[TUHS] SunOS vs Linux

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Thu Jan 5 03:08:40 AEST 2017


On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 11:17 AM, ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com
<https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=rminnich@gmail.com>>
wrote:

> Larry, had Sun open sourced SunOS, as you fought so hard to make happen,
> Linux might not have happened as it did. SunOS was really good. Chalk up
> another win for ATT!
>

​FWIW:  I disagree​.  For details look at my discussion of  rewriting Linux
in RUST
<https://www.quora.com/Would-it-be-possible-advantageous-to-rewrite-the-Linux-kernel-in-Rust-when-the-language-is-stable>
on quora.   But a quick point is this .... Linux original took off (and was
successful) not because of GPL, but in spite of it and later the GPL would
help it.  But it was not the GPL per say that made Linux vs BSD vs SunOS et
al.

What made Linux happen was the BSDi/UCB vs AT&T case.      At the time, a
lot of hackers (myself included) thought the case was about *copyright*.
It was not, it was about *trade secret* and the ideas around UNIX.  * i.e.*
folks like, we "mentally contaminated" with the AT&T Intellectual Property.

When the case came, folks like me that were running 386BSD which would
later begat FreeBSD et al, got scared.   At that time, *BSD (and SunOS)
were much farther along in the development and stability.   But .... may of
us hought Linux would insulate us from losing UNIX on cheap HW because
their was not AT&T copyrighted code in it.    Sadly, the truth is that if
AT&T had won the case, *all UNIX-like systems* would have had to be removed
from the market in the USA and EU [NATO-allies for sure].

That said, the fact the *BSD and Linux were in the wild, would have made it
hard to enforce and at a "Free" (as in beer) price it may have been hard to
make it stick.    But that it was a misunderstanding of legal thing that
made Linux "valuable"  to us, not the implementation.

If SunOS has been available, it would not have been any different.  It
would have been thought of based on the AT&T IP, but trade secret and
original copyright.

Clem
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