[TUHS] If not Linux, then what?

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Wed Aug 28 20:48:33 AEST 2019

Michael Kjörling <michael at kjorling.se> wrote:

> On another note, and to get back to the original question, I'm a
> little surprised that nobody here seems to have mentioned something
> like an outgrowth of Minix.

Hoo boy.  You can thank Andy Tannenbaum that we have Linux in the first
place (almost).

Linus used Minix as his development environment and early versions
supported the Minix filesystem.

I can't cite sources, but as I remember it, at the time (AT&T law suit)
a number of people turned to Tannenbaum to get him to open source Minix
and let people make it a "real" OS (VM, 386 support, etc.).

He wasn't interested. He only cared about teaching and he wanted to
maintain control over it.  (Eventually it grew anyway, but only long

If he'd been more open, things might have indeed gone that way.

This brings up that there were other maybe viable candidates in
the research world: Sprite at UCB and Tannenbaum's Ameoba.  But it seems
that those were mainly vehicles to get papers published and didn't
spread beyond their home universities.

At some point I got a CD with all the Sprite sources. Maybe I can
find that and get it to Warren.


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