38

FILES-11 on DEC minicomputers was a versioned file system -- RSX-11M, IAS (on PDP-11), VMS (on VAX, Alpha). Version numbers are very user-visible; they are part of the syntax for specifying a file. And programs are designed to behave appropriately for a versioned file system. When creating a file, the normal way was to not specify a version number, and the ...


36

Colon was inherited from SOS for the Apple III Unlike one may assume, MacOS (1984/01) did not inherited the colon (:) from Lisa OS (1983/01), which used a hyphen (-) as path separator, but from Apple III's SOS (1980/10), created for the Apple III to manage the huge data pile of a 5 MiB Profile. Staircase wit: On colon vs. slash, Apple went not once but ...


30

In 1986 (and for a few years after that still), /dev wasn’t handled by a special file system. It was generally a directory on the root file system, and its contents were largely static: a series of device nodes, created by mknod. Many systems had some way of creating the “standard” nodes, for example a Makefile in V7 or MAKEDEV. Each device node has a type, ...


25

The original Macintosh File System did not support directories. But the Mac did support multiple floppy drives from the start, and colon : was used in fairly standard fashion as a drive prefix analogous to VMS, MS-DOS and elsewhere – Disk:File. This is only an educated guess, but I suspect they generalized : to a path separator later with HFS as it was ...


24

There were quite a few operating systems that had file versioning in the same era as unix. Many file systems that we are familiar with today just have some components of a file name, such as: Name.type They might have a path: \folder\folder\Name.type They might have a server (UNC as an example): \\server.domain\folder\folder\name.type In many current ...


23

I think the colon deserves to be considered the original, the one true separator character. All others are mere imitators ;-) My rationale for this is the seminal paper A General-Purpose File System For Secondary Storage which first laid out the conceptual design of a tree-structured file system. It used ":" to separate components in path names (...


19

I am not personally aware of any operating system in the entire history of computing ever having had this feature. Siemens BS2000 of the early 1970s may be an example here (*1) with a feature they called file generations. A new file could be marked in the catalogue as having generations, setting a base generation number and how many generations are to be ...


18

Just a supplement to what Stephen Kitt already said: The entries in any directory in a classic Unix file system are hard links that map names to inodes —small fixed-size records in the file system. There were several different kinds of inode; A "regular file" inode contained information that the OS could use to find the pages of a file. A "directory" ...


17

My second guess is CTSS. It was operational in 1961, but at that time had only tapes for user file storage. I suppose that tape name records don't constitute 'metadata' in the sense required by this question. A disk was added somewhere around 1962 to 1963. The CTSS Programmer's Guide from 1963 mentions the installation of the IBM 1301 disk file; and 5) ...


14

Yes, this is possible. The file utility can recognise many disk partition layouts and file systems. If you connect your drives to your Pentium III system, running a version of Linux, they should appear as /dev/sd? devices. To simplify further analysis, you should copy their contents to a file: sudo ddrescue /dev/sdX backup.img backup.map (replacing X as ...


13

It's not completely accurate to focus on slashes as the established solution — . was also in the mix, being DEC's choice for both TOPS and VMS. That said, I'm going to speculate wildly that it comes down to: Apple's Macintosh filing systems were already fairly non-standard — supporting forked files, for example — in support of simplifying the user ...


12

The V1 Unix B manpage uses .s as the extension for intermediate assembly files used during the build. This is the earliest use of .s that I can find, and would correspond to November 1971 at the latest. There were assemblers on systems with file systems before Unix, but none that I’m aware of used .s. Some like DECsys don’t appear to have extensions; other ...


11

In addition to what others wrote: ITS, TENEX, TOPS-20. In ITS, files are named by two strings each at most six characters. The second file name can be a number to specify a version. If you open a file for reading, > will access the latest version. When writing, it creates a new version. < refers to the oldest version. Moby edit. Let's make a ...


11

(This answer has now been determined not to satisfy the now-clarified requirements of the question. Nevertheless, the discussion seems useful, if only in my own mind, so I will leave it here. But see my other answer about CTSS.) I will guess that the standard answer for 'first' applies here: the Atlas Supervisor. Section 6 of the linked document talks ...


8

Sectoring on disks predates floppies. It was in widespread use on hard disks by the time floppies came around. Also, I would note that everything from 1 byte/word granularity to track-sized sectors has been argued for (and sometimes used) over the years on both floppies and hard disks. Still, why did it settle largely on 512? First, it's just as neat as ...


6

As I was expecting, it was an error in my code :) pelrun was very kind and found the bug (see my question on CPCWiki's forum) so props to him. I'll try to explain the issue: Notice I'm hooking into the jump entry by setting up a FAR CALL. Notice how that's a FAR CALL and not a JUMP? There's an extra return address there that shouldn't be pushed into the ...


6

My experience is with the VAX and VMS. It had versioned files. Back in the day, it was not uncommon for some programs, like editors, to create a backup copy of the file you were working on. In the end you'd have, for example, file.txt and file.bak. The versioned file system is simply that concept writ large. Instead of file.txt and file.bak, you had file....


3

Present evidence is that ITS had a very early networked file system no later than 1972. ITS has had a facility called the "ML Device", or MLDEV, for a long time. The name probably comes from a time when the users of the older more established computer called AI wanted access to files on the computer called ML. The "device" part is because ITS files are ...


3

The other answers discuss mounting the drive directly. However, given the age of the disk and the stated personal value of the contents, I would like to recommend that the drive be imaged first. GNU ddrescue is your friend. ddrescue will create an image of the drive which you can then mount and work with. This way you only have to connect the drive once ...


2

512 byte sector became the de facto standard because they were the size of sector used by the IBM PC. Prior to the PC's dominance, other sector sizes were also common - notably, CP/M (which was the most popular microcomputer operating system prior to the release of the IBM PC) used 256 byte sectors.


2

It's probably best to take a look at the +3DOS DD_LOGIN function, since that's the ultimate source for how a +3 identifies a disc. What this does is: Call DD_SEL_FORMAT with A=0 to select the standard +3 format (180k, single sided, with one system track). Call DD_READ_ID with D=0 to read the identity of a sector (any sector) on track 0 of the disc. Look at ...


2

+3 disks are actually CP/M disks. Disk organization details are stored in the XDPB table, which is generated by the firmware from the data found at the beginning of the disk. This can be read on part 27 of the +3 manual: The PCW range disk format (used by the +3) is, in fact, a family of formats the precise member of which is defined in the 'disk ...


1

This is only a partial answer so far. TR-DOS was first part of the Beta 128 disk interface, which was cloned along with the Spectrum itself in Russia and Eastern Europe. According to this Beta 128 manual I found online, by default code does both load and start at the same address. Loading such code files manually is known as "auto-run". But you can also ...


1

The usual way of such HW peripherials was switching the original ZX ROM (0-16384) chip for its own memory space where was usually another ROM or even RAM on the runtime. It was done by the /ROMCS pin on the extention bus/connector. I am not famillair with TR-DOS as I was heavily using MDOS instead. The MDOS was an ZX OS extention for Didaktik D40/D80 ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible