My buddies in the kernel group were actually starting to quit because they were forced to use the NSE and it made them dramatically less productive. Nerds hate being slowed down.
Once the whole SCM thing crossed my radar screen I was hooked. Someone had a design for how you could have two SCCS files with a common ancestry and they could be put back together. I wrote something called smoosh that basically zippered them together.
Nobody cared. So I looked harder at the NSE and realized it was SCCS under the covers. I built a pile of perl that gave birth to the clone/pull/push model (though I bundled all of that into one command called resync). It wasn't truly distributed in that the "protocol" was NFS, I just didn't do that part, but the model was the git model you are used to now minus changesets.
I made all that work with the NSE, you could bridge in and out and one by one the kernel guys gave up on NSE and moved to nselite. This was during the Solaris 5.0 bringup.
I still have the readme here: http://mcvoy.com/lm/nselite/README
and here are some stats from the 2000th resync inside of Sun:
I was forced to stop developing nselite by the VP of the tools group because by this time Sun knew that nselite won and NSE lost so they ramped up a 8 person team to rewrite my perl in C++ (Evan later wrote a paper basically saying that was an awful idea). They took smoosh.c and never modified it, just stripped my history off (yeah, some bad blood).
Their stuff wasn't ready so I kept working but that made them look bad, one guy with some perl scripts outpacing 8 people with a supposedly better language. So their VP came over and said "Larry, this went all the way up to Scooter, if you do one more release you're fired" and set back SCM development almost a decade, that was ~1991 and I didn't start BitKeeper until 1998. There is no doubt in my mind that if they had left me alone they would have the first DVCS.
Fun times, I went off and did clusters in the hardware part of the company.
Also, even if privately... you need to name that VP. ;)
What about shell scripts?
Is this paper available online? Thanks.
And for the record, Evan was somewhat justified in not saying I had anything to do with Teamware since I made his team look like idiots, ran circles around them. On the other hand, taking smoosh.c and removing my name from the history was dishonest and a douche move. Especially since not one person on that team was capable of rewriting it.
The fact remains that Teamware is just a productized version of NSElite which was written entirely by me.
If I sound grumpy, I am. Politics shouldn't mess with history but they always do.