Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Unix and Adversarial Interoperability: The ‘One Weird Antitrust Trick’ That Defined Computing

Filed under
OS
Development

The Unix operating system was created at Bell Labs in 1969. Today, it rules the world. Both Android and iOS are flavors of Unix. So is MacOS. So is GNU/Linux in all its flavors, like Ubuntu and Debian. So is Chrome OS. Virtually every "smart" gadget you own is running some flavor of Unix, from the no-name programmable Christmas lights you put up in December to the smart light-bulb and smart-speaker in your living room.

Over the years, many companies have marketed versions of Unix: Apple and Microsoft, HP and IBM, Silicon Graphics and Digital. Some of the most popular Unixes that came from universities (like BSD, from UC Berkeley) and from hobbyists (the Linux kernel was created by a 22-year-old hobbyist named Linus Torvalds).

But there's one company that never marketed Unix: AT&T, the company that paid for Unix's development. They never got into the Unix business.

In 1949, Harry Truman's Department of Justice launched an antitrust complaint against AT&T, alleging that the company had engaged in anticompetitive conduct to secure a monopoly for its hardware division, Western Electric.

But when the US entered the Korean War, AT&T was able to secure a break by citing its centrality to the US military. With the Pentagon fighting to keep AT&T intact, the Eisenhower administration let AT&T off the hook: in 1956 the US dropped its lawsuit in exchange for a "consent decree," through which AT&T promised to get out of the general electronics business and to share its patents and technical documentation with existing and new competitors.

Despite the consent decree, AT&T continued to fund a large and rollicking research and development department, the Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in New Jersey. BTL was home to some of computing history's most storied pioneers, including Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, the principal inventors of Unix, who basically created the project out of intellectual curiosity.

Thanks to the consent decree, AT&T couldn't do much with Unix, and so it remained an internal project until Ken Thompson gave a talk on his work at a 1973 Association for Computing Machinery conference. His paper stirred interest from academic and commercial computer science, and AT&T's lawyers decided that the consent decree meant that they couldn't start a new business based on Unix.

Read more

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

  • How to install go1.19beta on Ubuntu 22.04 – NextGenTips

    In this tutorial, we are going to explore how to install go on Ubuntu 22.04 Golang is an open-source programming language that is easy to learn and use. It is built-in concurrency and has a robust standard library. It is reliable, builds fast, and efficient software that scales fast. Its concurrency mechanisms make it easy to write programs that get the most out of multicore and networked machines, while its novel-type systems enable flexible and modular program constructions. Go compiles quickly to machine code and has the convenience of garbage collection and the power of run-time reflection. In this guide, we are going to learn how to install golang 1.19beta on Ubuntu 22.04. Go 1.19beta1 is not yet released. There is so much work in progress with all the documentation.

  • molecule test: failed to connect to bus in systemd container - openQA bites

    Ansible Molecule is a project to help you test your ansible roles. I’m using molecule for automatically testing the ansible roles of geekoops.

  • How To Install MongoDB on AlmaLinux 9 - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install MongoDB on AlmaLinux 9. For those of you who didn’t know, MongoDB is a high-performance, highly scalable document-oriented NoSQL database. Unlike in SQL databases where data is stored in rows and columns inside tables, in MongoDB, data is structured in JSON-like format inside records which are referred to as documents. The open-source attribute of MongoDB as a database software makes it an ideal candidate for almost any database-related project. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the MongoDB NoSQL database on AlmaLinux 9. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

  • An introduction (and how-to) to Plugin Loader for the Steam Deck. - Invidious
  • Self-host a Ghost Blog With Traefik

    Ghost is a very popular open-source content management system. Started as an alternative to WordPress and it went on to become an alternative to Substack by focusing on membership and newsletter. The creators of Ghost offer managed Pro hosting but it may not fit everyone's budget. Alternatively, you can self-host it on your own cloud servers. On Linux handbook, we already have a guide on deploying Ghost with Docker in a reverse proxy setup. Instead of Ngnix reverse proxy, you can also use another software called Traefik with Docker. It is a popular open-source cloud-native application proxy, API Gateway, Edge-router, and more. I use Traefik to secure my websites using an SSL certificate obtained from Let's Encrypt. Once deployed, Traefik can automatically manage your certificates and their renewals. In this tutorial, I'll share the necessary steps for deploying a Ghost blog with Docker and Traefik.

Red Hat Hires a Blind Software Engineer to Improve Accessibility on Linux Desktop

Accessibility on a Linux desktop is not one of the strongest points to highlight. However, GNOME, one of the best desktop environments, has managed to do better comparatively (I think). In a blog post by Christian Fredrik Schaller (Director for Desktop/Graphics, Red Hat), he mentions that they are making serious efforts to improve accessibility. Starting with Red Hat hiring Lukas Tyrychtr, who is a blind software engineer to lead the effort in improving Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Fedora Workstation in terms of accessibility. Read more

Today in Techrights

Android Leftovers