[TUHS] Western Electric "Research Unix" License Contacts

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sun Nov 24 07:25:08 AEST 2019


I  have described much of this in previous messages.   So to recap....

The first licensee was Columbia University (Lou Katz), 4th Edition and I
>>believe<< Harvard was second, but it might have been someone else in
NYC.   I was always under the impression that Rand Corp was the first
commercial license, when a couple of Harvard Students wanted to bring it
west.   CMU, MIT, UofI were all about 1-3 years later.  I believe MIT and
CMU started with 5th edition and UofI 6th.  Chesson is no longer with us to
verify, but I think Steve Holmgren was in on that, and I believe I have
seem him on a couple of other mailing lists.  CMU was definitely 5th
edition to start, and quickly went to 6th.   MIT had it early also since,
like CMU, they had interns and OYOC students from the Labs, so code went
freely both ways in those days.

The redistribution license is a little more hazy. It was either Peter
Weiner at ISC or the folks at Wollongong.  I had always been under the
belief it was Peter, but Werner has some data that shows Wollongong was
either at the same time or shortly thereafter.   These were custom licenses
for V6 and its not clear about certain details and Werner seems to think
not exactly the same (*i.e.* Wollongong negotiated some special terms no
one else had).  Al Arms (AT&T legal) is likely to be the only person that
really knows for sure, as he was the common thread on all it in the early

With Seventh Edition, Al wrote the first general commercial redistribution
license with sliding fees etc.   If you wanted a 7th edition license, any
previous licenses we voided.  There was great moaning about the fees.
 After about 6 months, Prof Dennis Allison of Stanford (who was consulting
for just about all of us in those days), brokered a meeting at Ricki's
Hyatt in Palo Alto, I want to say winter 1980.   This was the beginning of
the more global negotiation with what would become the System III license
(all flavors).  Again this license superseded all previous ones.

And thus the #1 president for the later OSF creation came into being, so
called: '*Stable Licensing Terms*.'  When the System V license was
released, AT&T changed things again.   By the time of SVR3 the
commercial folks had had enough and a war ensued.

On Sat, Nov 23, 2019 at 10:03 AM <reed at reedmedia.net> wrote:

> Any more details about this?
> The Dec. 1973 agreement with Univ. of California is "solely for
> academic and educational purposes" and included "source program code".
> (Their initial installs were 4th edition.)
> The slightly revised Dec. 1974 agreement with Katholieke Universiteit
> is also solely for academic and educational purposes" with nominal
> service charge of $150. (This was signed in February 1975 a little
> before the 6th edition came out.)
> I read multiple times that the first "source" licensee may have been the
> Univ. of Illinois. But I also read they were the first "source" licensee
> for the "5th" edition so not any Unix source license in general.
> Was Univ. of Illinois the first source licensee regardless of the
> edition (so prior to Dec. 1973 / Jan. 1974)?  Any docs/citations on
> this?
> https://web.archive.org/web/20160322042314/http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~gillies/mail/dbgillies_ken_thompson.txt
>  suggests the agreement with Univ. of Illinois happened a few months
> before July 1975, so maybe it couldn't have been the first (since there
> are copies of agreements prior years with other schools) even though
> that says the first.
> The (Univ. of Illinois) Network UNIX RFC 681 is dated March 18, 1975 and
> NIC 32157 dated May 14, 1975. It references Fifth Edition and has:
> Since the NIC has later date that the RFC maybe this was updated later
> than the RFC date so the commercial cost is really about the 6th
> edition?
> Does anyone have a copy of the software agreement for a non-university,
> or without the "solely for academic" clause, or for $20,000 from early
> 1975 (or for 5th edition)?
> This 1983 Byte magazine article
> https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazine-1983-10/1983_10_BYTE_08-10_UNIX#page/n133/mode/2up
> says the 6th edition was first Unix to be sold to commercial firms. A
> company license was $20,000 and a educational license was $200.
> Anyone have a copy of any 6th edition license agreement?
> (The author of
> https://wiki.tuhs.org/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=publications:theses:gmp_thesis.pdf
> says has a copy signed May 12, 1977 but I couldn't get in contact with
> yet.)
> I understand the agreement for 7th Edition included a clause saying a
> course curriculum couldn't discuss or describe the code. (John
> Lions clause).
> Does anyone have a 7th edition license? (Educational or otherwise?)
> (Again the author of above thesis says has copy of a 7th edition
> education license signed Feb. 20, 1981.)
> Does anyone have Exhibit F -- the "32V Software Agreement" dated April
> 1, 1979 -- for the AT&T/USL vs. BSDI/Univ. of California Jun 1992
> complaint (or Exhibit B to the DeFazio Affidavit)? (See
> 920724.complaint.txt and more details in 930107.amicus.txt and
> 930108.oppose.txt.)  Or maybe the 1981 relicense?
> What does it mean about the often mentioned first commercial
> version from AT&T wasn't until System III (Unix Release 3.0) in 1982?
> This is confusing since documented references to commercial versions in
> early 1975.  Is this about AT&T proper instead of Bell Labs? Or maybe
> about official commercial support?
> (RFC 681 which mentions the $20,000 non-university license fee also
> mentions RAND, Lincoln Laboratories, and Inco had Network UNIX source
> code, but unsure if that means that had the commercial license too.
> There are other commercial licenses long prior to System III, but maybe
> it is about professional support.)
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