I was excited when one of my questions was taking off and becoming slightly popular but it ended up getting closed for being off topic.

I find the history of how commands became universal in bash and origins of wide-spread commands interesting. I asked another question that I ended up marking as a duplicate because I found a good answer on another post.

My question here is are these types of linux history questions relevant here or should I stick to questions with a clear technical purpose.

  • 3
    Clarify "these types". Questions about factual points of history of UNIX and Linux are welcome, just look at the history tag.
    – muru
    Feb 4, 2017 at 4:05
  • You might find Retro-computing SE interesting! Feb 14, 2017 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


I quite enjoy questions about Unix history.

They provide a nice way of learning how something came about, and will in the end (if the answer is good) give me a better understanding of the evolution of the tools at the centre of one of my main professional hobbies.

It's a pity that this particular question hasn't been reopened, and that it has, so far, only gathered (IMHO) mediocre answers (from a history point of view)1. Yes, it's GNU Readline rather than Bash that uses Ctrl+T to transpose characters, but where did that come from? Well, it's from Emacs, and it was present in Emacs 18 (ref to lisp/simple.el in the source distribution, from 1992). Can we say anything about older versions of Emacs with regards to this? Influences from other editors (TECO, for example)? And so on... ideally ending up with names of actual human beings making decisions on particular dates (or at least in or around some year). It makes it relatable.

1 Except for Stephen Kitt's answer in a comment to the question.

  • I agree that history questions are interesting, and often useful. In this particular instance it wasn't obvious to me that the historical aspects were directly relevant to the answer — I had focused on the practical aspects (because they answered part of the question, and I didn't have an answer to the first part of the question). Feb 14, 2017 at 19:11

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