On Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 05:27:14PM -0600, Warner Losh wrote:
BSD was in decent enough shape at the time to run on PCs. Though it
fragmented early through no fault of Linux. And the AT&T lawsuit created a
lot of FUD in the area without actually protecting System V. It's unclear
if another thing would have popped up to fill the void... Linux flourished
in the confusion, but without it, it's hard to know if something else would
have been developed before the AT&T lawsuit settled.
It's really hard to answer these what-if questions. The *BSD's
suffered from some really toxic politics which resulted in the
fragmentation, but it also no doubt turned away some developers. I
had friends at MIT who were urging me to quit the "toy" Linux and
switch to the more "Real" Unix efforts. But I got to meet at least
one very toxic personality in person which immediately turned me away
from that offer --- and I got my start on BSD 4.3 with Project Athena.
(For all that people used to like to complain about Linus's e-mail
persona, I *much* preferred to work with Linus than with some of the
personalities in the *BSD/HURD communities.)
People are very fond of blaming the *BSD's failure to become popular
on the AT&T lawsuit, and that no doubt didn't help. But it's not at
all clear to me that was the only, or even the primary, reason.