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

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Jan 5 11:01:49 AEST 2017

On Wed, Jan 04, 2017 at 07:50:27PM -0500, William Pechter wrote:
> Where would the current FreeBSD be if you compared it with SunOS4?

That's a good, and hard question.  One of the nice things about SunOS4
was the VM system and the VFS layer and the VNODE layer.  Those were 
really well thought out.  They all, so far as I know, were Bill Joy
dreams, but Steve Kleiman was the primary driver of the vnode design
but I think Joe Moran was the main coder of all of that.  It's one of
those things that people copy but don't get right.  I think Linux got
closer than FreeBSD did.

I haven't dug into the FreeBSD kernel in years so who knows, maybe
it is fantastic.  When I last looked it was lagging way behind SunOS
(which isn't fair, Sun was a business and as such had buildings full of
motivated people who were making it better.  There was a building with
just networking people in, we're talking a two story building with I
dunno, ~100 offices).  They threw more resources at it that FreeBSD has
ever had.

If you took the ~1992 SunOS and stacked it up against the 2016 FreeBSD,
well I would hope that FreeBSD would be better but I wouldn't bet on it
across the board.  It would certainly have more drivers (and if we're
being honest, that's 99% of the work, all this generic kernel stuff
is super fun to talk about but all the real coding is in the drivers).

I think the more interesting question is would {Free,Net,Open}BSD even
exist if there had been a Free SunOS.  I'm 100% convinced the answer 
to that is a resounding no.

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