Research Unix

Research Unix refers to early versions of the Unix operating system for DEC PDP-7, PDP-11, VAX and Interdata 7/32 and 8/32 computers, developed in the Bell Labs Computing Sciences Research Center.


The term Research Unix first appeared in the Bell System Technical Journal to distinguish it from other versions internal to Bell Labs whose code-base had diverged from the primary CSRC version. However, that term was little-used until Version 8 Unix, but has been retroactively applied to earlier versions as well. Prior to V8, the operating system was most commonly called simply UNIX or the UNIX Time-Sharing System.
AT&T licensed Version 5 to educational institutions, and Version 6 also to commercial sites. Schools paid $200 and others $20,000, discouraging most commercial use, but Version 6 was the most widely used version into the 1980s. Research Unix versions are often referred to by the edition of the manual that describes them, because early versions and the last few were never officially released outside of Bell Labs, and grew organically. So, the first Research Unix would be the First Edition, and the last the Tenth Edition. Another common way of referring to them is Version x Unix, where x is the manual edition. All modern editions of Unix—excepting Unix-like implementations such as Coherent, Minix, and Linux—derive from the 7th Edition.
Starting with the 8th Edition, versions of Research Unix had a close relationship to BSD. This began by using 4.1cBSD as the basis for the 8th Edition. In a Usenet post from 2000, Dennis Ritchie described these later versions of Research Unix as being closer to BSD than they were to UNIX System V, which also included some BSD code:



In 2002, Caldera International released Unix V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7 on PDP-11 and Unix 32V on VAX as FOSS under a permissive BSD-like software license.
In 2017, Unix Heritage Society and Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., on behalf of itself and Nokia Bell Laboratories, released V8, V9, V10 under the condition: "will not assert its copyright rights with respect to any non-commercial copying, distribution, performance, display or creation of derivative works of Research Unix®1 Editions 8, 9, and 10".