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From: ichu...@wiltel.com (Igor Chudov)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,comp.os.386bsd.misc,comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 6 Feb 1995 22:45:07 GMT
Organization: WilTel
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Reply-To: igor_chu...@wiltel.com (Igor Chudov)
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Dear Friends,

Sorry if it is not for this newsgroup, but I did not find anything in the
FAQs or news. Please let me know if this post is not appropriate for this
newsgroup.

You know, it is too hard to live without Unix at home, so now I am trying
to make a major choice for my home PC based system. Do you have any
arguments about Linux vs. 386BSD?

Which one is easier to manage/port software to. Which one needs more memory?
Do you have an experience working with both?

I worked on ***xes quite a while, but all my sysadmin experience includes
three months of SCO Unix on my previous PC, and it was quite interesting
(especially when I removed /dev/null and tried to figure out what was wrong;)

Thank you.
--
IMHO,

	- Igor Chudov (igor_chu...@wiltel.com).

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From: pet...@telerama.lm.com (Peter Berger)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 19 Feb 1995 13:45:16 -0500
Organization: Telerama Public Access Internet, Pittsburgh, PA USA
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Here's a message I wrote re: Free vs. NetBSD some time ago.  Flames
to /dev/null.

On Wed, 8 Feb 1995, < someone> wrote:
> Which one to get? Free or Net? (I *know* this is religious, I'm asking
> your opinion since you've run news on it and that is what I intend to
> do.)

It's not really a religious issue.  There are real differences between 
the OS's.

Bottom line:  if the machine is only for use as a news server, and is not 
co-residing with another operating system, use NetBSD 1.0.

All my comments apply to NetBSD 1.0 and FreeBSD 2.0R.  I'm not up on the 
"current" releases and don't know much about them.  A lot of the below 
discussion is based on my personal opinion that the NetBSD 1.0 release 
was a true "release" in the sense that it seems fully functional, while 
the FreeBSD 2.0 isn't -- even the developers say "If you're looking for 
stability, wait for 2.1".   No slight is intended towards the developers 
of either product.  My opinions might be completely wrong, but they are 
mine. 

Some of my opinions below seem harsh, so let me make utterly clear:  I 
couldn't write an OS if you held a gun to my head.  I am literally in awe 
of the work done by -both- of these teams.  I don't expect them to fix 
what I perceive as problems just because I want them fixed.

FreeBSD Pros:
-------------
o	Better support (at this time) for commercial programs.
o	More precompiled user application binaries available.
o	Better documentation.
o	More active users, thus more Usenet/email support.
o	Supports more Intel hardware than NetBSD.
o	Nice and very easy installation program.
o	It's BSD.

FreeBSD Cons:
-------------
o	Many of the 4.4 features (particularly filesystems) not fully 
	implemented or not implemented at all yet.
o	Significantly slower at CPU intensive benchmarks (at least
	on my machines!).
o	(subjective opinion warning!) Less stable and more prone to 
	crashing than NetBSD 1.0.

NetBSD Pros:
------------
o	Excellent CPU performance.
o	Cool 4.4 filesystems (Union) implemented and apparently working.
o	Ported to other architectures.
o	"make bsd" will compile 99% of everything I've come across.
o	Very stable.
o	It's BSD.

NetBSD Cons:
------------
o	Actively hostile towards other OS's on the same disk.  The 
	installation program is a crawling horror from the sewers
	of hell.
o	Not many ported binaries (but so what?)
o	Supports less Intel hardware than FreeBSD.
 
So in summary, if I needed to share a disk with another operating system 
or run mostly application programs, I'd run FreeBSD and accept the loss 
in performance rather than deal with the complete and utter evil that 
is the NetBSD "let's seek out other partitions and fuck them up" 
install program.  If, on the other hand, I was running a single-OS 
machine, and just wanted to perform a traditional, well-understood task 
such as news (since INN supports all variants of BSD), I would run 
NetBSD, since it seems faster and more stable.

> Also, why BSDI now?

We're a commercial site, and need reliability and support.  BSD/OS is a 
rock.  It was worth every penny.  It is at least as efficient as both 
Free and NetBSD, and possibly more so (of course, the version we're using 
is BSD 4.3, not 4.4, so that's really comparing apples and oranges).


Hope this helps.
-- 
......................................................................
  Peter G. Berger, Esq.  Telerama Public Access Internet, Pittsburgh
Internet: pet...@telerama.lm.com Phone: 412/481-3505 Fax: 412/481-8568
	   	 	http://www.lm.com/~peterb

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From: l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com (Larry McVoy)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 20 Feb 1995 05:45:39 GMT
Organization: Silicon Graphics Inc., Mountain View, CA
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Peter Berger (pet...@telerama.lm.com) wrote:
: Bottom line:  if the machine is only for use as a news server, and is not 
: co-residing with another operating system, use NetBSD 1.0.

