like a big old 'mines bigger' contest, where no one wins and everyone wonders why they aren't popular...

  19. jake Silver badge

    @AC 06:20

    "I use a mix of Solaris/BSD/Windows for everything, choosing which based on the situation. The Linux 'community' has seemed to me like a big old 'mines bigger' contest, where no one wins and everyone wonders why they aren't popular..."

    When it comes to Linux distributions, I recommend ignoring the fanbois ... but if you really know what the BSDs are, why are you babbling about "mine's bigger" and "winning" and "popularity" instead of just using what works?

    Just for a change of pace, why not try a tried & true, decade-and-a-half-old Linux distribution. One that's been around the block a few times, and knows what un*x and stability means. That would be Slackware (soon to be seen in a convenient 64bit version, finally).

    If you claim you like one or another of the BSDs (which I've been using for decades), and yet hate Linux, I call bullshit on your part.

    The acronyms are a part of the culture. There is learning in there, if you pay attention.

  20. Major N


    Ah, Slackware. I remember thee. A friend of mine installed it on a PC of mine, and said 'there you go, have fun'. Broke it in less than an hour. Got him to fix it, watched what he did, and then broke it again. This time I knew how to fix it. I much preferred Slack to the others, since it _didn't_ have all of the fancy stuff like APT, and you had to get everyhting manually. you always knew what was installed on it, since you put it there. PITA to resolve some dependancies, mind you, and I ended up with Deb on my prod server due to the security updates. Come Slack x64, think I'll move back...

    Anyway, to get back on topic, why do I want one of those? I know I shouldn't, can't afford one (damn, they're expensive. And why are they weatherproof? Who is pinning them outside? May as well get a massive banner proclaiming 'I AM A MASSIVE GEEK' and hang it above your front door. Probably cheaper too...), and have nowhere to put it, but damn, i want one!

  21. Jonathan Knight

    BSD Distro's

    Can we have a BSD distro fight? Mine favourite was Solaris 1.2 (SunOS 4.1.2) which was a BSD4.2 with all the 4.3 and 4.4 bits added in ad hoc and some other Sun specific bits on top. Although I still have a hankering for the old Ultrix 1.2a distro. You can keep Dynix.

  22. Nexox Enigma

    Where to hang this...

    I think I could barely fit this by hanging it on all 4 walls of my living room... but then I'd cover all the doors and windows, so I wouldn't be able to get in (out actually... I'd be trapped in there.)

    And yes, Slackware is rather nice... Didn't know about that x64 version, but now all of a sudden I can't wait. One thing people didn't mention about it is that compared to all the bleeding edge distros, it's rather fast. And you can kill X when you want to without worrying that it'll just come back!

  23. Pink Duck
    Thumb Down


    I like my months with capital letters and my dates in English (British) format. So I guess that rules me out as a buyer.

  24. BioTube

    @AC 6:20

    First, LAME stands for "Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder", though it's evolved into one and Wine dropped the acronym long ago. Second, Debian's the only distro I've used that's worth the trouble(as far as repo size goes, Debian's king - 26K+ packages is nothing to sneeze at!).

  25. Another Anonymous Coward

    And there is the reason why it'll never take off.

    Despite the fact that I'd quite like it to. Too many different confusing distros and variations.

    And nearly all of them have obscure and utterly hideous acronym-based names which are virtually impossible to pronounce or even read in some cases. Compare:

    Mac Operating System. Photoshop. Windows Media Player.

    Kubuntu. Xandros. GIMP. Totem. GNUmetris (wtf is that? Oh wait, it's tetris)

    Only OpenOffice has remotely normal monickers that don't look like they were thought of by a man sitting in the centre of four padded and faeces-smeared walls. The dorky names need to go.

  26. W

    @ pete & regadpellagru

    "...only Windows is a standard."

    Please have a gander at the already referenced (specifically

    ...and then come back and tell us more about this Windows 'standard'. I'm almost exclusively a Windows user, but I've spent some time on other systems and know the benefits of the various OSs.

  27. W

    On the subject of timelines:

    is an excellent GNU/Linux timeline/family tree. Whilst less comprehensive than the one by Éric Lévénez, it's easier to digest.

  28. Robert Brockway


    MS dominates the desktop for sure but it doesn't quite dominate the world. Go through a data centre sometime and checkout how many boxes are running Linux, FreeBSD or some other version of *nix.

    Caveat: You'll probably have to ask the owners in most cases but some boxes always sport a Tux, Debian swirl or Beasty sticker.

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