Papers about Unix Portability

In 1976-1977 the Unix system was rendered portable, thus starting a continuing industry. The account by Steve Johnson and me, `Portability of C Programs and the UNIX System,' was published in the Bell System Technical Journal; it is now on-line as PDF, Postscript, or HTML formats.

This is rendered via OCR from BSTJ v57 #6 part 2 (Jul-Aug. 1978; pp. 2021-2048). Johnson and I seem to have misplaced the original source.

The work it describes was important, both for the development of the Unix system and for the changes in C that were made for the portability work. The OS changes went into the Seventh Edition distribution; some of the C changes made it into general AT&T compiler distributions, but some had to await the first ANSI standard.

Although we didn't know it at the time we started, Richard Miller, then at University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia, was doing essentially the same thing, amazingly enough on nearly the same machine: the Interdata 7/32 for him, the 8/32 for us. Our paper takes account of his work, but our contemporary references to it are mostly in the form of "Personal Communication;" there is a reference to a talk presented to AUUG, later published as "UNIX -- A Portable Operating System?" in ACM Operating Systems Review 12(3), July 1978, pp. 32-37, (eerily enough, the same month as our BSTJ paper), but an on-line copy of this does not seem to exist.

More recently, Miller has made available an account of his work, as presented at the Usenix 1998 Annual Technical Conference: this is available in Postscript from Usenix. At the same event, Johnson presented his latter-day recollection (Postscript) of our work, and Juris Reinfelds presented his own perspective (also Postscript) as Miller's mentor.

newThe portability work blossomed quite soon. Tom London and John Reiser, working from the 7th Edition and the Interdata 8/32 system, generated a VAX 11/780 version of the system, which, in its distribution format, would be called 32V. This was the basis for the VAX versions of the BSD systems. Early on (July 7, 1978), London and Reiser wrote an internal memo on their work, which is here reproduced (following OCR) in PDF, Postscript, or in browsable HTML.

Naoki Hamada kindly produced this HTML version, in the process restoring some of the markup I left out of even the PS and PDF version.

The big (1.3MB) PDF scan of the original is also available.

After the 32V port to the VAX, the system was moved to quite a variety of machines by others in Bell Labs, including some that stretched the state of the art, such as the Univac 1100 series (a 36-bit, one's complement machine). Several of these systems are discussed in a paper by Bodenstab et al., again from AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal, Vol. 63, No. 8, part 2, October 1984 (pp. 1769-1790). This paper is available in HTML, PostScript, or PDF formats.

Another effort was more important internally, since it came to be used as the main software development system for AT&T's #5ESS telephone switch; the paper describes an adaptation of Unix running on IBM S/370 hardware using the kernel of IBM's TSS system. By Felton et al., it is likewise reproduced from AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal, Vol. 63, No. 8, part 2, October 1984 (pp. 1751-1767). Available as HTML, PostScript, or PDF formats.

These renditions are the edited result of OCR; errors may have been introduced by me.

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