Alan Hargreaves' Blog

The ramblings of a former Australian SaND TSC* Principal Field Technologist

Who said “Processes are cheap” ?

This is really going back. I’ve been spending some time searching for where I first heard this comment made with regard to UNIX.

Memory is telling me that it was in the Edition VII days, back around 1979-84ish, and that it was perhaps one of (“Dennis Ritchie”, “Ken Thomson”, “Brian Kernighan”, “P.J. Plauger”), or maybe even Rob Pike or Steve Bourne. I have had no luck with google or any documentation I’ve got. The statement was in the context of the “UNIX Philosophy”.

If anyone can point me at a reference I’d certainly appreciate it.


Written by Alan

August 10, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Posted in General

2 Responses

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  1. Who said "Malloc is cheap" ?


    August 11, 2009 at 7:48 am

  2. Sounds like something out of "The Magic Garden: The UNIX Kernel Explained".
    I can find that phrase in "The UNIX-Haters Handbook", as well as assorted books and research papers, but in most cases they are quoting without referencing. It isn’t found in the 1974 UNIX Time-Sharing System paper.


    August 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm

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