[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 
choice.

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.

Cheers,

Rob


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