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Linux Gazette: A Brief History of the 'ls' command

Jan 02, 2000, 15:26 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric Fischer)

"The ls command, which lists files, is one of the most essential utilities for Unix and Linux users and, not surprisingly, one of the oldest. In its earliest form it was called listf and was available on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Compatible Time Sharing System (CTSS) by July, 1961. By 1963, there were a few options that could be used to vary what listf would list...."

"In 1965, listf was extended to recognize ``*'' as a way to list all files that matched a specific pattern, with further improvements to the pattern matching in an updated version dated January 3, 1966. The 1966 version also generalized the syntax and added lots of options...."

"When CTSS was superseded by Multics, the listf command was renamed to list, which could optionally be abbreviated to ls. The early version of ls had fewer options than late versions of listf had, but still included, along with a few others...."

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