Fun_People Archive
9 Feb
The Origin of Unix

Date: Tue,  9 Feb 93 09:40:20 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: The Origin of Unix

Although a bit melodramatic in places, I believe it's pretty accurate...
 - psl
 From: Daniel.Steinberg@Eng.Sun.COM
 From: (Ian Horswill)

   Unix was a program gone bad.  Born into poverty, its parents, the
phone company, couldn't afford more than a roll of teletype paper a
year, so Unix never had decent documentation and its source files
had to go without any comments whatsoever.  Year after year, Papa Bell
would humiliate itself asking for rate increases so that it could feed
its child.  Still, unix had to go to school with only two and three
letter command names because the phone company just couldn't afford
any better.  At school, the other operating systems with real command
names, and even command completion, would taunt poor little Unix for
not having any job or terminal management facilities or for having to
use its file system for interprocess communication and locking.
   Then, bitter and emasculated by its poverty, the phone company
began to drink.  During lost weekends of drunken excess, it would
brutally beat poor little Unix about the face and neck.  Eventually,
Unix ran away from home.  Soon it was living on the streets of
Berkeley.  There, Unix got involved with a bad crowd.  Its life became
a degrading journey of drugs and debauchery.  To keep itself alive, it
sold cheap source licenses for itself to universities which used it
for medical experiments.  Being wantonly hacked by an endless stream
of nameless, faceless undergraduates, both men and women, often by
more than one at the same time, Unix fell into a hell-hole of
   And so it was that poor little Unix began to go insane.  It
retreated steadily into a dreamworld, the only place where it felt
safe.  It took heroin and dreamed of being a real operating system.
It took LSD and dreamed of being a raspberry flavored three-toed yak.
It liked that better.  As Unix became increasingly attracted to LSD,
it would spend weekends reading Hunter Thompson and taking cocktails
of acid and speed while writing crazed poetry in which it found deep
meaning but which no one else could understand:

    $sed <$mf >$ -e '1,/^# AUTOMATICALLY/!d'

    make shlist || ($echo "Searching for .SH files..."; \
	    $echo *.SH | $tr ' ' '\012' | $egrep -v '\*' >.shlist)
    if $test -s .deptmp; then
	for file in `cat .shlist`; do
	    $echo `$expr X$file : 'X\(.*\).SH'`: $file \; \
		/bin/sh $file >> .deptmp
	$echo "Updating $mf..."
	$echo "# If this runs make out of memory, delete /usr/include lines." \
	    >> $
	$sed 's|^\(.*\.o:\) *\(.*/.*\.c\) *$|\1 \2; '"$defrule \2|" .deptmp \
	make hlist || ($echo "Searching for .h files..."; \
	    $echo *.h | $tr ' ' '\012' | $egrep -v '\*' >.hlist)
	$echo "You don't seem to have a proper C preprocessor.  Using grep inst
	$egrep '^#include ' `cat .clist` `cat .hlist`  >.deptmp
	$echo "Updating $mf..."
	<.clist $sed -n							\
	    -e '/\//{'							\
	    -e   's|^\(.*\)/\(.*\)\.c|\2.o: \1/\2.c; '"$defrule \1/\2.c|p"
	    -e   d							
	    -e '}'							
	    -e 's|^\(.*\)\.c|\1.o: \1.c|p' >> $
	<.hlist $sed -n 's|\(.*/\)\(.*\)|s= \2= \1\2=|p' >.hsed
	<.deptmp $sed -n 's|c:#include "\(.*\)".*$|o: \1|p' | \
	   $sed 's|^[^;]*/||' | \
	   $sed -f .hsed >> $
	<.deptmp $sed -n 's|c:#include <\(.*\)>.*$|o: /usr/include/\1|p' \
	   >> $
	<.deptmp $sed -n 's|h:#include "\(.*\)".*$|h: \1|p' | \
	   $sed -f .hsed >> $
	<.deptmp $sed -n 's|h:#include <\(.*\)>.*$|h: /usr/include/\1|p' \
	   >> $
	for file in `$cat .shlist`; do
	    $echo `$expr X$file : 'X\(.*\).SH'`: $file \; \
		/bin/sh $file >> $

Eventually, Unix began walking down Telegraph Avenue talking to
itself, saying "Panic: freeing free inode," over and over again.
Sometimes it would accosting perfect strangers and yell "Bus error
them in a high pitched squeal like a chihuaua with amphetamine
psychosis.  Upstanding citizens pretended it was invisible.  Mothers
with children crossed to the other side of the street.
   Then one evening Unix watched television, an event which would
change its life.  There it discovered professional wrestling and knew
that it had found its true calling.  It began to take huge doses of
corticosteroids to build itself up even bigger than the biggest of the
programs which had beaten it up as a child.  It ate three dozen
pancakes and four dozen new features for breakfast each day.  As the
complications of the steroids grew worse, its internal organs grew to
the point where Unix could no longer contain them.  First the kernel
grew, then the C library, then the number of daemons.  Soon one of its
window systems was requiring two megabytes of swap space for each open
window.  Unix began to bulge in strange, unflattering places.  But
Unix continued to take the drugs and its internal organs continued to
grow.  They grew out its ears and nostrils.  They placed incredible
stresses on Unix's brain until it finally liquefied under pressure.
Soon Unix had the mass of Andre the Giant, the body of the Elephant
Man, and the mind of a forgotten Jack Nicholson character.
   The worst strain was on Unix's mind.  Unable to assimilate all the
conflicting patchworks of features it had ingested, its personality
began to fragment into millions of distinct, incompatible operating
systems.  People would cautiously say "good morning Unix.  And who are
we today?" and it would reply "Beastie" (BSD), or "Domain", or "I'm
System III, but I'll be System V tomorrow."  Psychiatrists labored for
years to weld together the two major poles of Unix's personality,
"Beasty Boy", an inner-city youth from Berkeley, and "Belle", a
southern transvestite who wanted a to be a woman.  With each attempt,
the two poles would mutate, like psychotic retroviruses, leaving their
union a worthless blob of protoplasm requiring constant life support
remain compatible with its parent personalities.
   Finally, unbalanced by its own cancerous growth, Unix fell into a
vat of toxic radioactive wombat urine, from which it emerged, skin
white and hair green.   It smelled like somebody's dead grandmother.
With a horrible grin on its face, it set out to conquer the world .

----- End Included Message -----

[=] © 1993 Peter Langston []