Today I was playing with some unix boxen.
Going back and forth between systems, I wrote many times
/etc/rc.conf and so on. As time passed, I felt more and more the urge to know: why “
Well, the first search in google pointed to a page of the University of Indiana, which explained:
The rc command derives from the runcom facility from the MIT CTSS system, ca. 1965.
From Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie, as told to Vicki Brown: “There was a facility that would execute a bunch of commands stored in a file; it was called
runcomfor “run commands”, and the file began to be called “a runcom”.
rcin Unix is a fossil from that usage.”
Note: The name of the shell from the Plan 9 operating system is also rc.
As a later search revealed, the text had been taken from a much more authoritative source: THE unix FAQ, the collection of questions from
I find amusing that the Plan9 shell is called
 before you correct me, from the jargon file:
boxen: /bok‚Â´sn/, pl.n.
[very common; by analogy with VAXen] Fanciful plural of box often encountered in the phrase ‘Unix boxen’, used to describe commodity Unix hardware. The connotation is that any two Unix boxen are interchangeable.