That part may be good advice but given the rest of this message< ireally
question it.

In general, I feel the comments below are completely out of touch with
reality.  Some points to consider (and while you are reading this please
note that I was a died in the wool BSD bigot; I was one of the kernel 
hackers at Sun during the SunOS 4.x (the last BSD based SunOS) days.
I loved that OS.)

	. Linux CD ROMS are shipping at a rate of 40,000 / month.  Compare 
	  that to BSD (probably 2 orders of magnitude difference).

	. Linux had binary support for SCO applications long before *BSD.

	. There are more device drivers available for Linux and they tend
	  to work better.

	. There are *far* more precompiled applications for Linux than for
	  *BSD.  Take a look at the InfoMagic CD that includes the sunsite
	  archives.  Everything you ever wanted in source and binary form.
	
	. Given the volumes, there will be more commercial applications
	  for Linux than for BSD.

	. Linux is covered by the GNU copyleft.  Users that have been 
	  bitten by braindead management decisions (such as Sun and DEC
	  users) may appreciate an OS that is truly open.  *BSD most
	  certainly are not.  Even the original BSD crowd, now at BSDI,
	  are not shipping all their source.
	
	. DEC is paying DEC engineers to provide Linux for the DEC Alpha.

	. Novell's former CEO, Ray Noorda, just spun off a company to do
	  Linux.  
	
	. I'm working on getting SGI into Linux for research purposes.

OK, all that said, I will freely admit taht the "unix stuff" in Linux,
i.e., the generic unix facilities, are occasionally woefully inadequate.
For example, the run queue doesn't even exist in Linux, it's a flag in
the per process structure.

On the other hand, as these things become known (and, more importantly,
become a real problem - the run queue thing isn't an issue for your
average workstation but is for a internet server provider), they get
fixed.  I'm constantly amazed at the rate at which things get addressed
in Linux.

Finally, a bit of salt to add to my words.  I still feel very burned by
Sun's idiotic decision to dump BSD.  Even though the *BSD systems are
closer to SunOS than Linux, I use Linux (and help fix Linux) because it
is copylefted.  That means I am *guarenteed* that the code stays free,
that idiotic management and lawyers can not ever lock it up for
misguided business reasons.  I'd rather take the hit backwards (in a
few areas, very few) with Linux and be assured that if any/all of these
systems become commercially successful, the one I'm working on will
really be open, where open means anyone can get the source for free (or
the cost of a CD, which is as good as free, in fact it's better than
FTP by a long shot).
--
---
Larry McVoy			(415) 390-1804			 l...@sgi.com

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From: j...@violet.berkeley.edu (Jordan K. Hubbard)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 20 Feb 1995 15:55:21 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley
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References: <3i7ar8$ahv@marton.hsr.no> <3i83js$avl@ivory.lm.com> 
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In article <3i9aa3$...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,
Larry McVoy < l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
>reality.  Some points to consider (and while you are reading this please
>note that I was a died in the wool BSD bigot; I was one of the kernel 
>hackers at Sun during the SunOS 4.x (the last BSD based SunOS) days.
>I loved that OS.)
> [Linux points deleted]

Well, I gotta say - if it were anybody but Larry making these comments
then I probably wouldn't even reply, but I feel compelled to correct
what I feel are some overly simplistic generalizations contained
herein.

Oh yes, let me also first add the disclaimer that although I'm deeply
involved with FreeBSD, I also highly respect what Linux has accomplished and
consider Linus a friend.  He and his band of merry men have pulled off a
real coup, and they deserve some serious kudos for it.  Nonetheless, let's
not give credit (or take it away from BSD) where it's not really due.

>	. Given the volumes, there will be more commercial applications
>	  for Linux than for BSD.

I'm not so sure of that.  Now?  Maybe.  However, in the long run
a number of companies will be a lot more eager to play footsie with the
BSD folks than I think were initially prepared to do so with Linux.

For one thing, BSD is generally an easier port.  Sure, Linux has a lot of
great POSIX features, but BSD in all of its incarnations formed the mainstay
of commercial Unix platforms for a *long time*.  There's a lot of SunOS
code out there..

There's also our friend the GPL, which despite further clarifications with
the GLPL and what to do about linking with GPL'd libraries or tools, does
scare a lot of companies.  The legal pitfalls lying in wait for your average
software developer are enough of a challenge without adding things like
the GPL to the pot.  Don't get me wrong, for many years I was a great
champion of the GPL and even released a fair amount of my own work under
it (xinfo, awl, xtrlib, etc..) but I've come to see in recent years that
it's created new restrictions of its own.  More on that later.

