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

Wesley Parish wobblygong at gmail.com
Wed Feb 7 18:27:16 AEST 2018


On 2/7/18, Dan Stromberg <drsalists at gmail.com> wrote:
> IMO:
> 1) It kinda did catch on, in the form of macOS, but there was a time
> when it was nearly dead as the major vendors moved to System V.  For
> some reason, Sun was the last major vendor to make the move, but they
> caught most of the flack.

And for what it's worth, the iPhone. IIRC, a nephew once showed me a
bash prompt on his iPhone and some nifty tricks he was teaching
himself with it.

> 2) I think the main reason BSD nearly died, was the AT&T lawsuit.  At
> the time, Linux appeared to be a safer bet legally.
> 3) Linux got a reputation as an OS you had to be an expert to install,
> so lots of people started it to install it to "prove themselves".
> This was sort of true back when Linux came as 2 floppy images, but
> didn't remain true for very long.

Well, put it this way, to install MS/PC/DR DOS you fooled around with
a limited FDISK.COM if the HD was unformated. Then you did FORMAT.COM
and (in 3.3 and earlier) SYS.COM to install the core files. Then you
could run whatever batch files you needed to install whatever
utilities you needed. OS/2 and Windows (including WinNT 3.x) just
added a pretty-pretty interface. OS/2 was more sophisticated than
WinNT's because OS/2 expected to share the hard drive with some other
OS; Microsoft believed it had the computer to itself and is thus not
as sophisticated - but they're still MS/PC/DR DOS  writ large.

To install Linux (I cut my teeth on SLS 0.99pl(largelyforgotten) ) you
had to do something with sectors and the like. And if you didn't know
about sectors, you screwed up and learnt damn fast. It's quite an
education re-installing something because the file system won't fit on
the miniscule partition you've made for it, and you pay attention this
time!!!

> 4) I believe the SCO lawsuit "against Linux" was too little, too late
> to kill Linux's first mover advantage in the opensource *ix
> department.

The major difference between the AT&T versus Berkley and The SCO
(Societe Commerciale du Ondit or RumourMongers Incorporated) Group was
people knew about the AT&T case and were prepared; in addition, SCO
ran into the Internet-powered Groklaw Effect.

You can't use vague allegations to win your case when there's a bunch
of people around who can take your vague allegations and feed them to
the alligators.

> 5) I think FreeBSD's ports and similar huge-source-tree approaches
> didn't work out as well Linux developers contributing their changes
> upstream.
>
Wesley Parish


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