UNIX Sixth Edition

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

UNIX Sixth Edition (often referred to as UNIX V6 or V6 UNIX - 'Unix' was still normally given in all capital letters at this point in time) was one of the most influential early versions of Unix.

It was the base for many important branches of UNIX, including PWB/Unix and the BSD Unix family (it was the first version of Unix to have more than one descendant). It was also one of the more popular Research versions from Bell Labs, appearing as it did shortly after the influential CACM article on Unix.


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 respectively.

See also:

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