>	. Linux is covered by the GNU copyleft.  Users that have been 
>	  bitten by braindead management decisions (such as Sun and DEC
>	  users) may appreciate an OS that is truly open.  *BSD most
>	  certainly are not.  Even the original BSD crowd, now at BSDI,
>	  are not shipping all their source.

That is, quite frankly, an utterly ridiculous argument.  To paraphrase
Forest Gump, "Open is as Open does."  *BSD most certainly ARE open, thank
you very much, and they have every intention of staying this way.  Do you
see any source code missing from FreeBSD or NetBSD?  Do you see any way
of denying source code to anyone who wants it now that Novell has stood
down with their lawsuit in the post-4.4 era?  So let's say some company
in Moosefart, Wisconsin decides to form "GreedBSD, Inc." and turns totally
commercial with it.  So what?  The other *BSD groups go on churning out their
product and nobody needs to know or even care that GreedBSD even exists.
 "Oh!" you say - "Wait a minute!  But what if GreedBSD develops the Wonder Hack
and then refuses to give it to us!"  Well, again, I say "so what?"
Do you think they'd have developed it at all if they didn't have a vested
interest?  What's the difference between GreedBSD forming and creating the
hack and GreedBSD being scared away by the GPL and never forming to do the
hack in the first place?  Either way, there's no hack available and at least
in the former case you've got an EXAMPLE for others to follow if they want
to do their own free implementations of it.

In fact, I would argue that I'd much rather have a couple of GreedBSD
companies around than none at all.  They all know which side their bread
is buttered on, and if they're getting all their base technology from us
then it's only in their best interest to work with us on folding their
bug fixes in.  This gives me the equivalent of a couple of paid FreeBSD
programmers working in those companies and I'm certainly not going to
kick 'em out of bed for eating salt crackers!

Finally, if it's any consolation, The FreeBSD Project is now incorporating
as a non-profit organization strictly so that the overall direction of
the project remains in nice, altruistic and unimpeachable hands.  It continues
its mission of providing an Open System, as you liked to call it (though
I have grown to hate that phrase and would just like to remind everyone that
Larry used it first! :-), and with the framework necessary to ensure that
there's some actual future for it.

>	. DEC is paying DEC engineers to provide Linux for the DEC Alpha.

Um, actually, that's a skunk-works project and you know it, Larry!
I've got people working on FreeBSD inside of Sun, for that matter,
but I don't presume to say that Sun is now officially lining up behind
the project.  The same goes for many other large companies that suffer
the presence of a few maverick groups internally going off in their own
directions on something.  It doesn't mean that Palmer is going to be
announcing the death of OSF/1 and the birth of Linux as DEC's new
official OS, now does it.

>	. Novell's former CEO, Ray Noorda, just spun off a company to do
>	  Linux.  

Yeah yeah..  Let's just see where it goes, OK?  And if what comes out
of the project ends up looking anything like Linux, for that matter.

>On the other hand, as these things become known (and, more importantly,
>become a real problem - the run queue thing isn't an issue for your
>average workstation but is for a internet server provider), they get
>fixed.  I'm constantly amazed at the rate at which things get addressed
>in Linux.

As am I.  But allow me to indulge in a little bit of doomsaying here
at the possible risk of pissing off Linus if he's reading this.  I think
he sort of knows this already..

As Linux gets larger, its guerrilla development strategy will begin to
work in subtle (and probably not-so-subtle) ways against it, hindering
its progress and causing a credibility gap to widen in certain circles.

A lack of central organization is no big deal during the forming and storming
stages (to quote Crosby), and you get lots of great ideas as a result of
the pot boiling merrily away with lots of different competing groups
(and believe you me, they DO compete!) all rolling out their own flavors
of Linux-du-jour.  But as the initial glow fades and people start putting
down their tools for a moment to rest and reflect on just what they're doing,
it becomes less cute of a situation to deal with.  Where do you contribute
infrastructure changes?  Whom do you even argue them with?  Patrick Volkerding
and his merry Slackware crew?  Adam Richter at Yggdrasil?  Wait, he's
commercial, right?  What about those Debian folks - are they still around?
Who are these "bogus" people?  Can I talk Matt Welsh into championing my
cause?  I can't just talk it over with Linus, he only deals with the kernel
and besides he's way too busy anyway!

Sure, you probably have fair answers to all those questions since you've
been in the thick of it for so long, but how does Joe Average figure all
this out?  Or the company that really wants to commit to Linux but just
isn't having much luck figuring out exactly what that MEANS?  Just WHO do they
support?  How long can those people be counted on to be around?  Are they tax
deductible?  What happens if they die in a fatal juggling accident - does
the company need to then start over with an entirely different group?

