Terminology: wheel

Jerome Herman jherman at dichotomia.fr
Sat May 26 02:05:54 UTC 2012

On 26/05/2012 03:45, Polytropon wrote:
> What inspiration (or maybe logical thought) is behind the
> _naming_ of the "wheel" group?
> I could find many explainations of what "wheel" is, what it
> is for and how it is used (basic knowledge, I know), but I
> couldn't find anything that states why this name has been
> chosen. From other UNIX systems I know that there are groups
> performing similar functions, but having different names
> (such as "sysadmin" on Solaris prior to RBAC).
> This question definitely shows my age. :-)
Legend as ti it was first used as a joke on Xerox system. There was a 
special bit that indicated that some operations could be accomplished, 
basically it was the ancestor of kernel space on old time sharing 
system, invented on TENEX. When it came to naming the bit it was turned 
into a pun : the bit wheel. The big wheel being a slang term meaning 
"powerful person in charge". So basically it was bit wheel for the 
powerful process in charge.

I do not know if it is accurate though, I wasn't at Xerox at the time 
and I never even saw a Tenex in all my life, but it seems the official 
explanation (at least the one all over the Internet). If someone can 

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