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First Release Date[edit]

I just changed the first release date from 4/20/1969 to just 1969, as that particular date looked fishy (4/20 is a marijuana reference), and it turns out it was added by an anonymous user on 3/21/2013, with no other edit history or changes made.

However, I'm not convinced that 1969 is the appropriate year to list as the first release, not least because it's before the beginning of the Unix epoch. Would 1971 or 1973 be more appropriate? Squigish (talk) 04:58, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

The epoch has nothing to do with this. Development starting in 1969, but that was certainly not the first release date. The Version 1 manual was completed in 1971, which can be considered the first internal "release", but I don't know how internal that was, i.e. whether anyone but the computer science group at Bell Labs got to touch the system. I suppose the first Unix shipped outside of Bell after the publication of the CACM paper, Nov. 1973. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 10:29, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

The UNIX release date, according to the official UNIX website (, should be 1969 rather than 1973. The original Wikipedia page on UNIX showed 1969 as the release date, while the current page was modified to 1973. 1973 is the wrong year since by 1973, fourth edition of UNIX was released ( So it should be changed back to 1969 per the official website ( — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonga2010 (talkcontribs) 14:29, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

The UNIX release date was marked as 1969 in the original Wikipedia article. Later it was changed to 1973 by someone for no reason. The year 1969 marks the beginning of the UNIX. So the Wiki article should change the first release date to "start date". This will be better than using "first release date" because the former is unambiguous. 1973 is definitely wrong year even for first release date because by the year 1973, 4th edition of UNIX had been released (see Also you can check with Ken Thompson and Rob Pike and other original contributors of UNIX for the dates about UNIX. Most of programming languages use 1970 as the epoch time (UNIX Time) in Date/Time system. Also the UNIX family tree graph in the article also showed 1969 as the start year of UNIX. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonga2010 (talkcontribs)

"For no reason" except the reason outlined above. There is no "start date" in Template:Infobox OS, so that won't work. As I stated earlier, the epoch has nothing to do with this.
I actually did some more research into this and it seems that 1974 would in fact be more correct; that's the year, AFAICT, that the first Unix licenses were given out to universities. Another option is to pick the date of the first production installation, but I haven't been able to find that. (History of Unix gives 1972, but without a source.) QVVERTYVS (hm?) 10:36, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Is it possible to add something like "Start time" or "Begin time" in Template:Infobox OS? Using "First release date" is debatable for UNIX history and does not reach consensus on the exact date of the first release version since various sources show different time around 1969-1970's. Even if you look at the Bell Labs' own website about UNIX history, it does not have an "official" first release date (See: So I suggest to add "Start Date" in Template:Infobox OS and change "initial release" to "Start Date (1969)" or "Begin Date (1969)". This will avoid all ambiguity and debates about the definition of "first release date" and "first version" on UNIX. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonga2010 (talkcontribs) 13:43, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

We could add a "start of development" field to that template. Let's discuss over at Template talk:Infobox OS#New field proposal: development started. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 14:49, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
The release date in the current version of the article is definitely wrong as in 1973, the third edition of UNIX did exist already. So why not using the official "August 1969", see timetable. Schily (talk) 13:57, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't know where you see "August" in that link. 1969 is obviously mentioned, but it's not a release date, as has been pointed out already. There was no production system inside Bell Labs until at least 1971, and no outside release until at least 1973 (or 74). Two people using a prototype system does not constitute a release. In fact that timetable on first mentions the word "release" for UNIX System III.
As for V3 having existed in '73, that's right: V4 or V5 was the first to ever appear outside AT&T. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 14:40, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
For a company as large as AT&T, it seems to be sufficient if the system was used in a different division and this seems to be verified by the fact that AT&T used the UNIX system for writing roff based documentation since 1971. Schily (talk) 17:01, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm in favor of mentioning both the first internal production use and the first external license. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 19:43, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
You may missunderstand how UNIX was developed. AT&T was the owner of the telephone monoply at that time and the US regulations forbid any other commercial activities than telephony for AT&T. For this reason, the product UNIX was given away for free with sources and there was no Copyright information in the sources before 1982 (when AT&T was restructured and the telephone monopoly went away). You will not be able to verify an external license from before ~ 1982 and at that time there was already a fork from the project available (BSD UNIX). Schily (talk) 09:18, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Here's a Unix license from 1974. The lack of a copyright in many source files was probably an oversight; the C compiler from 5th Ed. carries a comment stating "Copyright 1972 Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc." QVVERTYVS (hm?) 09:37, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the pointer. A missing Copyright note for more than 10 years in plenty of files is most likely not an oversight but intention. Schily (talk) 14:25, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
As in waiving of copyrights? I find that extremely hard to believe, given that they licensed the software. The manual for V5 had a copyright notice, but AT&T was sloppy with such notices in other occasions, which provided ammunition for UCB's counterclaim in USL v. BSDi (see e.g. [ this complaint of a lack of copyright notices in SVR4). QVVERTYVS (hm?) 19:31, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I also support adding "Start Date" for OS info box. This is especially true for UNIX since it is the most influential OS in computer industry and its exact "initial release date" is not well defined and there is no consensus on defining "initial release". Various sources show different years around 1969-1970s but it is clear that "Start Date" for UNIX is the year 1969. It agrees with the "/root" year 1969 used in the UNIX family tree graph on top of the UNIX infobox. So using "Start Date" is a better choice than using "initial release" for UNIX in particular. Other OSs and various UNIX derivatives can still use "initial release" in infobox if the "initial release" is certain and exact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonga2010 (talkcontribs) 20:17, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