These are the kinds of problems that will become increasingly irksome
as Linux becomes more successful, to say nothing about bug tracking and
source control.  The *BSD people take the use of tools like CVS and GNATS
almost completely for granted when it comes to creating the kind of
infrastructure necessary to REALLY support a customer base, but the
Linux people take an almost perverse pride in NOT using such things and I
think that this can only come back to bite them hard on a sensitive part
of the anatomy.

When I attended the Linux symposium in Amsterdam last November, I
remember sitting with folks like Patrick and Matt and talking about
how to solve certain problems like generating slipstream releases
for important strategic partners.  I mentioned that we in the FreeBSD
group would simply do something like check out a source at the last major
release date, bring the changes we wanted from some later dated back
into it, and then do a `make release' from the top to roll a complete
distribution with just those fixes in it.  They looked at me owl-eyed
and sort of shook their heads.  When I pressed them, it came out that
they accomplished the same thing by just pulling down a complete dist
off the net someplace and then scouting around for the various patch files
and then going through and trying to identify those bits of the patch files
that were relevant.  Talk about labor intensive!  When I laughed and
said that they were a bunch of crazy cowboys, I could tell that they were
actually somewhat pleased by the description.

I think that pretty much sums it all up right there!


P.S.  Larry, there's one crucial difference between us and Sun dropping
SunOS.  Sun never released the source code to SunOS to each and every
customer.  If they had, I can assure you that things would have turned
out quite a bit differently!  The users would have enhanced it 8 ways
to Sunday and Solaris would have been greeted by general laughter, SunOS
no doubt already ported and running on Sun's newest hardware by its
users before Sun even _began_ to work the bugs out of their own product.
So run into the arms of the GPL if you must, but not for that reason.
With *BSD, the genie is already out of the bottle and no number of
short-sighted or small-minded marketdroids are ever going to manage to
stuff it back in again.

					Jordan

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From: l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com (Larry McVoy)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 20 Feb 1995 17:51:27 GMT
Organization: Silicon Graphics Inc., Mountain View, CA
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Hi-
	yet another mine is better debate, huh :-)   I'll try and be nice,
there aren't any winners in this sort of debate.  But I think there are
some points to be made, so here goes:


Jordan K. Hubbard (j...@violet.berkeley.edu) wrote:
: For one thing, BSD is generally an easier port.  Sure, Linux has a lot of
: great POSIX features, but BSD in all of its incarnations formed the mainstay
: of commercial Unix platforms for a *long time*.  There's a lot of SunOS
: code out there..

I used to believe this, and it is still true to some extent.  However,
I follow the .sources groups as sort of a predictor of where things are
heading.  If you look at the Makefiles coming across the groups, the
default setup is a good indicator of what people are using.  And by my
very unscientific reckoning, Linux has taken over from SunOS.  Something
to check out.

: There's also our friend the GPL, which despite further clarifications with
: the GLPL and what to do about linking with GPL'd libraries or tools, does
: scare a lot of companies.  The legal pitfalls lying in wait for your average
: software developer are enough of a challenge without adding things like
: the GPL to the pot.  Don't get me wrong, for many years I was a great
: champion of the GPL and even released a fair amount of my own work under
: it (xinfo, awl, xtrlib, etc..) but I've come to see in recent years that
: it's created new restrictions of its own.  More on that later.

: >	. Linux is covered by the GNU copyleft.  Users that have been 
: >	  bitten by braindead management decisions (such as Sun and DEC
: >	  users) may appreciate an OS that is truly open.  *BSD most
: >	  certainly are not.  Even the original BSD crowd, now at BSDI,
: >	  are not shipping all their source.

: That is, quite frankly, an utterly ridiculous argument.  To paraphrase
: Forest Gump, "Open is as Open does."  *BSD most certainly ARE open, thank
: you very much, and they have every intention of staying this way.  Do you
: see any source code missing from FreeBSD or NetBSD?  

The NetBSD and FreeBSD efforts are certainly currently free source.  The BSDI
effort is absolutely not free source, in fact, you can't get it all or if
you do, you can't redistribute it.

The NetBSD and FreeBSD efforts do not have a company providing commercial
support; that makes them not a good choice for businesses.  

My point is, Jordan, that as long as good people like you have control,
things are fine.  Sun was started with a bunch of great hackers, just
like yourself, that had a vision and executed it.  Then idiots like
McNealy and Zander came to power, and he and his MBA coherts started
making bad choices.  There were people (me, for example) that felt
that we should give the old code away, make it "open", and I worked full
time for 4 months to try and make that happen.  No go.  Not open.
Nothing that a bunch of good guys, like the engineers, can do about
it when the MBAs get control.

