Richard Stallman's personal site.

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2021-08-15 23:30:02

In the 1980s I was in the IEEE committee that wrote the standard that ultimately became known as POSIX. The committee set itself the task of standardizing interface specs for a Unix-like system, but had no short name for its work. When the first part of the specification was ready, someone gave it the name "IEEEIX", with a subtitle that included "Portable Operating System" — perhaps "Specifications for a Portable Operating System".

It seemed to me that nobody would ever say "IEEEIX", since the pronunciation would sound like a shriek of terror; rather, everyone would call it "Unix". That would have boosted AT&T, the GNU Project's rival, an outcome I did not want. So I looked for another name, but nothing natural suggested itself to me.

Copyright (c) 2011 Richard Stallman Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire page are permitted provided this notice is preserved.

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