The trouble with "Start Date" is that it's still fairly ambiguous. Do you intend it to be the date development began, the date of the first working version, the date of the first production version, the date of the first release (which is ambiguous in and of itself, as established above), or something else entirely? Perhaps "Start Date" could even be approached like the etymology of a word: the date of the first published use of the name of the operating system? I think it would be much better to give multiple dates for software, especially an OS. Perhaps three: "Development began", "First Stable Version" (I'm not sure of the wording of this one - maybe production instead of stable?), and "First Released" which I think should be defined as a general release to people outside the organization that developed the software. In this case, the "Development Began" date would be 1969, "First Stable Version" could reflect the date that UNIX began to be used by people within Bell/ATT other than the developers (1971?), and "First Released" would be the first license granted outside Bell/ATT (1973). I just don't think a single "Start Date" is any better than a single "Initial Release" date. Software development is a process; it's not like a person where it's definitively "born" one day. I think the process of development should be reflected, hence the multiple dates. (talk) 16:33, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

I think the term "First Appeared" is better. We know that Unix existed before its first release, and the date of its first 'release' does not represent what's commonly (opinion not fact) accepted as the date it first conceived.Dannyniu (talk) 01:45, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

That's even more ambiguous. What does it mean for software to "appear"? QVVERTYVS (hm?) 11:41, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
What we're debating is fundamentally just "when did the first Unix existed", and it's if not obviously then commonly recognized (and accepted) 1969, and I'll skip listing the reasons here. And 'existed' is what I meant by "appear". So the ambiguity, yes, but it would be worse if mis-leading, which 1974 does. What's more is that even the birth dates of some notable persons are not of certainty, here on Wikipedia and else place. Therefore I propose it. Dannyniu (talk) 09:27, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
What we're debating is what should go in the infobox. I'm not disputing that 1969 is the date Unix development is commonly considered to have started (even though Thompson's 1969 OS was rewritten before it was named Unix). I'm also not disputing that the current listing of 1974 is a hack because no source that I know of speaks of a "release" in that year.
But "first appeared" sounds like a less precise way of saying "first release" to me, and I don't see why it would be better than "development started" (which I proposed to add to the infobox, to no effect, and I'm not going to hack that template until we have consensus).
As a final alternative, I guess we can add some prose in the first release field to explain the situation. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 12:10, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the discussion has become a bit mudded. We should have a list of what people like to change together with some reasoning. The original attempt to remove 1969 was obviously wrong. As a result of the limited size of the original project, it is most likely in use since the end of 1969 or early 1970. It may be a good idea to find out where the backup tapes have been found that were used to reconstruct the sources back to ~1970. This could help to find the first source publishing. Schily (talk) 13:08, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Schily, I think you're right. I already updated the infobox, but the 1973 date can be removed from it AFAIC. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 15:57, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

The UNIX Family Tree Graph[edit]

Please review the UNIX Family Tree Graph with an eye on where mobile operating systems fit in, if at all. Specific improvement request: please add Android and any other appropriate mobile operating systems to the UNIX Family Tree Graph.

Comments on the graph would be better directed to the graph's page at File talk:Unix history-simple.svg. There is already a comment there that android (and MeeGo and its derivatives) are adequately represented as Linux, and iOS by OS X. --ssd (talk) 14:07, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Semiprotected edit request: The links to "The UNIX Time-Sharing System" don't work[edit]

Please insert either or — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kiechlus (talkcontribs) 09:32, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done, got it replaced with an archived version. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 07:03, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Naming of the references[edit]

Hello, Ylee! Regarding your revert, I tend to disagree with your explanation. Speaking of reusing references later, nobody will search for already named references just to reuse them; only searching the Wiki code by the URL or looking at the rendered "References" section makes sense for that purpose. Furthermore, not naming references that aren't reused later doesn't improve the article, but it improves the Wiki code by reducing clutter. At the same time, my edit you've reverted also fixed the use of |page= vs. |pages=; as we know, the former should be used for single pages, while the latter should specify page ranges or lists. Of course, I'm more than open to discussing this further. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 05:36, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

First, don't assume you that you speak for other editors. I know I am not the only one who makes sure a citation does not already exist in an article before inserting it.
Second, if I (the original editor for the affected cites) ever decide to go back and reuse them, I'd have to reinsert the references.
Third, WP:REFNAME says nothing about avoiding clutter by avoiding naming references when not needed; quite the contrary.
Fourth, pages= is always preferable because (as any perusal of an existing article would show) it automatically prints "p." or "pp." depending on whether a single number or range of numbers is used. Ylee (talk) 05:52, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, you also assume to be speaking on other editors' behalf when saying that it "inhibits later reuse" of references. So what if you need to name a reference later? Is your time so precious? :) At the same time, WP:REFNAME describes how to use "a source more than once", not how to prepare it for some possible later reuse. Speaking of |page= vs. |pages=, it seems you're again trying to "future proof" it if anyone decides to add more pages; if someone is meticulous enough to add more pages, he or she will surely also know the fine details and differences between those two parameters. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 06:05, 5 February 2015 (UTC)