The GPL is an ace in the hole against the MBAs.  You may not see it
now, but in a few years, when BSDI or some other company is having
success supporting some BSD, you will start to see my point as you try
and get the source for some changes and they don't give it to you.


: In fact, I would argue that I'd much rather have a couple of GreedBSD
: companies around than none at all.  They all know which side their bread
: is buttered on, and if they're getting all their base technology from us
: then it's only in their best interest to work with us on folding their
: bug fixes in.  This gives me the equivalent of a couple of paid FreeBSD
: programmers working in those companies and I'm certainly not going to
: kick 'em out of bed for eating salt crackers!

I'd rather have some GreedLinux companies around - I can inist that
they ship source, they have no choice.  The GreedBSD model assumes that
the guys in charge are now, and will remain, good guys.  Bad
assumption, money screws up people's morals.  Some people, like MBAs.

: Finally, if it's any consolation, The FreeBSD Project is now incorporating
: as a non-profit organization strictly so that the overall direction of
: the project remains in nice, altruistic and unimpeachable hands.  It continues
: its mission of providing an Open System, as you liked to call it (though
: I have grown to hate that phrase and would just like to remind everyone that
: Larry used it first! :-), and with the framework necessary to ensure that
: there's some actual future for it.

That's very cool.  I like that a lot.  Get BSDI to join in and you are 
going somewhere.

: Sure, you probably have fair answers to all those questions since you've
: been in the thick of it for so long, but how does Joe Average figure all
: this out?  Or the company that really wants to commit to Linux but just
: isn't having much luck figuring out exactly what that MEANS?  Just WHO do they
: support?  How long can those people be counted on to be around?  Are they tax
: deductible?  What happens if they die in a fatal juggling accident - does
: the company need to then start over with an entirely different group?

I think you have a good point.  Linux is ripe for some funded startup 
to come in and provide the stable sort of environment that you describe
as missing.  I absolutely agree with you that it is necessary in order
for Linux to be commercially successful.  We'll see if Noorda's effort 
cuts the mustard.

: P.S.  Larry, there's one crucial difference between us and Sun dropping
: SunOS.  Sun never released the source code to SunOS to each and every
: customer.  If they had, I can assure you that things would have turned
: out quite a bit differently!  The users would have enhanced it 8 ways
: to Sunday and Solaris would have been greeted by general laughter, SunOS
: no doubt already ported and running on Sun's newest hardware by its
: users before Sun even _began_ to work the bugs out of their own product.
: So run into the arms of the GPL if you must, but not for that reason.

They never released the code because it had, and to this day, still has
value.  They still generate a significant portion of their software
revenues off of SunOS 4.x.  I agree that things would be different if
they released the code.  I also claim that as code has value, the MBAs
will refuse to let it out the door - they want to milk it until they
kill it.  I'm running to the arms of the GPL (nice, that) precisely
because of the SunOS debacle.  If SunOS had been GPLed, *BSD wouldn't
exist, you guys would be having fun hacking SunOS (as would I), and the
customers would be happy.

Really, Jordan, how do you counter the claim that if *BSD ever becomes
commerically viable, and hence valuable, then I claim the company that
is supporting it will lock it up.  Just like BSDI.  Explain a way around
that problem that is iron clad, and I'm a BSD bigot again :-)  Not that
you would want me :-)
--
---
Larry McVoy			(415) 390-1804			 l...@sgi.com

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From: j...@violet.berkeley.edu (Jordan K. Hubbard)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 21 Feb 1995 10:40:31 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley
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In article <3iakqv$...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,
Larry McVoy < l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
>	yet another mine is better debate, huh :-)   I'll try and be nice,
>there aren't any winners in this sort of debate.  But I think there are
>some points to be made, so here goes:

Sorry, I really didn't intend it as such.  In fact, the Linux comments
were an afterthought and probably should have been left out as they
only distracted from the real thrust of my argument.  Oh well, we move on..

>The NetBSD and FreeBSD efforts are certainly currently free source.  The BSDI
>effort is absolutely not free source, in fact, you can't get it all or if
>you do, you can't redistribute it.

Ah yes, well, I really only talking about the current batch of free OS
alternatives.  BSDI never set out to create a free OS as Linux, FreeBSD
and NetBSD did, so it's sort of apples and oranges to cite them as examples
of "what happens when the good go commercial."  In fact, I've always regarded
BSDI's principle contribution as support and a committment to stability.
Nothing that the GPL or BSD copyrights have much effect over, really, and
actually a very good example of how the technology can be almost entirely
removed as the principle commercial component.  BSDI's customers aren't
paying for the most advanced, cutting edge technology money can buy, they're
paying for simple, mundane "do the job day after day" technology and all the
support and documentation that actually makes it USABLE to them.

