[TUHS] Why Linux not another PC/UNIX [was Mach for i386 ...]

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Feb 23 08:51:57 AEST 2017

+1 to all of this, I agree.  And I was working on SunOS at the time,
then later IRIX, and both were walled gardens.  I loved working 
with customers who had source licenses but those were few and far 
between.  Linux was like everyone had the source, because, well,
they did.

On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 11:03:21PM +0100, Arno Griffioen wrote:
> IMHO one thing that Linux offered many people/coders/developers, especially 
> in the early years, was the chance to actually make a contribution and a 
> difference to the development and growth of the system.
> Especially in the early Linux years you could track down bugs or 
> make improvements, send the patches to Linus and they'd actually end
> up in the code in a few days to weeks. How cool was that!?!?
> On BSD (at least my experience with NetBSD) it was *hard* to get 
> fixes incorporated and with new releases only once a year or so
> it seemed very 'stale' and boring.
> I think this Linux style open-ness of development, the willingness to 
> accept fixes and patches and perhaps horribly break things along the way, 
> resonated with a lot of coders and enthousiasts making it popular very 
> rapidly in those circles.
> Heck.. I did some minor low-level and early stuff on the Linux/M68k
> kernel port for the Amiga's and even though Linus himself was not interested 
> in a 'non-i386' port or version of Linux he was also not against it and open to 
> the idea and did accept fixes for bugs in the mainline kernel that were 
> exposed by the port (eg. byteorder issues, hardcoded i386 bits, etc.)
> and basically sanitized a lot of code. 
> It also forced some of the early splits in some drivers in platform 
> independent and dependent pieces because of the vastly different styles 
> of I/O and interrupt handing between the i386 and the M68k family,
> but Linus also saw the merit in such increased abstraction and 
> portability and accepted such changes even though they did 'nothing' 
> for the i386.
> All in all at the time (early/mid 90's) I feel that the whole 'community' 
> (a much-abused word these days..) around Linux was much more conductive 
> and supportive than any of the other *IX-with-source-available options
> for those that wanted to help/improve/fix stuff in the OS/kernel so it
> drew in more people.
> And when the (snow)ball started rolling with the free CD's on magazines
> and such then all hell broke loose as far as the popularity goes.
> Not saying it's "the best" at all as it can be a horrible mess, but 
> the earlier mention of 'good enough' (or perhaps being the 'VHS' of 
> *IX'es) is probably a good description.
> 							Bye, Arno.

Larry McVoy            	     lm at mcvoy.com             http://www.mcvoy.com/lm 

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