Linux Gazette: A Brief History of the ‘ls’ command

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

“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“When CTSS was superseded by Multics, the listf command was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….”