[TUHS] BSD 4.1, 4.1x, Quasijarus, and 4.3x

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Wed Feb 2 08:18:29 AEST 2022

On Tue, Feb 1, 2022 at 4:35 PM Will Senn <will.senn at gmail.com> wrote:

> All,
> I did my research on this, but it's still a bit fuzzy (why is it that
> people's memories from 40 years ago are so malleable?).
> 1. What are y'all's recollections regarding BSD 4.1's releases, vis a vis
> the VAX. In McKusick's piece, Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix, I get one
> perspective, and from Sokolov's Quasijarus project, I get quite another. In
> terms of popularity and in terms of stable performance, what say you? Was
> 4.1 that much better than 4BSD? Was 4.1as obsolete immediately as McKusick
> says? 4.1b sounds good with FFS, was it? 4.1c's the last pre 4.2 release,
> but it sounds like it was nearly a beta version of 4.2...
> 2. Sokolov implies that the CSRG mission started going off the rails with
> the 4.3/4.3BSD-Tahoe and it all went pear shaped with the 4.3-Reno release,
> and that Quasijarus puts the mission back on track, is that so?

Bluntly, no. Sokolov fell deeply into the nostalgia trap, and combined it
with a revolutionary zeal that was off-putting at best. As far as I know,
it was never more than one individual's project, and boasts of reclaiming
the mantle of CSRG and BSD are grossly exaggerated. The world changed, and
Unix moved in a different direction to accommodate; there's really no going

3. I've gotten BSD 4.2 and BSD 4.3 releases built from tape and working
> very well. I just can't decide whether to go back to one of the 4.x
> releases (hence question 1), or go get Quasijarus0c - thoughts on why one
> might be more interesting than another?

Quasijarus is like 4.3 with some bug fixes and enhancements. If you want to
run something like 4.3 in an emulator, it's not bad; I'm running it for a
ham radio project (just for fun) and it's Y2K compliant and seems reliable.

4. Is Quasijarus0c end of the line for VAX 4.xBSD? Why does tuhs only have
> Quasijarus0 and 0a, was there something wrong with 0b and 0c?

Well, no. Both OpenBSD and NetBSD ported back to the VAX, but the OpenBSD
effort has ended due to lack of hardware and interest. It appears that
NetBSD is still being actively developed on the VAX, however, so it's
possible to get a "modern" 4.4BSD derived system on that architecture.

5. Has anyone unearthed an original 4.1 tape, or is Haertel's
> reconstruction of the 1981 tape 1 release as close as it gets?

For the fifth time today this reminded me that I wanted to find my images
from Kirk's CD collection and move them over to another machine. Sigh.

        - Dan C.
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