freebsd or linux

Doug McIntyre merlyn at
Tue Dec 11 14:49:41 UTC 2018

On Tue, Dec 11, 2018 at 12:51:31AM -0500, Alejandro Imass wrote:
> Some things are curious though. The initial release date of NeXT is 1989
> (derived from  4.3BSD-Tahoe released in 1988) but I think that it still had
> some AT&T code in it so you still had to obtain a license from AT&T to run
> any form of BSD. So AT&T did license to NeXT in one form or another after
> all ;-)

I don't know the status of what NeXT may or may not have licensed.
Back then, it was mostly the kernel that was the biggest concern, the
userland (and other parts not developed at USL, such as the virtual
memory system, TCP stack, file system, etc). wouldn't have concerned
AT&T/USL as much. Since it wasn't the BSD kernel of 4.3BSD, I don't know.
They probably were licensees just to cover their bases, which was common then.

> The other curious thing and somewhat unrelated (or not?) is how close
> 386BSD FreeBSD were to Linux (both in '91, FreeBSD actually '92). So if
> only for a few months, Linux would probably not exist. But I wonder if the
> whole Free Software-later-Open Source movement would have played out in
> much the same way. Ironically, FreeBSD is more free than "Free Software"
> per the FSF-GPL.

Yes, Linux was famously quoted as that he wouldn't have started on
Linux if BSD wasn't encumbered. He wasn't happy with Minix, and
started off on his own..

The USL lawsuit most likely was the impetus to have Linux move forward
quickly while the status of any BSD derived OS was in question until
the USL lawsuite was resolved.

I wouldn't compare the earliest dates they were made, it wasn't until
1993 or so that usable distributions of Linux became really popular
(ie. SLS & Slackware), which was the middle of the USL lawsuit, which
wasn't resolved until Feb 1994.  BSDi probably would have moved
forward quicker if not hampered by the USL lawsuit. 

Yes, things would have been quite different if the timing was any different.

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