The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Shell, that is …

… we speak to Steve Bourne, creator of the Bourne shell, or sh. In the early 1970s Bourne was at the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge, England working on a compiler for ALGOL68 as part of his PhD work in dynamical astronomy. This work paved the way for him to travel to IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in New York in 1973, in part to undertake research into compilers. Through this work, and a series of connections and circumstance, Bourne got to know people at Bell Labs who then offered him a job in the Unix group in 1975. It was during this time Bourne developed sh. …


BTW, check out this Bash Script To Access Wikipedia

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0 thoughts on “The Bourne Supremacy

  1. Pioneer though he may be, the original code for the Bourne shell was a horrifying, Ratfor-like hack of C to make it look like an ALGOL dialect. While one could make the case that it was the first time the Unix shell was done right, if you should need the Bourne code, you’re better off using Sun’s version from OpenSolaris.

  2. I think you are quoting Landon Curt Noll:

    He is famous for discovering two very large prime numbers and starting IOCCC.

    Q: How did the IOCCC get started?
    A: One day (23 March 1984 to be exact), back Larry Bassel and I (Landon Curt Noll) were working for National Semiconductor’s Genix porting group, we were both in our offices trying to fix some very broken code. Larry had been trying to fix a bug in the classic Bourne shell (C code #defined to death to sort of look like Algol) and I had been working on the finger program from early BSD (a bug ridden finger implementation to be sure). We happened to both wander (at the same time) out to the hallway in Building 7C to clear our heads.

    You can find some other examples of Algol68 at:


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