Ken Thompson

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Ken Thompson

The principal inventor of the Unix operating system and author of the B language, the predecessor of C.

In the early days Ken used to hand-cut Unix distribution tapes, often with a note that read "Love, ken". Old-timers still use his first name (sometimes uncapitalised, because it's a login name and mail address) in third-person reference; it is widely understood (on Usenet in particular) that without a last name "Ken" refers only to Ken Thompson. Similarly, Dennis without last name means Dennis Ritchie (and he is often known as dmr).

Ken was first hired to work on the Multics project, which was a huge production with many people working on it. Multics was supposed to support hundreds of on-line logins but could barely handle three.

In 1969, when Bell Labs withdrew from the project, Ken got fed up with Multics and went off to write his own operating system. People said "well, if zillions of people wrote Multics, then an OS written by one guy must be Unix!". There was some joking about eunichs as well.

Ken's wife Bonnie and son Corey (then 18 months old) went to visit family in San Diego. Ken spent one week each on the kernel, file system, etc., and finished UNIX in one month along with developing SPACEWAR (or was it "Space Travel"?).

See also back door, brute force, demigod, wumpus.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
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Ken Thompson's long-lost sister Ivy Mittelfart gets in touch for the first time with an interesting request - which is a classically ridiculous way of shoehorning a new American cameo into the plot.
(From left) Robin Amato, Danielle Johnston, Paule Pachter, Ken Thompson and Ken Thompson Jr.
Division Two - Champions: Buckley (Geoff Warren, Scott Warren, Nathan Gartland, Ken Thompson).
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Last month, Chun followed the no-jail recommendation of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson in sentencing former NYPD officer Peter Liang to five years probation and 800 hours of community service for the shooting death of Gurley.
Ken Thompson braved sleet and snow at Kielder Water on Sunday to net eight for 15lb 8oz.
Helen and Greg play mum and dad Lorna ad Ken Thompson. Their daughter Rachel (Esther Smith from Stourbridge) married a hippy called Cuckoo (Adam Samberg) in the first series.
By Ken Thompson, an investigation into native and invasive species; Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel, a practical guide for ending pagan relationships; Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte, humorous, illustrated stories from an author who explores how talking to strangers can change your life; and The Ugly Wife is Treasured at Home by Melissa Margaret Schneider, an expose of love and sex under Maoist rule in China.
Ken Thompson and David Wafer only fished four hours but took some nice fish from east of Millshield, with the best 4lb 4oz.