[TUHS] Why BSD didn't catch on more, and Linux did

Robert Brockway robert at timetraveller.org
Wed Feb 7 11:02:57 AEST 2018

On Tue, 6 Feb 2018, Andy Kosela wrote:

> I think that if somebody was already exposed to BSD code in the 80s it was
> more natural for him to adopt open source *BSD.  Otherwise he went with
> Linux.  Initially I think it was a little bit smaller and simpler too.

Here's a case study...

I installed Linux on my PC in June 1994 after my university exams had 
finished.  I only decided to go with Linux over NetBSD the night before I 
was heading to university to start downloading the 30 or 40 floppy images 
I'd need to do the install.

The *nix enthusiasts on campus were split fairly evening between Linux & 
NetBSD[1] at the time so I was fairly assured of advice and help 
regardless of which way I went[2].

I chose Linux over NetBSD for one reason.  Linux had a DOS emulator 
(DosEMU).  Even then I wanted to run an emulator rather than multiboot.
NetBSD got support for the dos emulator later but by then I'd made my 

As an aside, while downloading the floppy images I came to the notice of 
local sysadmins.  I had to go see one of the sysadmins about my usage of 
system and network resources.  That sysadmin was George Michaelson, who is 
on this list.  Hi George!  George and I have since worked together.

IIRC the university introduced a local Slackware mirror soon after.

[1] FreeBSD wasn't getting as much attention among enthusiasts at my 
campus and OpenBSD was still a glint in Theo's eye.

[2] A year later I founded a computer club on campus which embraced all 
flavours of *nix hobbyist.  It's still running 23 years later.



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