|Next: VAX Unix Up: Twenty Years of Berkeley Previous: Early History|
Meanwhile, interest in the error recovery work in the Pascal compiler brought in requests for copies of the system. Early in 1977, Joy put together the ``Berkeley Software Distribution.'' This first distribution included the Pascal system, and, in an obscure subdirectory of the Pascal source, the editor ex. Over the next year, Joy, acting in the capacity of distribution secretary, sent out about thirty free copies of the system.
With the arrival of some ADM-3a terminals offering screen-addressable cursors, Joy was finally able to write vi, bringing screen-based editing to Berkeley. He soon found himself in a quandary. As is frequently the case in universities strapped for money, old equipment is never replaced all at once. Rather than support code for optimizing the updating of several different terminals, he decided to consolidate the screen management by using a small interpreter to redraw the screen. This interpreter was driven by a description of the terminal characteristics, an effort that eventually became termcap.
By mid-1978, the software distribution clearly needed to be updated. The Pascal system had been made markedly more robust through feedback from its expanding user community, and had been split into two passes so that it could be run on PDP-11/34s. The result of the update was the ``Second Berkeley Software Distribution,'' a name that was quickly shortened to 2BSD. Along with the enhanced Pascal system, vi and termcap for several terminals was included. Once again Bill Joy single-handedly put together distributions, answered the phone, and incorporated user feedback into the system. Over the next year nearly seventy-five tapes were shipped. Though Joy moved on to other projects the following year, the 2BSD distribution continued to expand. The final version of this distribution, 2.11BSD, is a complete system used on hundreds of PDP-11's still running in various corners of the world.