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Ghosts of Unix Past: a historical search for design patterns

Nov 04, 2010, 20:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Neil Brown)

"The previous series of articles on design patterns took advantage of the development history of the Linux Kernel only implicitly, looking at the patterns that could be found it the kernel at the time with little reference to how they got there. Perspective was provided by looking at the results of multiple long-term development efforts, all included in the one code base.

"For this series we try to look for patterns which become visible only over an extended time period. As development of a system proceeds, early decisions can have consequences that were not fully appreciated when they were made. If we can find patterns relating these decisions to their outcomes, it might be hoped that a review of these patterns while making new decisions will help to avoid old mistakes or to leverage established successes. Full exploitation

"A very appropriate starting point for this exploration is the Ritchie and Thompson paper, published in Communications of the ACM, which introduced "The Unix Time-Sharing System". In that paper the authors claimed that the success of Unix was not in "new inventions but rather in the full exploitation of a carefully selected set of fertile ideas."

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