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[ih] What is the origin of the root account?

On 4/15/2013 12:36 PM, Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 4/15/2013 7:43 AM, Michael.Urban at jpl.nasa.gov wrote:
>> I don't know if Sigma-7 hardware was flakey as Dave said, or whether
>> it was just UCLA's machine, which had some absurdly low serial number
>> like '9', bristling with field-applied hardware patches.
> Hi Mike.  Thanks for chiming in.  The system was functional by the time
> I joined the project.  I merely developed some user and system
> documentation.  (Learned a lot about o/s design from the exercise.)
> I'd heard that the hardware had general problems, not just at UCLA, but
> that UCLA uncovered them sooner than most places, due to the way the o/s
> stressed the hardware.  Probably had to do with the paging (or was it
> mapping or was it...? ) mechanism.

Going farther adrift from the topic...this reminded me of one of my 
favored war stories--it involved UNIVAC (or maybe it was Sperry or 
Sperry-UNIVAC that week--pre-Burroughs/NEWCO/Unisys, for sure) 1100 
(probably the 1110) hardware.

I have forgotten details but the thing involved EXEC 8's notion of 
"fixed" and "removable" discs (either of which could be physically 
removable, or not).

The problem involved something th4 wizards had found in the 
documentation the provided a needed facility for the wizards on managing 
our application files and providing for back up and security.

What ever it was (I did know in detail because I was the Exec internals 
specialist, but I have forgotten them*) didn't work reliable and there 
were quite a few system stops and other tragedies involving it and 
finally the Roseville (UNIVAC) wizards cried "foul" and complained that 
nobody else had ever tried to do what we were trying to do.

We pointed out that the documentation said we could and we wanted it 
fixed.  It was eventually fixed, as I recall it, but the code was 
fragile and easily broken.

The ultimate fix was that the next issue of the documentation no longer 
said you could do what ever it was that we had done.  (Remember when 
vendors provided documentation, and we expected it to be correct and 

*The missing details will probably surface at ohdarkthirty some time 
soon, by which time I will have forgotten why I cared.)

Requiescas in pace o email           Two identifying characteristics
                                         of System Administrators:
Ex turpi causa non oritur actio      Infallibility, and the ability to
                                         learn from their mistakes.
                                           (Adapted from Stephen Pinker)