Favorite UNIX

Don Hopkins don at DonHopkins.com
Mon Oct 2 04:39:51 AEST 2017

> On 1 Oct 2017, at 20:05, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 01, 2017 at 01:51:06PM -0400, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>>> From: Don Hopkins
>>> Solaris: so bad I left the company.
>> Why was Solaris so much worse than SunOS?
> Because SunOS had years of polish.  It was a nicer starting point (BSD
> had all the fun stuff, AT&T was sort of a stuffed shirt's Unix, BSD was
> Unix for hackers) and the engineers who polished it did so because they
> loved it.  Lots of us stayed late into the night working on that OS and
> it showed.  It was fun times, McNealy knew we were working on it and he'd
> come over to the kernel team's building and egg us on.  He'd get up on
> the conference table and preach to us how it was going to rule the world.

I’m with you there, and fought some similar futile battles about NeWS (but it was good practice for later more successfully convincing EA to free SimCity). 

I’d totally given up working on NeWS and for Sun before I graduated, but James Gosling promised me that Sun had turned over a new leaf, Scott McNealy was 100% behind it, and they would make NeWS free. 

What actually happened a slap in the face: Sun released the OpenWindows source code for “free” (as in beer, not speech), at only $995 media cost (and no you can’t put it on your ftp server). So it was “free” as in bullshit, actually. 