So unless the FSF becomes the "Free Support Foundation", I can't see them
as having that large an impact on the issues that are really coming up in
our faces these days.  The technology is the easy part now, and I think your
unfortunate SunOS experiences may have colored your thinking just a bit.
I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe that if SunOS were released
in source form today, it would be a matter of great rejoicing amongst
the hacker community but of comparative insignificance to the majority of
its current customers.  Why?  Because they have no real reason to care.
Sure, some astute business types might see a market opportunity in taking
that technology and forming ANOTHER company to create some variant of it,
but to the end-user the bottom line would still be "Who do I give my money
to and how much support do I get for it?"  

>The NetBSD and FreeBSD efforts do not have a company providing commercial
>support; that makes them not a good choice for businesses.  

Not YET, no.. :-)

>My point is, Jordan, that as long as good people like you have control,
>things are fine.  Sun was started with a bunch of great hackers, just
>like yourself, that had a vision and executed it.  Then idiots like
>McNealy and Zander came to power, and he and his MBA coherts started
>making bad choices.  There were people (me, for example) that felt
>that we should give the old code away, make it "open", and I worked full
>time for 4 months to try and make that happen.  No go.  Not open.
>Nothing that a bunch of good guys, like the engineers, can do about
>it when the MBAs get control.

I do understand this, but I'm also firmly of the opinion that Operating
Systems will become largely irrelevant in the next 5 years!  The likes
of McNealy and Zander can make all the policy statements they like, but
they'll be about as effective as the captian of the Titanic shouting
rudder orders as the ship goes down.  Who *cares* about operating systems?
Dweebs like us, sure, but when the base technology has reached a certain
baseline of functionality then more and more of what's important will
start moving into the realm of 3rd party applications (along with even such
"core" OS features as add-on filesystems and drivers).  In fact, if you look
at the evolution of operating systems in general, you'll see a pattern
something like this:

50's-60's:  Operating system provided by hardware vendor.  Locked down.

70's: Operating systems begin to be provided by people who have nothing
      to do with hardware at all (CP/M, DOS, etc).

80's: Operating systems start to become interchangable and begin swapping
      standard components.  People start talking about getting rich with
      killer apps rather than killer machine/OS environments.

90's: Applications hold sway.  OS starts becoming a thin and often laughably
      featureless program launcher (Windows).

late-90's (prediction):  Some backlash from Windows occurs, but OSs never
regain their former preeminence.  A more stable marriage between between
better OS technology and less OS-specific applications layer stuff results.

So the point is that yes, there used to be wolves in the forest and yes, they
occasionally ate OS people like yourself, but they've all since moved on to
bigger game.  There's really no need to worry about a pack of MBAs decending
on FreeBSD and trying to make millions from it - the pickings just ain't that
rich!  They know that their time is much better spent trying to write the next
equivalent of "Quicken" and selling it to Microsoft for gajillions of dollars.

>The GPL is an ace in the hole against the MBAs.  You may not see it
>now, but in a few years, when BSDI or some other company is having
>success supporting some BSD, you will start to see my point as you try
>and get the source for some changes and they don't give it to you.

Actually, I would almost kind of hope that in a few years the likes of us
will be almost completely marginalized!  Like I said before, who *cares*
about operating systems except for other OS geeks?  In 5 years you'll
have your 100mb/sec interactive cable tee-vee hookup providing you
with all kinds of keeno services and you won't even know or care what's
really underneath (well, OK, YOU will but Joe Average won't! :-).  All that
will come to matter is the content you're being provided, and the people
providing that content will be the ones getting rich.

Think of the movie industry - where's the real money:  For the company
that produces the commercial film stock or for those folks that shoot
movies like "Terminator 2" onto it?  I'll give you 3 guesses.. :-) :-)

>the guys in charge are now, and will remain, good guys.  Bad
>assumption, money screws up people's morals.  Some people, like MBAs.

Sir Lancelot:  "No, no!  I need my morals tested!  Let me stay!  I'll
fight them off!  Really!"  :-)

Again, I just really don't see that happening (drat!).  Our morals just ain't
worth enough these days!  I talked to Linus a bit about this, as he's
probably the one individual who has danced more with the devil (Novell) than
any of us has even been given the chance to, and I didn't get the feeling that
he was being offering money in sacks.  Linus got a couple of nice ski
vacations in Utah out of it, and a couple of nice machines to play with,
but I don't see him riding around in a limo any time soon because of Linux.

