Subject: Re: Optimal license for Java projects ...
From: David Johnson <>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 21:24:31 -0800

On Friday 14 March 2003 08:34 pm, Gunther Schadow wrote:

> David, I'm a loyal BSD disciple for over 10 years and I would never
> put anything BSD down. It's just the very history of BSD that its
> code was used and close in by most commercial UNIX systems, HPUX,
> SunOS, Ultrix, etc.

I'm trying to recall my history, but didn't those systems fork off the 
BSD code while it was still encumbered? At one time you had to have a 
license from AT&T before you could legally use BSD code.

IIRC correctly, the only proprietary fork of BSD after it became 
unencumbered was NeXT. It would be interesting to hear from Steve Jobs 
why he made NeXT closed but Darwin open. I suspect it was due to the 
pressure of trying to keep a closed fork in sync with a moving open 

> It's amazing how bad the shells still are on
> Solaris or HPUX systems even today compared to my FreeBSD sh. This
> whole mess has in the end contributed to BSD coming out second in
> the open source world behind Linux, and I am still suffering under
> that (the world is just unfair ;-)

Don't talk to me about proprietary shells! I have to maintain a bunch of 
dlsh scripts and for the life of me I can't find documentation on dlsh 
anywhere. The man page consists of nothing more than an advert on how 
wonderful a proprietary shell is.

Anyway, I would suggest that the reason for *BSD lagging behind Linux 
and GNU was the AT&T lawsuit. For a long time no one wanted to touch 
the code because it was in a legal limbo. By the time it got 
unencumbered, Linux was already integrated and working, while BSD still 
had six files to reimplement.

I would say the two big lessons learned from this whole mess are "never 
write an free extension to a proprietary system" and "don't touch 
shared source with a ten foot pole".

David Johnson
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