[TUHS] Dynamics between BSD and Linux

Kevin Bowling kevin.bowling at kev009.com
Wed Jan 31 18:39:25 AEST 2018


Interested in some perspective here since the list has influential Linux
people like Ted Tso.

Linux has been described as influenced by Minix and System V.  The Minix
connection is well discussed.  The SysV connection something something
Linus had access to a spec manual.  But I’d guess reality would be more
gradual — new contributors that liked CSRG BSD would have mostly gravitated
to the continuations in 386/BSDi/Net/Free that were concurrent to early and
formative Linux development.. so there’d be an implicit vacuum of BSD
people for Linux development.

What I am curious about is the continuing ignorance of BSD ideas.  Linux
isn’t exactly insular; a lot of critical people and components came much
later on from other SysV flavors (lvm, jfs, xfs, RCU)

The kinds of BSD things I am talking about are ufs, kqueue, jails, pf,
Capsicum.  Linux has grown alternatives, but with sometimes willful
ignorance of other technology. It seems clear epoll was not a good design
from the start.  Despite jails not being taken to the logical conclusion of
modern containers like zones, the architecture is fundamentally closer
aligned to how people want to securely use containers versus namespaces and
cgroups. And Google ported Capscicum to Linux but it’s basically been
ignored in lieu of nebulous concepts like seccomp.  And then there seems to
be outright hostility toward other platforms from the postmodern generation
with things like systemd.

This seems strange to me as BSD people are generally open to other /ideas/,
we have to be careful with Linux code due to license incompatibility, but
the converse is does not seem true either in interest in other ideas or
license hampering code flow.

The history of UNIX is spectacularly successful because different groups
got together at the table and agreeed on the ideas.  Is there room for that
in the modern era where Linux is the monopoly OS?  The Austin Group is
still a thing but it’s not clear people in any of the Freenix communities
really care about evolving the standards.  I get that, but not so much
completely burrying ones head in the sand to what other OSes are doing.  Is
there any future for UNIX as an “open system” in this climate or are people
going to go there separate ways?

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