Tim - cart and horse reversed.. ;-)

Linus did not like the fact the when Andy wrote Minux, he and his students did not use the 386 MMU HW.   It was made to run on a 8086/8088 -- straight PC/XT  because Andy wanted the lowest cost of entry for his students.   Also at the time, Andy's compiler tool kit was not as easy to get the source.

My memory on this part is hazy, but I think you had to purchase the compiler sources.   So  Linus started with MINUX and started to add more and more support.   He eventually tossed out the ukernel nature of Minux and went the more traditional kernel architecture.    He and Andy would famously fight about that choice on usenet.

Linus this would eventually need a compiler and pulled rms' suite.

The funny part is that his University has 386BSD (aka 4.2 for the 386) at the time which did use the MMU, had networking and even the first step at X11.  At the time I had helped the guys get the AT disk driver working as I had access to all the Western Digital documentation.   But to get the code from CRSG, you needed at BSD license, which required an AT&T license.   Linus' university had one, but he did know know the magic ftp site to download or have access.

I've often wondered what would have happened if he had known about it.

And again, fast forward about 18-24 months and folks like me were worried when the BSDi case came out that we were going to lose access to a UNIX for the Intel processor.   So we started to help him, even though at the time is a huge step backwards. 

Clearly, the "powers" at AT&T really did not know they were awaking a sleeping animal in the hacker community.


On Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 10:11 AM, Tim Bradshaw <tfb@tfeb.org> wrote:

On 2 Jun 2014, at 14:28, Clem Cole <clemc@ccc.com> wrote:
[About gcc]
But the command suite was able to grow and lots of people besides rms contribute to it, because the basic development tools were there.   As strange and difficult a person he is, I suspect we do all own rms a certain level of thanks for the basic dev tools.

In particular I think the existence of GCC was critical to the existence of Linux: there is some complicated history involving a GCC port to ?Minix?, which I think was done because Minix's compiler was rudimentary, and that port enabling some Finnish guy (using Minix I guess) to bring up a kernel.  I suspect there are people on this list who remember this better than I do though.