Although stymied, McIlroy didn’t drop the idea. “And over a period from 1970 to 1972, I’d from time to time say, ‘How about making something like this?’, and I’d put up another proposal, another proposal, another proposal. And one day I came up with a syntax for the shell that went along with the piping, and Ken said, ‘I’m going to do it!’”
“He was tired of hearing this stuff,” McIlroy explained. “He didn’t do exactly what I had proposed for the pipe system call. He invented a slightly better one that finally got changed once more to what we have today. He did use my clumsy syntax.”
“Thompson saw that file arguments weren’t going to fit with this scheme of things and he went in and changed all those programs in the same night. I don’t know how…and the next morning we had this orgy of one-liners.” mcIlroy
“He put pipes into UNIX, he put this notation into shell, all in one night,” McElroy said in wonder.