[TUHS] If not Linux, then what?

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Tue Aug 27 12:39:13 AEST 2019

On Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 10:16:58PM -0400, Theodore Y. Ts'o wrote:
> 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.

I agree with Ted and I'm seeing it to this day, I hang with some BSD
folks and they spend way too much time complaining about people.  Sorry,
but that's my take.  Maybe the world is as shitty as they say it is but
my world wasn't that great, you just roll up your sleeves and make a 
difference.  I dunno, it does seem different, maybe it was easy for
me and it is hard for them but I don't like the complaining.

Linus, in my opinion, is a great programmer (all you have to do is read
his rants about obscure stuff and it is clear he knows the details of a
ton of stuff), a great architect (I could be pushed back a little on 
this one but he is good), and a great manager.  He inspires other people
to do well, he pushes for a good code base, he hates shitty code.  He
is a leader, you can argue about his faults but he leads.  And I have
*never* seen all those skill sets in one person.  I've said that at 
least 20 years ago and it is true today.

The BSD crowd lacked that sort of leader.  So
{386,Net,Open,Free,DragonFly}BSD all have their own crowd but they are
tiny crowds.

I say this with dismay, I'm a SunOS 4.x guy, that's the bugfixed BSD.
I loved BSD Unix, it was the best and it had the chance to be the 
future but for whatever reason the "leaders" in BSD didn't have an
actual leader.  Not one of them.  Not 1/100th of the leader that 
Linus is.

So Linux won.  I'm not that happy about it, I could imagine a world
where BSD won and I think I'd be happier in that world but it didn't

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