[TUHS] SunOS vs Linux

Kay Parker kayparker at mailite.com
Mon Jan 9 04:02:17 AEST 2017

You remember correctly:

'If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would
probably never had happened.'

On Sun, Jan 8, 2017, at 08:28 AM, Angus Robinson wrote:

> 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[1]>
>>> 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[2]  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.



  Kay Parker

  kayparker at mailite.com


  1. https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=rminnich@gmail.com
  2. https://www.quora.com/Would-it-be-possible-advantageous-to-rewrite-the-Linux-kernel-in-Rust-when-the-language-is-stable

http://www.fastmail.com - IMAP accessible web-mail

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