[TUHS] Open sourcing SunOS?

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Feb 23 06:54:40 AEST 2023

On Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 01:46:53PM -0700, Warner Losh wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 1:12 PM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > 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
> > 4.x.
> >
> I was thinking of the streams stuff that's in 4.x BSD. There's AT&T
> copyrights
> on it. There's also, strangely, rfs sources included with some of the stuff
> one
> can find online. But it looks to be imported nearly verbatim from System V
> of some flavor with very few edits, judging by the 1.1 versions in many of
> the
> files.

I ripped out the STREAMS stuff (it was STREAMS, not dmr's streams).
And I ripped out RFS.  There was more than 1.1 versions in some version
of SunOS, my former office mate, Howard Chartok, did a pile of work on

> > 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.
> I'm just reporting what my VP told me...  Grepping through the source I can
> find online, the evidence is closer to what you say than what Glen told me.
> Either he or I must have confused Solaris 2 with SunOS 4.

Like I said, in 1992 or 1993, I had a BSD licensed SunOS 4.1.something, 
I think 4.1.3, kernel.  No STREAMS, no RFS, no STREAMS based tty drivers,
it was what lots of people called SunOS: "A bugfixed and improved BSD".

I shopped it around inside Sun and there were plenty of people who wanted
a reason to say it wasn't open source ready and they couldn't find one.
Larry McVoy           Retired to fishing          http://www.mcvoy.com/lm/boat

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