[TUHS] the guy who brought up SVr4 on Sun machines

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Tue Jan 10 13:58:23 AEST 2017


On Mon, Jan 09, 2017 at 02:40:08PM +0100, Joerg Schilling wrote:
> > The VM system was ported from SunOS 4.x to System 5.  Your statements that
> > SVr4 is based on SunOS are flat out wrong.  SVr4 got a lot of SunOS goodness
> > but the starting point was ATT System V.
> 
> This looks like a response made from gut.

OK, I'll try again.  Before I start let me tell you that I've ported the
Lachman TCP/IP stack into the ETA 10 Unix os as well as the the SCO os
(which was as about as pure an ATT Unix as you can find).  I worked for
Lachman as my first job out of school.  BTW, they didn't write that stack,
they bought it, I think from Convergent.

> Let us check things that are verifiable, by looking at the basic elements
> of the OS kernel that together cover the majority of the kernel.
> 
> 		SVr3		SunOS-4		SVr4
> 		=======================================
> TTY driver	V7/Svr0		STREAMS		STREAMS

SunOS supported STREAMS but their tty drivers where not STREAMS based except
where they had to be for some contract.  STREAMS sucks ass and that's what
dmr said.  STREAMS != streams.  Miserable system.

> So why should someone start with the AT&T sources when the expected result
> is > 70% identical with SunOS-4?

Um because data?  I dunno what will convince you, dmr rising from the grave
and saying so?  How about this from the guy that did the bring up, a guy that
is a close friend, we were car pooling to mountain view daily during this time,
his office was across the hall from me.

	SVr4 was not based on SunOS, although it
	incorporated many of the best features of SunOS
	4.x (VM management, filesystem architecture,
	shared libraries, etc). Those features
	and interfaces were merged (after extensive
	discussions, involving, on the Sun side, Bill
	Shannon, Rob Gingell, Don Cragun and others) into
	a pre-release version of System V by AT&T. The
	reference hardware platform was AT&T???s 3b2.

	Sun would receive periodic ???loads??? from AT&T
	of that 3b2 based code, which we then merged
	on top of the machine-dependent code from SunOS
	4.x. Let???s just say it was an adventure. After
	the first port, I think, Joe Kowalski came on to 
	head the userland effort, and the team gradually
	built up from there. That merged code was Sun
	proprietary stuff; AFAIK it never went back
	to AT&T.

> BTW: My statements are from a talk from Bill Joy from the Sun User Group 
> meetings. Bill claimed that he was responsible for the Svr4 kernel and did this 
> on a new location in Denver Colorado that was as a joint venture from Sun and 
> AT&T.

So I have Bill's home number on my cell phone.  We're not close and I'm not
going to use up a silver bullet to win this argument but your claim here is
complete nonsense.  I know the people in the Colorado site and they didn't
have anything to do with SVr4.  The Rocky Mountain group was working on 
file systems (and produced CVS).  Bill was checked out at this point, he
was living in Aspen and had very little to do with Sun.  The idea that he,
Mr BSD, would have been "responsible for the Svr4 kernel" is a joke.  BSD
and SunOS were so much better, there is no way he would have been for SVr4.

> The SunOS-5 kernel and the Svr4 kernel still differ, but they are more close 
> together than Svr4 and Svr3. Note that I did not only write Joliet and 
> ISO9660:1999 support code for SunOS and SCO UnixWare but also for SCO 
> OpenServer that is based on Svr3. So I had legal access to SunOS, Svr4 and Svr3 
> based code. Did you have access to this code? Did you compare?

I've had legal access to SunOS 4/5, SCO, SVr3, SVr4, and a pile of other 
variants.  And I've been a kernel engineer in all of those.  As in spent
years as a paid engineer in all of them.  Yeah, I know which is which.
I've run diff on tons of that code.

> > > Interesting: Do you mean "Bill Shannon"? Was he involved in SCCS or smoosh
> > > as well? I know Bill as the author of "cstyle" and I pushed him to make it OSS
> > > in 2001 already, before it appeared in OpenSolaris.
> >
> > Yup, that Shannon.
> 
> OK, so he was also working on SCCS?

No, he was a DE and as such he oversaw pretty much everything, including my
work.  We worked closely together.

> > > In January 2015, I talked with Glenn Skinner about SCCS and smoosh and he 
> > > pointed me to his smoosh patent:
> > > 
> > > 	http://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/US5481722.pdf
> > > 
> > > that has been expired in late 2014. 
> >
> > The fact that Glenn didn't put me on that patent is a sore point.  Yes,
> > he wrote the lisp code that showed it could be done.  I wrote the C code
> > that did that in one pass (his stuff was N+M where N was how many deltas
> > were on the local side and M was how deltas were on the remote side).
> 
> I have been told that a patent can be void if it does not list the right 
> inventors.
> 
> I would guess that this was a decision made by the lawyer that helped to file 
> the patent.
> 
> Are you responsible for the original idea?

Nope, I give credit to Glenn for that.  It was his idea.  The one pass version
of it, which is what gave Sun Teamware, that's 100% me.  That's not quite fair,
Glenn and I talked about it a lot, we knew we needed that for performance, so
the desire for a one pass version includes Glenn.  But the code that did it?
That's 100% me.  I designed it, I wrote it.


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