> From: hopkins (Don Hopkins)
> Subject: Sun's inconsistent and misleading use of the word "FREE"
> Date: 29 November 1990 at 18:10:55 GMT+1
> To: rjg, smitad, rogern, tomj
> Cc: rxb, chan, dianam at corp, cathybg at corp, messino at corp, scott at corp, edz at corp, hopkins
> I have been hoping for Sun to make Open Windows free since it was
> called SunDew, and during that time, I've made it perform many
> indescribable acts (both on and off stage), worked with quite a few
> companies trying to make it a success, and drained much much more of
> my energy into it than I ever knew I had to give.
> With horror, I have been following the messages on the network in the
> aftermath of the OWPS "free for $1000" disaster...  The big problem
> was not the $1000.  It was the word "free".
> In short: If you were a slave, what how would you feel if your master
> announced you could go "free", but he really meant he was selling you
> down the river for a media cost of only $1000?
> The OWPS 2.0 press release used the word "Free" exactly three times,
> in two *COMPLETELY* different ways: Twice to describe the cost of the
> OWPS source code and license (but not the media, therefor it can't be
> freely distributed by MIT on the X11R4 tape, or the Free Software
> Foundation).  And once to describe the XView toolkit -- which really
> is *truely* free, in the same sense that we have been asking Sun to
> make NeWS free for years.
> Free #1:
>  Sun Microsystems announced today that the source code for its
>  OpenWindows(TM) application development environment will now be
>  available free of charge (cost of media only -- $995).
> This use of the word "free" is quite fair and well qualified (you
> could try to weasel out by saying "free of charge" meant no static
> electricity).  The problem is that there is no way to get OWPS 2.0
> without the media.  So why use the word free if there is no way you
> can get it without paying money? In the first paragraph of the press
> release, you get peoples hopes up, then dash them with a slimy
> marketing maneuver typical of a used car ad. But at least you did not
> string them along for long.
> Free #2:
>  "Offering free source code for the industry's most advanced,
>  comprehensive window environment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to
>  open systems," said Ed Zander, vice president of marketing at Sun.
> I agree that Open Windows is the best window system on Earth, and that
> making it possible for anyone to get it for free would demonstrate a
> *lot* of good things about Sun, and pay off enormously, in both the
> short and the long run.  But it's not available to everyone, and it's
> not free, so Sun hasn't demonstrated anything positive at all. You say
> it's free, but you actually have to pay to get it, if you even qualify
> at all.  That's the worst thing you could possibly say.  If you had
> come right out and said it was "only" $1000 to "some" people, and
> never used the word free, this might not have been a disaster.
> Free #3:
>  The OLIT toolkit -- based on AT&T's OPEN LOOK toolkit (XT+) --
>  implements the OPEN LOOK look and feel and supports MIT Intrinsics.
>  The XView toolkit is also offered free on the X11 R4 tape available
>  from MIT. 
> *THAT* was the big mistake. You used the *exact* same word, "free", to
> refer to XView. Not only that, but you said "also offered free on the
> X11R4 tape available from MIT." What does that word "also" in that
> sentence mean? It must be referring to something else that's free, and
> what could that be?  There is no doubt that the press release tries to
> compare the "freeness" of XView with the "freeness" of Open Windows,
> and then has the nerve to go on and say that XView is available on the
> X11R4 tape from MIT!  There is no other reasonable interpretation.
> The implication is that OLPS is "free" in the same sense that enables
> MIT to give XView away on the X11R4 tape.  And according to what I
> have been told, that is *NOT* the case.
> It is *great* that XView is free, and Sun definitely means for it to
> be widely available, easy to get, and freely distributable, as
> evidenced by our quick and positive response to the problem raised by
> Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation with the wording of
> the XView legal notice.  (If we didn't clarify the notice, FSF could
> not have given away copies of XView, and MIT would have to *remove*
> XView from the X11R4 tape.)
> For years, we (customers, software developers, and employees) have
> been asking Sun to make Open Windows available for free, in such a way
> that it could be distributed on the X11R4 tape or through other public
> channels, but that has not happened yet. Our concern is *not* that we
> just don't want to pay money for it!! The most important thing is that
> we can make changes to the source code, and give copies of it to
> anyone who wants it, using any media or distribution channel we want.
> But we can't, so it doesn't matter how cheap it is. Even if you didn't
> charge for media, it wouldn't really be the kind of "free" it needs to
> be. It must be unrestricted, like XView.
> Were it not for the use of the word "also", it would have only been a
> "very deceptive" press release. But because of that "also", in
> combination with the inconsistent and misleading use of the word
> "free", and the gratuitous reference to the X11R4 tape, I have to say
> that it was an *EXTREMELY DECEPTIVE* press release.
> The worst part is that the most horrible bit of misdirection takes
> place at the *end* of the press release, once the reader has waded
> through the obviously slimy marketing maneuvers at the top of the
> press release and figured out that Sun is trying to fool him. At this
> point, the reference to the fact that XView is distributed on the
> X11R4 tape is a slap in the face!
> OWPS 2.0 is *not* free to go on X11R4 tape.  Or at least, that's what
> you've told me, and I am very sorry about it.  So why did you mention
> the fact that XView was on the X11R4 tape?  It is highly commendable
> that Sun has actually given XView away for free.  And it really paid
> off.  If we hadn't, Motif would have creamed us.  The same argument,
> that freedom catalyzes success, applies to Open Windows as well, but
> unbelievably, there are still people at Sun who just haven't figured
> it out yet.  But even though they won't give Open Windows away for
> free, they still want to *SAY* they give Open Windows away for free.
> This is why the customers, software developers, and employees are
> pissed off.  Many of the most important ones will be at Sun Users
> Group, all next week!  There is an Open Windows "birds of a feather"
> meeting Tuesday night, 5:45-7:00.  I am almost afraid to show my face.
> I really really hope you have an explanation for what happened
> together by then.  It's going to go over like a lead brick if nobody
> from Sun can give any answers.  The worse thing in the world you could
> do would be to repeat the same old marketing hype. Do *not* try to
> explain to people that Open Windows is "free". Avoid that word like
> the plague, unless you *really* mean it.
> 	-Don
> PS: Enclosed is the press release:
> SunFLASH Vol 23 #12					       November 1990 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>           Package Includes Window System and Toolkits
> MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- November 13, 1990 -- Sun Microsystems
> announced today that the source code for its OpenWindows(TM)
> application development environment will now be available free of
> charge (cost of media only -- $995).  This means that hardware and
> software developers will now have a cost-effective way to incorporate
> OpenWindows -- including the easy-to-use OPEN LOOK(R) graphical user
> interface -- into applications developed or ported to many platforms
>> from different vendors.
> The package includes code for the X11/NeWs(TM) Window System, OPEN LOOK
> toolkits, and OpenFonts(TM) with its TypeScaler(TM) technology.  Before
> today, only OpenWindows binaries were available from Sun.
> "Offering free source code for the industry's most advanced,
> comprehensive window environment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to
> open systems," said Ed Zander, vice president of marketing at Sun.
>                     Advanced Imaging Model
> The X11/NeWS Window System that is part of the source package combines
> a fully compliant X implementation with Sun's NeWS(R) technology, which
> offers the most advanced PostScript(R) imaging model available today.
> NeWS lets developers work with interactive, on-screen PostScript
> graphics -- particularly useful for commercial applications such as
> desktop publishing and multimedia.
> Also part of the source code package is OpenFonts -- Sun's
> nonproprietary font technology, which includes 57 scalable fonts.
>             OPEN LOOK Toolkits Provide Portability
> The keys to OpenWindows' portability are two OPEN LOOK toolkits,
> XView(TM) and the OPEN LOOK Intrinsics Toolkit (OLIT). XView is Sun's
> X-based toolkit that gives developers an easy way to design new
> applications with the OPEN LOOK graphical user interface, as well as to
> migrate the 2,800 existing kernel-based SunView(TM) applications to the
> networked window environment of OPEN LOOK and X.
> The OLIT toolkit -- based on AT&T's OPEN LOOK toolkit (XT+) --
> implements the OPEN LOOK look and feel and supports MIT Intrinsics.
> The XView toolkit is also offered free on the X11 R4 tape available
>> from MIT. OpenWindows is a standard part of the industry's leading
> UNIX(R) operating system, UNIX System V Release 4 from AT&T.
> Since OPEN LOOK toolkits will be available for a range of platforms,
> developers can standardize on a single graphical interface.  Toolkits
>> from Sun and other vendors are available now or will be offered within
> three months for UNIX workstations from Digital Equipment Corp.,
> Hewlett-Packard and IBM, for VAX/VMS systems from Digital.
>                          Availability
> OpenWindows source code will be available January 1, 1991 on magnetic
> tape for $995 (which includes the cost of media and documentation)
> through Sun distributors.  The source license is included at no cost.
> There are no royalties for distributing applications developed with
> OpenWindows.  Hardware vendors will pay nominal royalties for systems
> they resell that run the OpenWindows environment.
> Sun Microsystems, Inc., headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., is a
> leading worldwide supplier of network-based distributed computing
> systems, including professional workstations, servers and UNIX
> operating system and productivity software.
> ###
> OpenWindows, XView, X11/NeWS, OpenFonts and TypeScaler are trademarks
> and NeWS is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. OPEN LOOK
> and UNIX are registered trademarks of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.
> PostScript is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc. All other
> products or services mentioned in this document are identified by the
> trademarks or service marks of their respective companies or
> organizations.
> Cathleen Beall Garfield  (415) 336-6536 
> Diana Murray OpenWindows Licensing Manager (415) 336-1567
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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