[TUHS] If not Linux, then what?

Theodore Y. Ts'o tytso at mit.edu
Tue Aug 27 12:16:58 AEST 2019

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.

    	     	     	     	      	   - Ted

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