Unix – the Forgotten API

This page is my little outpost on the internet where I will record things about the Unix API. Based on recent software developer interviews with people, and public blog postings, it is pretty clear that few software engineers have a deep understanding of some of the smart choices made by the Unix creators. I find this to be very interesting considering that Unix has clearly won the OS category.

Hopefully this page will collect some of the rationale behind the API is becoming lost as its original architects pass on.


Dealing with concurrency properly is essential requirement. Therefore, you must understand the atomic operations that the OS provides in order to use them properly.

Things Unix Can Do Atomically

Network Programming

How to get over 10,000 socket connections going on a single unix instance. C10k – the old C10k challenge.

C500k – Urban Airship on EC2

Richard Jones – C1000k !

Dot Files

It turns out, they were a mistake: Rob Pike on the origin of dot files.