Research Unix

Version 4Eighth EditionEighth Edition Unix8th EditionThird EditionUNIX 8th EditionUNIX Time-Sharing System v10UNIX Time-Sharing System v8UNIX TIme-Sharing System v9Version 1
Research Unix refers to early 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 Sciences Research Center.wikipedia
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Research Unix refers to early 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 Sciences Research Center.
Bell Labs produced several versions of Unix that are collectively referred to as "Research Unix".

Cat (Unix)

cattacuseless use of cat
was part of the early versions of Unix, e.g., Version 1, and replaced pr, a PDP-7 utility for copying a single file to the screen.


sysvinitinit systeminit process
In Unix systems such as System III and System V, the design of init has diverged from the functionality provided by the init in Research Unix and its BSD derivatives.

Find (Unix)

find utility
appeared in Version 5 Unix as part of the Programmer's Workbench project, and was written by Dick Haight alongside cpio, which were designed to be used together.

Stat (system call)

appeared in Version 1 Unix.

Cp (Unix)

cpcp (copy)cp (Unix command)
cp was part of Version 1 Unix.

Sort (Unix)

sort sort -R
Sort was part of Version 1 Unix.

Crypt (Unix)

crypt crypt() function
Cryptographer Robert Morris wrote crypt, which first appeared in Version 3 Unix, to encourage codebreaking experiments; Morris managed to break crypt by hand.

File (command)

fileFile Command command
The original version of file originated in Unix Research Version 4 in 1973.

Su (Unix)

The command su, including the Unix permissions system and the setuid system call, was part of Version 1 Unix.

Mail (Unix)

mailUnix Mail command
"Electronic mail was there from the start", M. Douglas McIlroy writes in his article "A Research UNIX Reader: Annotated Excerpts from the Programmer’s Manual, 1971-1986", and so a mail command was included in the first released version of research Unix, First Edition Unix.

Man page

man pagesmanmanual page
Research Unix versions are often referred to by the edition of the manual that describes them, because early versions and the last few were never officially released outside of Bell Labs, and grew organically.
The printed version of the manual initially fit into a single binder, but as of PWB/UNIX and the 7th Edition of Research Unix, it was split into two volumes with the printed man pages forming Volume 1.

Cal (Unix)

The cal command was present in 1st Edition Unix.

Printf format string

printfformat string
Probably the first copying of the syntax to outside the C language was the Unix printf shell command, which first appeared in Version 4, as part of the porting to C.


was written by Joe Ossanna for Version 2 Unix, in Assembly language and then ported to C.


egrepfgrepGNU grep
grep was first included in Version 4 Unix.

Dd (Unix)

dddcfldddd rescue
Originally intended to convert between ASCII and EBCDIC, first appeared in Version 5 Unix.


Written by Lee E. McMahon, comm first appeared in Version 4 Unix.

Rm (Unix)

rmdeletedrm -rf
The option in Version 7 replaced, or "delete from switches", which debuted in Version 1.

Version 6 Unix

6th EditionSixth EditionSixth Edition Unix
AT&T Corporation licensed Version 5 Unix to educational institutions only, but licensed Version 6 also to commercial users for $20,000, and it remained the most widely used version into the 1980s.

Version 7 Unix

Version 7Unix v77th Edition
Development of the Research Unix line continued with the Eighth Edition, which incorporated development from 4.1BSD, through the Tenth Edition, after which the Bell Labs researchers concentrated on developing Plan 9.


First appearing in Version 3 Unix, it is now available for a number of different Unix and Unix-like operating systems

Write (Unix)

The write command was included in the First Edition of the Research Unix operating system.


It appeared as part of Version 3 Unix, and a full description of Yacc was published in 1975.

Pipeline (Unix)

The pipeline concept was invented by Douglas McIlroy and first described in the man pages of Version 3 Unix.