I think your bitter experience with SunOS has left you with some fears that
are about 5 years out of date.  I'm not saying that they're invalid, simply
dated.

>That's very cool.  I like that a lot.  Get BSDI to join in and you are 
>going somewhere.

While this certainly sounds good in principle, I'm not sure what they would
be ``joining''.  Our technology has always been open for the taking, but then
it's not our technology that they really need.  They need more and more
aggressive marketing, strategic commercial partnerships, more native
applications, all the things that they can really only get for themselves
and has very little to do with us (though we'll happily buy and run those
native apps! :-).

>Really, Jordan, how do you counter the claim that if *BSD ever becomes
>commerically viable, and hence valuable, then I claim the company that
>is supporting it will lock it up.  Just like BSDI.  Explain a way around

Easy:  Because they can't.  FreeBSD has been released in source code
form for almost 2 years now, and is mirrored in at least 14 different
countries.  This was never the case before with any commercial OS (still
existing, anyway) that I can think of.

So the MBAs can make any pronouncements they like, but how are they going to
enforce them?  The users are always empowered to band together and do their
OWN versions that are, in all likelyhood, even better than the commercial
offerings (if only to spite them! :-).  

In time, if the MBAs have any brains at all, they'll make some sort of
peace agreement with the free community and work out some sort of exchange
of ideas that enriches both sides - it would be the profitable thing to do!

That was my original point against the GPL - it precludes even this from
happening, and sometimes market forces can create GOOD as well as evil.
Since we've already got the source code out there and the Evil Ones can
only slam the barn door long after the horses have escaped, then we've
only left the door open for future creative partnerships.  The world
of commerce and the world of free software CAN work in concert, just so
long as both sides are willing to handle it with finesse.  It's certainly
my goal to do so, both now and in the future.

>that problem that is iron clad, and I'm a BSD bigot again :-)  Not that
>you would want me :-)

Oh yes, you also give yourself far too little credit.  I'd take you
in a hot minute! :-)

					Jordan

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From: l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com (Larry McVoy)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 21 Feb 1995 23:36:36 GMT
Organization: Silicon Graphics Inc., Mountain View, CA
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: >Really, Jordan, how do you counter the claim that if *BSD ever becomes
: >commerically viable, and hence valuable, then I claim the company that
: >is supporting it will lock it up.  Just like BSDI.  Explain a way around

: Easy:  Because they can't.  FreeBSD has been released in source code
: form for almost 2 years now, and is mirrored in at least 14 different
: countries.  This was never the case before with any commercial OS (still
: existing, anyway) that I can think of.

I think you either missed the point or are avoiding the question.  I
could care less about FreeBSD, Linux, NetBSD, etc., etc., until one of
them becomes a supported OS.  All of this effort into free operating systems
is great fun for the hackers, but is useless for anyone else.  The rest of
the world wants something with an 800 number to call for support.

Point #1: any OS that does not commercial support isn't
interesting to me.  If you don't want DhFreeBSD to be included as a
candidate for commercial supprt, then I could care less how good or bad
it is.

Point #2: any OS that gets commercial support will be perceived, by the
MBAs that work at the company providing that support, it will be perceived
as having intrinsic value.

Point #3: the value that a supported OS has is in the people that work
on it and keep it working.  The code itslef is of little value and
grows stale within months of it being abandonded by its caretakers (or
days in Linux' case :-)

Point #4: I want to work for a company that does the best job of providing
a commercially support OS and I want that OS to be copyrighted in such a
way that the company can never lock it up - they have to "own" it by
"owning" the people that know the rules of caring and feeding the OS.

So, I think my position is that the free software efforts, while fun,
don't pay the bills.  The Linux effort is looking like the best bet for
a basis for a system that a company wouyld want to have a go at
supporting and, if that company is successful, the copyleft will
prevent idiotic decisions that throw away good technology and replace
it with bad.

If you just want to play on the side, while some other company or university
pays you to ostensibly do something else, that's fine but it is an uncertain
future.  I want to be working on "free", or better put, source code based
software that is truly open - the company doesn't own it.

: In time, if the MBAs have any brains at all, they'll make some sort of
: peace agreement with the free community and work out some sort of exchange
: of ideas that enriches both sides - it would be the profitable thing to do!

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan.  You think that would happen if there wasn't a big
copyleft stick to force them to do it?  Bzzzt, thank you for playing, next
contestent.  :-)  Really, it doesn't work that way.

