[TUHS] Open sourcing SunOS?

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Feb 23 06:12:33 AEST 2023

On Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 01:04:37PM -0700, Warner Losh wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 22, 2023, 8:50 AM Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Has anyone tried talking to anyone at Oracle about possibly getting
> > the SunOS code released under an open source license? There can't be
> > any commercial value left in it.
> >
> SunOS 4 has a lot of encumbered code in it, especially for i386 drivers.

There is SunOS as in everything shipped, kernel and userspace, and there
is the kernel.  So far as I remember, the i386 stuff was never integrated
into the source tree that Sun shipped from.  There was the roadrunner
stuff but I don't think that ever made it in to the official tree.  If
it did, nobody paid attention to it.  All people cared about at the 
time as SPARC and I don't think there was any outsourced hacking for
SPARC, that was all in house.

The networking stack in SunOS 4.x was BSD derived.  You might be thinking
of Solaris, that took the Lachman STREAMS stack but that was 5.x, not

As the only guy, that I'm aware of, who took all the encumbered stuff
out of the kernel, put back the BSD tty drivers and a few other small
things that resulted in a kernel that we could freely open source,
I beg to differ with:

> Bits of the
> network stack as well. It was hopeless to try to open source. There was a
> lot of bits
> and pieces that Sun had done with contracts that were, at best, ambiguous
> for
> what to do should they want to open source it. 

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