[TUHS] BSD/386 (was: Old 386 Unix Versions, was: Re: PCC for the i386)

Greg 'groggy' Lehey grog at lemis.com
Thu Jul 18 10:04:25 AEST 2019

On Wednesday, 17 July 2019 at  9:37:44 +0200, emanuel stiebler wrote:
> On 2019-07-11 18:50, A. P. Garcia wrote:
>> On Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 12:31 PM Clem cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
>> Did Sun have anything to do with that? I seem to recall something
>> called "Interactive Unix" for the 386, possibly marketed by Sun...
> "Interactive Unix" was pretty nice back than.

I used it in the early 1990s (Interactive UNIX/386, based on System V,
IIRC; there were other versions with different lineage).  My
recollections of it were less positive than yours, maybe only by
comparison.  Installation (hundreds of small components, each with
their own license key) was a nightmare.

In that connection, and by way of comparison, I'm surprised that
nobody has mentioned BSDI's BSD/386 yet, which grew up intimately
related to Jolitz' 386BSD.  Jolitz worked with BSDI until (the
beginning of?) December 1991, when he left due to disagreement with
BSDI's licence model, apparently destroying all his work.

I started using BSD/386 in mid-March 1992, a couple of days before
Jolitz released 386BSD.  In contrast to 386BSD, it was solid,
installed easily, and cost $1000 (with source; I think there were
cheaper binary-only options).  It blew Interactive UNIX out of the
water.  This was a Beta, so I sent reports which I have published at

It's a pity that BSD/386 (later BSD/OS) went away, though later we
incorporated some parts of the kernel into FreeBSD (with BSDI's
permission and blessing, of course; see
http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-jun2000.php).  In contrast to the
other early offerings, it Just Worked.  But the idea of paying for
operating systems seemed to have passed its use-by date.

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