: That was my original point against the GPL - it precludes even this from
: happening, and sometimes market forces can create GOOD as well as evil.
: Since we've already got the source code out there and the Evil Ones can
: only slam the barn door long after the horses have escaped, then we've
: only left the door open for future creative partnerships.  The world
: of commerce and the world of free software CAN work in concert, just so
: long as both sides are willing to handle it with finesse.  It's certainly
: my goal to do so, both now and in the future.

This is just plain naive.  Look at BSDI - as nice bunch of guys as you could
get working on an OS.  And it is already locked up and they aren't even 
successful yet.

The horses have *NOT* escaped.   The horses are constantly changing in a 
supported OS.  The only horses that have escaped are untamed, unridable,
useless animals.  Great potential, wonderful horses, but noone is going
to try and ride that thing.  It needs to be broken first.  And breaking 
it costs time and money.  I'm trying to make sure that you can still
take a ride after the horse is broken.  You don't seem to understand 
that there is a difference, you seem to like riding unbroken horses.
Fine but that's not where I want to be.  It hurts my butt too much :-)
-
--
---
Larry McVoy			(415) 390-1804			 l...@sgi.com

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From: j...@violet.berkeley.edu (Jordan K. Hubbard)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Date: 22 Feb 1995 00:51:37 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley
Lines: 55
Message-ID: <3ie1qp$5ro@agate.berkeley.edu>
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NNTP-Posting-Host: violet.berkeley.edu

In article <3idte4$...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,
Larry McVoy < l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
>I think you either missed the point or are avoiding the question.  I
>could care less about FreeBSD, Linux, NetBSD, etc., etc., until one of
>them becomes a supported OS.  All of this effort into free operating systems

Sigh.  And I feel like I could say the same for you..  I'm perfectly aware
of this, yet you in turn chose to ignore my points concerning whether or
not it was the TECHNOLOGY or the SUPPORT people are really paying for!
If it's support, as you seem to share my opinion as being of highest
importance, then where's the incentive in "locking it up?"  Eh??
You can't bottle support and store it in a vault, thus your most saleable
commodity is completely unaffected by copyright.  Why are you so completely
unable to see this?

>Point #1: any OS that does not commercial support isn't
>interesting to me.  If you don't want DhFreeBSD to be included as a
>candidate for commercial supprt, then I could care less how good or bad
>it is.

This is an entirely tangental to our argument, but since you brought it up
just let me say that I have every reason to expect (and hope) that
the FreeBSD Project, Inc will spawn off a commercial arm at the right time
to provide exactly that.  And repeat after me:  The FreeBSD commercial
entity will have VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH THE TECHNOLOGY.  To be sure, it
will fix the bugs its customers pay it to fix and even occasionally add
functionality that its customers want, but the main thrust of all
development and the real "home" of FreeBSD will remain The FreeBSD Project,
Inc.  the non-profit organization whos only goal is to further the overall
development of FreeBSD.  It will survive off of donations, a certain portion
of which will come from FreeBSD Support, Inc.  Or whatever it's called.
The FreeBSD support organization will bring the general credibility FreeBSD
needs for long term success, and the FreeBSD project will enable the
support org to remain "light weight" - it can keeps its costs down by not
having to hire a whole troop of programmers to maintain the system - that's
already being done, right?

And lest you think this is all very naive, as you seem to think it is,
let me point to a few working examples:  Cygnus, the ISODE consortium, 
even some projects like BIND which Paul Vixie is paid to write but is
distributed for free.  There are plenty of happy marriages between
commercial organizations and free ones, and just because you had one messy
divorce in your past is no reason to pass black judgement on all of them!


>Jordan, Jordan, Jordan.  You think that would happen if there wasn't a big
>copyleft stick to force them to do it?  Bzzzt, thank you for playing, next
>contestent.  :-)  Really, it doesn't work that way.

Sorry, but it has and it does and if I have my way about it most certainly
will for me in the future.  You can live by a much more cynical set of rules
if it makes you happy, but I am going to prove you completely and utterly
wrong.  And that's a promise!

					Jordan

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From: l...@slovax.engr.sgi.com (Larry McVoy)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: Linux vs. BSD?!
Message-ID: <3ig9dn$kkb@fido.asd.sgi.com>
Date: 22 Feb 95 21:13:27 GMT
References: <3i7ar8$ahv@marton.hsr.no> <3iakqv$aj5@fido.asd.sgi.com> 
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This is a pointless debate; I shouldn't have started it but I can end
it.  Jordan, I wish you all the best and I hope that you & FreeBSD
succeed.  Having played hardball with the big boys, I am, as you
pointed out, more cynical, so I throw my support behind the system that
can't be screwed over by the suits.  It doesn't mean we can't be friends
and it doesn't mean that we have to argue.  Go hack, I will too.

Peace,

--lm

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