[TUHS] SunOS vs Linux

Rico Pajarola rp at servium.ch
Tue Jan 10 03:32:21 AEST 2017

On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 4:57 PM, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 1:32 AM, Arno Griffioen <arno.griffioen at ieee.org>
> wrote:
>> Buying a BSD license was way outside a student's budget at that time
>> and universities were not very forthcoming in giving them access.
> ‚ÄčA little strange statement... student did not have to buy it and
> Universities got it for $100 tape copying fee ( and were free to do with it
> at they wanted - i.e. "dead-fish license").

Now stop picking on Joerg already. Not every university was invested in
Unix. In practice Unix source was pretty much unobtainable if you happened
to live outside of the "Unix bubble".

I grew up and went to school/university in Switzerland, and getting access
to UNIX source was nothing but a crazy pipe dream at the time. I don't even
know if my university had a source license (I can't imagine they didn't),
but in any case it wasn't something that they would let you use as a normal
student. None of my inquiries at the time resulted in anything that would
allow me to get access to Unix source. If the university had it, this
wasn't public information, and they didn't share. I couldn't prove that my
university had a license, and I had no way to get the actual bits. This was
the 90ies btw.

We had Sun workstations (Solaris, without source), Windows (blech, but
funnily enough there were source kits. No, you couldn't get access to that
either), and of course the locally developed Oberon machines (Lilith) and
later Bluebottle. I also saw some VAXen running VMS (on their way out).
Some departments had RS/6000s, Alphas and SGIs and other random stuff (do I
need to mention that they came without source?). I've never seen any trace
of Unix source or even BSD.

We all longed for some Unix that was available for personal use, and Linux
absolutely filled that gap. While 386BSD was theoretically available, it
came out almost a year after Linus announced his first version of Linux.
386BSD seemed to have a lot of strings attached, and it wasn't really
usable until FreeBSD/NetBSD. By that time, Linux had gained a lot of
momentum already.

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