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

Joerg Schilling schily at schily.net
Thu Jan 5 03:39:25 AEST 2017

Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:

> > I cannot confirm this at all.
> > 
> > I have access to both SunOS-4.x and Solaris sources and it is obvious that the 
> I'm not sure how you have legal access to the SunOS 4.x code.  I'd love a
> copy of that source but so far as I know it's locked up.

You did not make a backup while you worked at Sun?

Well, I am working in a governmental owned research unit and we did buy the 
SunOS-4.x sources for 100$ via the university access program.

Before, I was working at H.Berthold AG, the first OEM customer for Sun equipment.
Given that H.Berthold AG sold aprox. 25% of all Suns made in the 1980s, I had 
partial source access since 1986 and in 1988, I received a SunOS-4.0 kernel 
source tape from Bill Joy after the Sun Europe CEO asked him whether Bill could 
help me with with SunOS sources for my Dimploma thesis that is a Copy on Write
filesystem for optical media (WOFS).

While I cannot OSS this filesystem for SunOS-4.x, I am still planning to port 
it to OpenSolaris as this would permit me to OSS it. Hint: I have been told 
from Sun employees that the Sun ZFS group did read my diploma thesis before 
they started with ZFS even though it is written in German ;-)

My dimploma thesis was also used as the VFS documentation for people who 
intended to write a new filesystem.

> > SVr4 and Solaris kernel code is very similar. 
> Sure it's similar.  The process was:
> 	untar the SVr4 code

But the SVr4 code has been created from modifying the SunOS-4.0 sources.

BTW: AFAIK, Solaris 2 has been derived from SunOS-4.1.4 by adding the few 
parts of the SVr4 code that really differ from SunOS-4.x.

There seems to be a general missunderstandings:

I do not call SunOS-4.x a "BSD based OS" as SunOS-4.0 introduced a new memory 
management subsystem in the kernel. AT&T was very interested in this feature 
and because of this subsystem, the SVr4 kernel had to derived from the 
SunOS-4.0 kernel. This has been mentioned in talks on the Sun User group 
meeting in December 1987. I am not sure whether this was a talk from Bill Joy 
or from other people from the SunOS kernel group.

The userland code from SVr4 however is fully derived from SVr3, ignoring all
enhancements and fixes that appeared in BSD and SunOS before.

What I have been told about why people believed that Solaris is slow was mainly 
caused by the fact that there was a "dd" based benchmark that did a lot 512 
byte block transfers and since AT&T did not understand that an OS with virtual 
memory needs to use page aligned tranfser buffers, the AT&T "dd" until 1994
used "malloc()" instead of "valloc()" and this usually caused a 512 byte 
tansfer in "dd" to be split into two kernel transfers.


 EMail:joerg at schily.net                  (home) Jörg Schilling D-13353 Berlin
       joerg.schilling at fokus.fraunhofer.de (work) Blog: http://schily.blogspot.com/
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