[TUHS] Mach for i386 / Mt Xinu or other

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Wed Feb 22 14:06:29 AEST 2017

On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 03:45:54AM +0000, ron minnich wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 7:18 PM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > That was pretty early, Ron.  I betcha if you tried it now (or 10 years
> > ago) things would be different.
> I think that is true. But from my point of view "linux winning" was not
> necessarily "linux was better at the time." I think it was a lot of factors.
> When I got to Los Alamos in 1999, it was still a tossup between the BSDs
> and Linux as to "which is better." Nevertheless, for lots of reasons, in
> 1998 (the same year I found Linux to be less reliable over time) Los Alamos
> had cast its lot with Linux, for all kinds of reasons.

I lived through all this and payed close attention to all of the people
involved (Theo has/had my Sun 4/470, we argued about VM systems in my
flat in SF, Jolitz worked for me, I hung with Chris Demetriou back in
the 386BSD days, I was all over that stuff and wanted it to succeed).

The open source BSD stuff was a train wreck from the very beginning.
Nobody could get along with Jolitz, so NetBSD started, then Theo wanted
to be in charge of something so OpenBSD was born.  I can't remember how
FreeBSD got spun out, but what I do remember is that there were power
struggles from day 1.  Everyone thought they were better than the other
guy, when in fact, what was pretty good was the BSD source base and most
of these people, initially, had very little skin in the game in the form
of code, they were all leveraging the BSD source base.  I actually think
Jolitiz had more code in there in the beginning than anyone else.

No matter who did what, they couldn't / wouldn't / didn't rally around a
single leader and a single project.  So it was "divide and fail" where
Linux was a big tent, anyone who could write decent code was welcome,
but you had to get it past Linus.  Which was fine, people figured out he
had a clue and put up with the fact that they had to get past his filter
(many of us, myself included, valued that filter very, very much).

By 1998/1999, all of these BSD struggles for power were blindingly obvious
to anyone who was remotely paying attention.  I think they were obvious
4-5 years before that.  And it wasn't obvious just to people like me,
management types track this stuff far more than most people believe.
They have to back the right horse or it costs them.  Linux was simply
a safer bet.  The community was larger and growing very fast.  I was
program committee chair at Linux Expo in 1999 (sort of their Usenix
at the time).  It was way more fun than Usenix.

I think a lot of the "better" stuff came from the fact that Linux got
networking long after BSD had pretty sweet networking.  The BSD guys
still think their networking is better than Linux (pro tip, it is not,
go read networking research papers, they all use Linux as the platform
and it's not because there is so much to fix, it's because Linux 
networking is better).  BSD hasn't been better than Linux in any way
that I know of for about 15 years.
Larry McVoy            	     lm at mcvoy.com             http://www.mcvoy.com/lm 

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