[TUHS] [COFF] Unix and SW Releases (was V7 et al from Will)

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sat Aug 8 01:37:32 AEST 2020

On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 11:41 PM Wesley Parish <wobblygong at gmail.com> wrote:

> Am I right in assuming that 2.xBSD was the state of the play on PDP while
> 4.xBSD was the source tree compatible state of play on the VAXes?

Sort of/in theory and all that.

2.XBSD was initially developed by a group of folks that had already
invested in PDP-11s (in mainly separate I/D based 11s) and could not afford
a new Vax.  The 11's are address space-constrained and with the
introduction of the Vax, one of the side effects of BSD was much of
the Unix 'small is beautiful' / 'do one job well' / 'KISS' ideas started to
be lost,* i.e. * Rob's super 'cat -v harmful' became necessary to write
(along sadly was often ignored).

Since CSRG (EE and CS at EE) abandoned the 11's pretty fast, there was a
group (originally lead by Keith Bostic in the Stat Dept) that wanted some
of the new code (particularly the networking stack and sendmail) moved to
their 11's.   In some ways, I was surprised that it has kept going, as the
68000 & later 386 based UNIX systems came to the world, as the economics of
running an 11 started to dwindle quickly.

> That if you had a VAX you got the 4.xBSD tapes, whereas if you had a PDP
> you got the 2.xBSD tapes?
If you were a University or Research type that qualified for a $100 style
research license, you would get a pure V7 (PDP-11) or a 32/V(Vax) tape from
AT&T patent and license.  Once your site had that, you were part of the
source 'club' and could whatever you wanted based on the AT&T V7 license.
 So if you were interested in the BSD releases your team then contacted the
'ILO' (UCB's Industrial Laison Office - BTW CSRG's worked with the ILO for
all the BSD tapes) and asked to obtain UCB IP (be it the CAD tools such as
SPICE, or the OS work like BSD, IC process technology, *et al*).   There
probably was some sort tape writing, *i.e.* short fees, associated with the
specific IP on the order of $100-$1000 depending on what you requested, and
there might be some licensing steps (exchange of AT&T license signature
pages).  When you had a license from the ILO, you were part of the UCB

The original BSD and 2BSD tapes themselves were released officially by the
ILO, as with 3BSD and 4/4.1BSD.  By the time of 4.1a  BSD and later, we had
CSRG, and those releases were done by them directly after the licensing was
set up by the ILO.   As part of the funding and creation of CSRG, UC
Berekely finally had a C30 IMP in Evans (as opposed to the VDH to LBL), so
the releases were also possible via ftp from a hidden location on ucbvax.
 4X originally targetted Vaxen, but famously other systems like the 386 we
available on that site.

By the time of the 2X releases,  UC Berekely had the C30 IMP ( *i.e. *direct
internet connection).  So, once you were licensed, you got the keys to be
able to FTP different 'tapes' (which included sources and binaries), be it
2X or 4X base   But, since CSRG stopped focusing on 16-bit, the 2X stuff
became more of labor of love and was a bit less formal and was done with
cooperation with the CSRG team.

So ...  if you owned a PDP-11 and were still running it and you had a
proper UCB license, then yes, you might be tempted to run 2X; but the truth
is most people began to turn them off in deference to more cost-effective
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