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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ken Thompson, a spokesman for Hurricane Police Department said he did not believe the school was in any immediate danger.
Armands Circle grants admission to a world of watery wonderment--the section of Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island overlooking New Pass, which boasts everything from ski shows to stingray petting to seabird sanctuaries.
KT Tech President Ken Thompson has more than two decades of experience in the industry and is backed by a highly competent and experienced staff.
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.
Helen and Greg play mum and dad Lorna ad Ken Thompson.
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 blasted the length of time his wife Margaret waited to be seen at Wrexham Maelor Hospital as she struggled with painful leg cramps which proved to be a burst cyst.
Congressman Roger Williams visited our facility and helped elevate the conversation of our failing infrastructure," said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Pipe Group, which owns the JCP plant.
We're glad Congressman Roger Williams visited our facility and helped elevate the conversation of our failing infrastructure," said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Pipe Group, Johnson County parent.
In a statement, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said the decision to disavow the convictions was based on a ''comprehensive review'' of dozens of Scarcella's cases that began last year after another man convicted of murder was released on new evidence that the detective had coached a witness.
Send your letters to: Reunited, The Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1ED I WAS a pupil in the 6th form at Wallsend Grammar School 1950-7 and would like to make contact with several pupils I have never seen or heard of since: William Cruickshanks, Arthur Landles, Ken Thompson and Tom Norton.
Our purpose with the test was to educate our industry colleagues in the US about the incredible strength of Flowtite FRP pipe," said Ken Thompson, CEO of KTI Pipe Group.