[TUHS] Mach for i386 / Mt Xinu or other
clemc at ccc.com
Wed Feb 22 01:02:22 AEST 2017
On Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 7:02 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>
> So there is a question here, though, and I'm curious to see what others who
> were closer to the action think. Why _did_ Linux succeed, and not a Unix
> derivative? (Is there any work which looks at this question? Some Linux
> history? If not, there should be.)
I've thought and written a bit about this question a bit [
Would it be possible/advantageous to rewrite the Linux kernel in Rust when
the language is stable?
Why did Unix succeed and not Multics
and I'll not repeat all of here but
as one of the people that did switch from 386BSD to linux at the time, the
reason for me was purely because of the AT&T/BSDi case. You are right, I
wanted a "free" (i.e. very inexpensive) UNIX for the 386 and the "big
guns" were not going to give it. I thought we had it the 386 port BSD
which I had helped in a small way to create.
But I like, most hackers of the day, misunderstood incorrectly the case
to be about *trade secret *and the all based around the 1956 consent
decree, IBM vs AT&T; telephones and the computers. I was worried AT&T would
win because it was going to hard to cleaim that that the BSD code was not a
derivative work of the AT&T *copyright code base *(not understanding the *trade
secret* and the *copyright* difference mattered).
So...I switched to Linux *not because I thought it was "better"* - in fact,
I b*tched (and still do) about many gratuitous differences, but as I knew
that we needed something for "consumer" HW (which was bring driven by the
WINTEL economics), and I was willing to use the "lessor" technology (Linux)
because it was "good enough" and gave me what I needed (UNIX on a PC/386).
I thought (incorrectly) somehow original Linux's European authorship was
going to protect me and my fellow hackers ever though it was not as good as
my beloved BSD system.
Simple put - using Christiansen's theories: Linux "won" because:
- it was "good enough",
- had a lot of people behind it that valued that was there and invested
in making it "better", and
- the economics of the platform (PC/386 - WINTEL etc) was on the fastest
grow curve [and its Christiansen's economic disruption was displacing the
Mini & Workstation].
BTW: at the time, I argued with the Roger Gourd and the OSF folks, that if
they released (sold) the OSF/1 RI uK which had not AT&T technology in it
(again thinking Copyright not Trade Secret); I was suggesting $100/copy
there was a market for it. I just could not get them interested.
Sun has done the RoadRunner and had their 386 port of Solaris; but again.
All the "UNIX" folks were still interested in pushing out "iron" so were
blind to the WINTEL economic disruption.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda .... sigh
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