On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, Theodore Ts'o <tytso@mit.edu> wrote:
On Tue, Feb 06, 2018 at 02:13:51PM -0800, Dan Stromberg wrote:
> 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.

At the time of the AT&T lawsuit, most of the people who would be
interested in using a Un*x-like system on their personal x86 systems
probably wouldn't have been worried about their own personal legal
liability.  The decision of corporations to use Linux was well *after*
the AT&T lawsuit was resolved.

Exactly.  I always stress that the AT&T lawsuit's negative impact on adoption of Open Source *BSDs is exaggerated.  Remember that back in the early 90s both Linux and Net/FreeBSD were just hobbyist systems...  We were all doing it as a hobby for fun.  No one was aware that this is going to catch on in the enterprise...

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.

Until the decision of the really big corporate players like Oracle and IBM to support Linux in the late 90s, both systems went head-to-head, and one could even argue that *BSDs had a technical edge over Linux.

It all changed after year 2g when it became apparent that Linux is slowly winning the battle for "hearts and minds".

We should be happy that hobbyist Open Source Unix systems have been so widely adopted at all though; otherwise we would all be living in the NT hell.