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

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Jan 5 10:43:53 AEST 2017

On Thu, Jan 05, 2017 at 11:36:27AM +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> On Tue, 3 Jan 2017, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > I really wonder what the world would look like right now if Sun had open 
> > sourced SunOS 4.x and put energy behind it. [...]
> My guess is it would be a lot like FreeBSD.

Not really.  FreeBSD is open source and was way way behind SunOS.  That's
why so many Sun engineers were hugely butthurt when they were forced onto
a far inferior System V source base.  Scooter just didn't understand
how much polish had gone into SunOS 4.x.  It was a very talented group
of engineers, many of whom had no social life (he says looking in the
mirror :) so they poured all their energy into making SunOS great.

I'm biased because I worked there, but I've run code on all of the major
Unix offerings (AIX, IRIX, Ultrex, HP-UX and SunOS) and SunOS was hands
down a better experience, inside the kernel, as a user of the syscalls,
and in user space.  It's what a geeky engineer would want with the polish
needed to allow customers to have a good experience.

I think a free SunOS would have had a cult following.  I'd still be working
on it.  Sun's management just didn't realize what they were throwing away.


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