UNIX Sixth Edition

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This was one of the more popular research versions to leave Bell Labs.

Unix v6
Logging into a v6 unix system
Type: Multitasking, multiuser
Creator: AT&T/Western Electric
Architecture: PDP-11, Interdata 8/32 theoretically portable
Current Version: v6
Date Released: 1975


These are the known platforms to run Unix v6


the PDP-11 was the primary platform which Unix v6 was written on. All other v6's can trace themselves back to this version.

Interdata 8/32

The Interdata 8/32 was the first port to a 32 bit platform outside of Bell Labs.

Intel 80286

There is a port by Szigeti Szabolcs to the Intel 80286 CPU, available in the Unix Archive under Other/V6on286. Requires a copy of MS-DOS to run.


There is a 32bit port to the x86 cpu, called xv6 used by MIT for an OS class. http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/6.828/2006/index.html You can download the source http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/6.828/2006/src/xv6-rev0.tar.gz

Folk Lore

The Lions Book

v6 Unix is perhaps famous because of the "Lions book". John Lions ( bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lions ) wrote up an excellent disection of the unix kernel, and taught it in his OS classes. The book became *the* guide to the unix internals, and was photocopied over & over...

v6 is also important, because it was the first non AT&T port of unix, when it was ported to the Interdata 32b.

Another thing is that v6 included even more documentation that v5, and also included gems like Programming in C -A Tutorial.


The whole game situation didn't improve that much from v5 to v6.


How do I get this to run?!

Well you'll need a tape image, and an emulator or a PDP-11/Interdata 32b... I'd recommend SIMH and you can get v6 by looking for uv6swre.zip and iu6swre.zip, PDP-11 and Interdata versions respectfully.

See also:

There is also a great lecture series involving SIMH and v6 which can be found here: