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

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Wed Jan 4 13:35:12 AEST 2017

On Tue, Jan 03, 2017 at 10:23:28PM -0500, Dan Cross wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 10:00 PM, Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> wrote:
> > On Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 7:41 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > > I was in building 5 at Sun when they were switching to SVr4 which became
> > > Solaris 2.0 (I think).
> >
> > Solaris 2.0 was the first SVr4 version of Solaris. 4.1.{1,2,3} were
> > still BSD based, and Solaris 2.0 was SunOS 5.0 and OpenWindows.
> >
> My favorite version number was SunOS 4.1.4U1: I was told that the ``U1''
> meant, "you won", as in "you won. Here's another BSD-based release."

That might have been the Greg Limes release.  I may be all wrong but
someone, I think it was Greg, busted their ass to try and make SunOS
4.x scale up on SMP machines.  There were a lot of us at the time that
hated the SVr4 thing, it was such a huge step backwards.

I dunno how much you care about Sun history, but SunOS, the BSD based
stuff before 5.0, the engineers and the customers *loved* it.  I was 
not the first guy who worked until midnight on that OS, I wasn't even
on the radar screen.  Guy Harris worked on it, tons of people worked 
on it, tons of people poured their heart and soul into it.  It crushed
us when they went to SVr4, that shit sucked.

My boss, Ken Okin, paid me for 6 months to go fight management to stop
the switch to SVr4.  It was more than a decade later that I learned
that the reason for the switch was that Sun was out of money and AT&T
bought $200M of Sun stock at 35% over market but the deal was no more
SunOS, it had to be SVr4.

I really wonder what the world would look like right now if Sun had 
open sourced SunOS 4.x and put energy behind it.  I wrote a paper 
about it, I still wonder.


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