[TUHS] SunOS vs Linux

Angus Robinson angus at fairhaven.za.net
Mon Jan 9 02:28:02 AEST 2017

I think at one point Linus said that if he had known or if 386bsd was
available he would not have started Linux

(If I remember correctly)

On 6 Jan 2017 05:57, "Dan Cross" <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 12:08 PM, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 11:17 AM, ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com
>> <https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=rminnich@gmail.com>>
>> wrote:
>>> Larry, had Sun open sourced SunOS, as you fought so hard to make happen,
>>> Linux might not have happened as it did. SunOS was really good. Chalk up
>>> another win for ATT!
>> ​FWIW:  I disagree​.  For details look at my discussion of  rewriting
>> Linux in RUST
>> <https://www.quora.com/Would-it-be-possible-advantageous-to-rewrite-the-Linux-kernel-in-Rust-when-the-language-is-stable>
>> on quora.   But a quick point is this .... Linux original took off (and was
>> successful) not because of GPL, but in spite of it and later the GPL would
>> help it.  But it was not the GPL per say that made Linux vs BSD vs SunOS et
>> al.
>> What made Linux happen was the BSDi/UCB vs AT&T case.      At the time, a
>> lot of hackers (myself included) thought the case was about *copyright*.
>>   It was not, it was about *trade secret* and the ideas around UNIX.  *
>> i.e.* folks like, we "mentally contaminated" with the AT&T Intellectual
>> Property.
>> When the case came, folks like me that were running 386BSD which would
>> later begat FreeBSD et al, got scared.   At that time, *BSD (and SunOS)
>> were much farther along in the development and stability.   But .... may of
>> us hought Linux would insulate us from losing UNIX on cheap HW because
>> their was not AT&T copyrighted code in it.    Sadly, the truth is that if
>> AT&T had won the case, *all UNIX-like systems* would have had to be
>> removed from the market in the USA and EU [NATO-allies for sure].
>> That said, the fact the *BSD and Linux were in the wild, would have made
>> it hard to enforce and at a "Free" (as in beer) price it may have been hard
>> to make it stick.    But that it was a misunderstanding of legal thing that
>> made Linux "valuable"  to us, not the implementation.
>> If SunOS has been available, it would not have been any different.  It
>> would have been thought of based on the AT&T IP, but trade secret and
>> original copyright.
> Yes, it seems in retrospect that USL v BSDi basically killed Unix (in the
> sense that Linux is not a blood-relative of Unix). I remember someone
> quipping towards the late 90s, "the Unix wars are over. Linux won."
> Perhaps an interesting area of speculation is, "what would the world have
> looked like if USL v BSDi hadn't happened *and* SunOS was opened to the
> world?" I think in that parallel universe, Linux wouldn't have made it
> particularly far: absent the legal angle, what would the incentive had been
> to work on something that was striving to basically be Unix, when really
> good Unix was already available?
> Ah well.
>         - Dan C.
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