Research Unix

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Research Unix is a term used to refer to versions of the Unix operating system for DEC PDP-7, PDP-11, VAX and Interdata 7/32 and 8/32 computers, developed in the Bell Labs Computing Science Research Center (frequently referred to as Department 1127).


The term Research Unix first appeared in the Bell System Technical Journal (Vol. 57, No. 6, Pt. 2 Jul/Aug 1978) to distinguish it from other versions internal to Bell Labs (such as PWB/UNIX and MERT) whose code-base had diverged from the primary CSRC version. However, that term was little-used until Version 8 Unix, but has been retroactively applied to earlier versions as well. Prior to V8, the operating system was most commonly called simply UNIX (in caps) or the UNIX Time-Sharing System.

Because both the early versions and the last few were never officially released outside of Bell Labs, and grew rather organically, Research Unix versions are often referred to by the edition of the manual that describes them. So, the first Research Unix would be the First Edition, and the last the Tenth Edition. Another common way of referring to them is Version x (or Vx) Unix, where x is the manual edition.

All modern editions of Unix (excepting implementations from scratch like Coherent, Minix, and Linux, usually referred to as Unix-like) derive from the 7th Edition.


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