[TUHS] Fwd: [simh] Announcing the Open SIMH project

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Sat Jun 4 08:52:52 AEST 2022

On Fri, Jun 3, 2022 at 4:30 PM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Jun 04, 2022 at 12:16:49AM +0200, Tom Ivar Helbekkmo wrote:
> > Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> writes:
> >
> > >> I do not agree.  Linux won because BSD was embroiled in litigation.
> > >
> > > Like I said, we experienced that differently.  In my opinion, people
> lean
> > > on the litigation excuse when they don't want to admit that *BSD was
> not
> > > a good way to do operating system development.
> >
> > What were the differences?  The BSD projects were:
> >
> > - 386bsd: run by Jolitz, with no input from anyone else
> > - NetBSD: forked from 386bsd, run by Chris de Metriou as a
> >   cooperative effort between a host of indviduals (me included)
> > - FreeBSD: forked from NetBSD almost immediately, by a group of
> >   contributors who felt that performance and device support on the Intel
> >   platform was more important than maintaining hardware portability
> > - OpenBSD: forked from NetBSD after de Raadt established a kind of
> >   record by being kicked off both the NetBSD and FreeBSD mailing lists.
> >
> > I'm open to contradicting arguments, but I do feel that the BSD platform
> > was a much better starting point back then, and ought to have won - but
> > Linux, while inferior, was available and non-threatening.
> Dude, I was there.  Jolitz used to work for me at Sun, Theo's Sun 4/470
> was given to him by me, I know most of the players.
> I agree BSD was a better starting point if there was one BSD.
> The problem is there was {386,Net,Free,Open,DragonFly}BSD where there
> should have just been "BSD".  One, not a bunch.

Except from 1993-1996 there were only two of those BSDs. NetBSD and FreeBSD
forked in 1993 due to the inability of the patchkit to adequately cover the
in 386BSD governance. OpenBSD didn't fork until late 1995 or early 1996
on when you count such things (Theo's firey email, or the first release).
Drangonfly BSD
didn't fork until a decade later in 2004 due to a dispute in how to make
kernel SMP. And 386BSD stopped being a thing in 1993 when Jolitz disappeared
from public view and NetBSD/FreeBSD filled the free vacuum that created and
BSDi with BSD/386 filled the commercial space.

> Where do you think Linux would be if there was {A,B,C,D,E,F,G}Linux?
> There is one kernel.  One and only one.  With everyone working on that
> one kernel.

Except there never really was only one kernel. There have been hundreds
of forks of the Linux kernel over the years. Most of them have been
of some flavor (Redhat, Debian, OpenSUSE, MontaVista, WindRiver, Android
had hundreds or thousands of patches on the base Linux kernel for a long
and trying to move from one to another if you also had patches was a

Kernel.org has kept going, and many of the chanages from these systems were
Some were not as good as what came in upstream, while others were encumbered
by commercial contracts that made them unappealing to upstream. True, many
them did wind up in kernel.org, but to say there aren't forks in Linux is
reality a bit...

> If you can't see the difference, I don't know what to tell you.  Are you
> seriously going to take the position that BSD is better off because
> it has all these variants and replicated effort?  Because if you are,
> this conversation is over, at least from my point of view.

I think Linux's greatest strengths were the different distributions, though
at times it causes a great deal of duplicated effort. They allowed
different communities
the room to customize things in an easy way. I believe that, more than one
has been a driver of innovation.

But honestly, the litigation was a deal killer for many BSD users in the
early days,
and that gave Linux room to grow. Had the BSDs not faced the competition
from Linux
and had similar resources poured into them, the NetBSD/FreeBSD split would
been good competition, much as there's good competition between Debian,
Redhat, Suse,
Canonical, etc today in the Linux space which helps to drive innovation.

Even today, with the benefit of hindsight, it's hard to pin which of these
facts on
the ground was the biggest driver for most people...

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20220603/d73f80cf/attachment.htm>

More information about the TUHS mailing list