Foundational Unix Papers, Books, Videos, and other Resources

First published — Sep 22, 2023
Last updated — Jul 03, 2024
#unix #bsd #gnu #linux

Original Unix, BSD, GNU, and Linux books, papers, videos, and similar materials.

Article Collection

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1. Unix

Table of Contents


This article lists documents, books, and audio-video materials relevant for understanding Unix and the Unix ecosystem.

Original Unix documents are important for two reasons:

First, as expected, they are relevant for understanding the history and principles on which Unix, the Internet, and modern software is based.

Second, even more importantly, they are useful for understanding the magical, unsurpassed combination of simplicity and power in Unix. Being familiar with it comes handy when using Unix-based systems, but it has broader effects, making one’s own solutions more powerful and elegant.

Available resources are sorted by category and date. You are not necessarily expected to read them all or in order:

If you want to learn about the Unix culture, feel free to start with popular books and videos, for example the light-hearted 2019 BWK’s Interview with Ken Thompson and 2016 Interview with Brian W. Kernighan, followed by 1988 Bill Joy's Talk at IBM Yorktown.

If you want to learn about Unix itself, start with foundations and one or two manuals, followed by for example some videos.


Important Unix papers and documents:

UNIX Programmer’s Manuals

Doug McIlroy organized “Unix Programmer’s Manuals” to be written, and editions of manual became the versions of Unix they were describing.

The manuals consisted of manpages and papers. They are user-oriented, i.e. they do not discuss Unix internals, OS design principles, or C programming.

The editions were:

Please note that above links point mostly to resources hosted at In chapter AT&T / Bell Labs Unix Releases a bit more contextual information surrounding the editions can be found, along with alternative links pointing to

Books and materials related to Unix:


Unix videos and documentaries:


Other Resources

Misc links and resources, mostly to collections of books, papers, and documents.

Article Collection

This article is part of the following series:

1. Unix

Automatic Links

The following links appear in the article:

1. For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution - For-Fun-and-Profit-A-History-of-the-Free-and-Open-Source-Software-Revolution.pdf
2. Odd Comments and Strange Doings in Unix
3. Software Tools - Software-Tools.pdf
4. The Bastard Operator From Hell -
5. The Daemon, the GNU & the Penguin -
6. ZIP File With the Book and Code -
7. The UNIX Programming Environment -
8. A Quarter Century of Unix -
9. The Cathedral and the Bazaar -
10. Computer Chronicles -
11. Elements of Programming Style -
13. Unix Programmer's Manual, 8th Edition -
14. Unix World -
15. AT&T / Bell Labs Unix Releases -
16. A Commentary on the Sixth Edition Unix Operating System -
17. Reflections on Software Research -
18. The UNIX Time-Sharing System -
19. Review of "Software Tools" -
20. Alternative Link -
21. Wikipedia Page -
22. Wikipedia Page -
23. Doug McIlroy -
24. Wikipedia Page -
25. Wikipedia Page -,_with_Source_Code
26. List of Episodes -
27. Wikipedia Page -
28. Wikipedia Page -
29. Wikipedia Page -
30. Wikipedia Page -
31. Wikipedia Page -
32. The C Programming Language -
33. The Design of the Unix Operating System -
34. UNIX Implementation -
35. Hello World (Plan 9 and UTF-16) -
36. Ken Thompson's Papers -
38. Program Design in the UNIX System Environment -
39. Linux Weekly News ( -
40. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution -
41. Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project -
42. Unix Programmer's Manual, 7th Edition -
43. Unix Programmer's Manual, 10th Edition -
44. Alternative Download at TUHS -
45. Advanced Unix Programming -
46. Advanced Unix Programming -
47. Dennis M. Ritchie's Homepage at Bell Labs -
48. The UNIX Time-Sharing System -
49. The Development of the C Language -
50. Proposing a Unix Portability Experiment -
51. The Evolution of the Unix Time-Sharing System -
52. Portability of C Programs and the UNIX System -
53. A Stream Input-Output System -
54. The Truth About Unix: The User Interface Is Horrid -
55. A Research UNIX Reader: Annotated Excerpts From the Programmer's Manual, 1971-1986 -
56. Afterword -
57. The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier -
58. O'Reilly Open Books -
59. Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software -
60. Open Sources: Voices From the Open Source Revolution, 1st Edition -
61. Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing -
63. Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition -
64. Unix Programmer's Manual, 3rd Edition -
65. Unix Programmer's Manual, 4th Edition -
66. Unix Programmer's Manual, 5th Edition -
67. Unix Programmer's Manual, 6th Edition -
69. An Oral History of Unix -
70. History of UNIX -
71. ;Login: -
72. UNIX Videos From AT&T Tech Channel -
73. Alternative YouTube Channel -
74. Computer History Museum's Oral Histories -
75. BWK's Interview With Ken Thompson -
76. Interview With Jon 'Maddog' Hall -
77. X Window System Design Principles -
78. VCF East 10 Interview With Brian W. Kernighan -
79. Warner Losh's FOSDEM Talk on the Forgotten History of Early Unix -
80. The History of Unix; Rob Pike's Experience -
81. A Political History of X -
82. Origins of the C Programming Language -
83. Video of V0 Unix Running on a PDP-7 -
84. Bill Joy's Talk at IBM Yorktown -
85. A UNIX TM Operating System for the DEC VAX-11/780 Computer - unix-32v-reconstructed-draft1.pdf