On Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 5:13 PM, Dan Stromberg <drsalists@gmail.com> wrote:
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.
This I disagree - Sun was the last.  HP-UX to this day is a BSD based kernel with System V interfaces.   Tru64 was OSF/1 - ney Mach 2.5 ney BSD + CMU and IBM, was it's own thing which was a combination of BSD, System III and System V salted.    You're right that folks >>shipped<< using a SVR3 >>license<< but don't confuse the license with the kernel technology.​

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.
Yes, I explore this in depth in my latest paper.    Al biet we thought it was safer for an incorrect reason and if AT&T had won, Linux would have technically had to be removed from the market.   Although, in practice, I'm not really sure how that would have worked out. But if AT&T had won, all >>UNIX based<< technology (the IP) - which Linux was just one example​ - would have had to go away.   The suit was about >> trade secrets<< not copyright.

I really believe this is/was the key item.   It's certainly why I started using Linux and I know a number of others that did the same.

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.
​Hmmm... possibly.  I never saw or thought about it that way, but I was never trying to prove myself.   But I take your word for it.  ​

4) I believe the SCO lawsuit "against Linux" was too little, too late
to kill Linux's first mover advantage in the opensource *ix
By that time - the damage was done.​  I really don't think this has any effect on BSD one way or the other.

5) I think FreeBSD's ports and similar huge-source-tree approaches
didn't work out as well Linux developers contributing their changes
Hmmm.. BSD has a similar scheme and in fact, Linux took a lot from FreeBSD​ in the ideas of install, ports etc.  In time, I think they surpassed it.

So I come back, if the original BSDi/UCB vs. AT&T suit had not occurred, it would have been a BSD world.   But people like me got scared and even though BSD/386 vs Linux 0.99 was not even a fair comparison (BSD had networking, a window manager, did not crash - basically was a complete system).   Linux was good enough with enough solid UNIX hacker making it complete it quickly took over.   As I say in the paper, it is a classic Christensen style disruption.