[crackmonkey] Nick's ideas taking hold
Seth David Schoen
schoen at uclink4.Berkeley.EDU
Sun Mar 7 18:56:44 PST 1999
Sounds just like what Nick discussed a few days ealier:
But there's another problem: Stallman wasn't the first.
Years before he or Eric Raymond ever hit on the idea of liberating
source code, the UNIX operating system was being developed at AT&T
Bell Laboratories. As a government-regulated monopoly, AT&T was barred
from competition in the computer industry. Though UNIX source code was
not then "free" in either the FSF or OSI sense, it could be licensed
at nominal cost.
Universities were among the first to take advantage. As a result, UNIX
ended up in the hands of hundreds of collaborating academic
programmers. In particular, the UNIX effort at the University of
California at Berkeley spawned a West Coast hacker culture to rival
Stallman's MIT cohort. Ultimately, the student programmers at Berkeley
created their own variation of the operating system so potent that it
became a major fork in the UNIX lineage -- the Berkeley Software
Distribution, or BSD.
It is difficult to overestimate the role of BSD UNIX in modern
computing. Not only did it beget many key features of all future
versions of UNIX, but it was also under the BSD flag that UNIX met the
Internet (though at the time it went by its more ancient name,
Arpanet). Much of the most common system software surrounding the
TCP/IP protocol was developed at UC Berkeley, and was introduced to
the world as part of BSD.
In the years since, BSD has enjoyed not only a substantial commercial
run, but has also found its way into a commerce-free distribution of
its own, one to rival Linux. Though not as popular or mediagenic as
Linux, FreeBSD can nevertheless be widely found on the machines of
hobbyists, ISPs, and major corporations alike.
So the shared source collaboration concept had received significant
validation long before Raymond or Stallman showed up on the field.
That would make AT&T the unlikely mother of the movement, having
quietly accomplished the feat with neither Stallman's righteous
rhetoric nor Raymond's theoretical grandstanding.
Seth David Schoen / schoen at uclink4.berkeley.edu
He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do." And they
said, "Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the
nations." (1 Sam 8) http://ishmael.geecs.org/~sigma/ http://www.loyalty.org/
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