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Date:      Wed, 10 Oct 2001 04:49:59 -0700
From:      "Ted Mittelstaedt" <>
To:        <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG>
Cc:        <grog@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   FW: Use of the UNIX Trademark
Message-ID:  <000001c15181$b06dc720$>

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG] On Behalf Of Greg Lehey
>Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 9:04 PM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt
>> In one of the books or interviews that Dennis Ritchie gave regarding
>> the origination of the name UNIX he made the point that the
>> engineers told the lawyers at AT&T that the name was UNICS (a pun on
>> MULTICS) and it was mis-heard by them as UNIX.  They apparently were
>> so hot to get the name trademarked that they rushed the application
>> through without ever going back to the engineers.  When Dennis and
>> company heard about the mistake they thought it so amusing that they
>> adopted the revised name.
>This one's new to me.  Do you have a source?  My understanding is that
>AT&T didn't trade mark UNIX for quite some time afterwards.

This one is hard to trace to anything authoratative.  I first saw it on a
newsgroup some years ago.

There is a reference to UNICS in

"A Quarter Century of UNIX"; Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994 see the
following URL:

I've never seen UNICS mentioned anywhere else most particularly on either
Ken Thompson's or Dennis Ritchie's websites, so I suspect that this acronym
made up.  It's why I referred to this as a probable urban legend.

>> Certainly The Lawsuit filed btween AT&T and UCB displayed an attempt
>> by AT&T to defend use of UNIX because as I understand it, BSDI was
>> drawn into the battle due to a marketing campaign where they used
>> 1-800-ITS-UNIX on a phone number.
>Note also that BSDI immediately backed down on this issue.

Yes.  BSDi wished to extricate themselves from the lawsuit asap. :-)

It's interesting to note if you dig up most of the old papers that Dennis
Ken and the rest of them wrote, Unix is spelled "Unix" not UNIX.  Many of them
are even copyrighted Lucent Technologies.

Ted Mittelstaedt                             
Author of:                           The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website:                

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