If Unix could present the same face, the same capabilities, on machines of many different types, it could serve as a common software environment for all of them.
Thompson and Ritchie were among the first to realize that hardware and compiler technology had become good enough that an entire operating system could be written in C, and by 1978 the whole environment had been successfully ported to several machines of different types.
For the first time, individual hackers could afford to have home machines comparable in power and storage capacity to the minicomputers of ten years earlier - Unix engines capable of supporting a full development environment and talking to the Internet.
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