Here is Chapter 10 of Peter Salus' serialized book, "The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin," a History of Free and Open Source, which he is publishing in installments on Groklaw under the Creative Commons license, 2.0, attribution, noncommercial, noderivatives. Here are the earlier chapters of The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin:
I thought you might care to know that Dr. Salus will be
the guest speaker on June 1st, 2005 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, at the next meeting of the Hamilton Linux User Group (HLUG). So any of you in that area have an opportunity to meet him in person.
Dr. Salus has expressed an interest in meeting everyone for dinner before the meeting from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
They need to know how many people are coming beforehand to the dinner portion, so if you plan on attending, please e-mail them at harwoodj at linux.ca before May 30th.
PLEASE NOTE: The actual meeting will start at approximately 8:30pm.
Some links for more information:
Greater Toronto Area Linux Users Group.
The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin
~ by Peter H. Salus
Chapter 10. SUN and gcc
The company we think of as Sun Microsystems began with Andreas
Bechtolsheim and some other graduate students at Stanford
emulating Motorola's 68000 CPU cheaply. Stanford licensed a
single board: the Stanford University Network board -- SUN.
Soon companies began licensing the board: Codata, Fortune,
Dual, Cyb, Lucasfilm, and others. Machines began appearing.
Each was "just another workstation" -- JAWS.
The first UNIX workstation had been the Z8000 ONYX, hardly a
VAX on a chip. John Bass demo-ed it at the USENIX Conference
in Boulder, CO, 29 January to 1 February 1980.
The system we took to Boulder was on three boards about 15 by 22 inches
[Bass told me]. Its performance and architecture was more like a
PDP-11/45 or 11/70 ... segmented memory, no paging. ... That aside,
the ONYX was the first table-top system designed to run UNIX. With
eight serial ports [users] and at under $25k, it made a great short-term
alternative to PDP-11 UNIX systems.
But then came those JAWS -- some of them at under $10k. And all of
them ran AT&T's System III or 4.1BSD.
System III was AT&T's commercial variety of V7. Though its official
release date was 31 October 1981, it reached some of the purchasers
earlier and the general public in 1982.
issued 4BSD in October 1980. It included a faster file
system, job control, auto reboot, delivermail (soon to be renamed
sendmail), and Franz Lisp. In June 1981, 4.1BSD, which had
autoconfiguration and some minor improvements, was issued. Just
why it was 4.1 (leading to 4.1a, 4.1b, 4.1c, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4) is
another of the silly consequences that licensing restrictions forced
Bill Joy made a 10-day visit to DEC in early 1981, working with
Armando Stettner (who had gone to DEC from Bell Labs as "a sort of
UNIX ambassador") on porting 4BSD to the VAX.
We made a dump tape [Armando told me] and Bill packed up and
went back to California. [Bill] Shannon and I took the disk
pack and brought it up on decvax -- a 780, our main system. Bill
Joy called a couple of days later and said, "Hey, there's going
to be a lot of hassle with the license if we do another release.
So why don't we call it 4.1BSD?"
4.1a, 4.1b, and 4.1c were all "test releases." 4.1a included
TCP/IP and the socket interface and was sent to a number of
ARPANET sites. 4.1b included the new "fast file system" and new
networking code. It was only used on the Berkeley campus once,
in a graduate OS class. 4.1c was almost 4.2BSD, lacking only
the new signal facility. It was sent to about 100 sites.
System III was distributed by AT&T without source. It was the
first version of UNIX to be issued that way. But those customers
who were unhappy merely obtained V7 from Western Electric or used
the Berkeley editions...which came with source.
The June 1982 issue of ;login: (the newsletter of the
USENIX Association) carried an article headlined:
Bill Joy of UCB moving to Sun Microsystems
Bill took a tape of 4.1cBSD with him. It became the basis for
SunOS.2 4.2BSD became DEC's Ultrix.
For half-a-dozen years, improvements in BSD were incorporated into
subsequent versions of SunOS. But in 1988 AT&T announced a major
investment in Sun Microsystems and thereby startled the UNIX community.
(Ostensibly, the purpose was to merge the AT&T and Berkeley strains of
UNIX. Most saw a far darker purpose.) I'll return to this in the
next chapter (11).
The GNU C Compiler (gcc) was Richard Stallman's first free software
"hit." There were many C compilers available (at least four or five
of them written by Whitesmiths, P.J. Plauger's software company3,
but they were all proprietary. Stallman's was unencumbered -- and it
worked well. (gcc now stands for GNU Compiler Collection, and
comprises compilers for C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, Java, and Ada, and
a large number of libraries; a two-CD set still costs only $45.)
Remember, the USENIX community had been issuing free distribution
tapes for a decade, and Rich Morin, one of the founders of the Sun
User Group, had emulated this practice. When Stallman's compiler
came out in 1987, Morin recognized that the hassles he had
encountered in getting permissions from contributors were resolved
by the GPL. And he recognized that the GPL made what he was engaged
in a possible business. Morin's "service" became Prime Time Freeware.
In 1990 I became Executive Director of the Sun User Group. That
December I headed for San Jose for SUG's Eighth Annual Conference
and Exhibit. It was a very tense meeting. In the first few hours
I was at the hotel and the Convention Center, I became aware of the
fact that there were two separate (though overlapping) sets of
One of these was made up of those who had bought a Sun 386i, Sun's
sole venture into the Intel world. Though it was a business failure,
the decision to end support for the machine was not greeted with
huzzahs. (At the "Meet the Executives" session, Ed Zander explained
that Sun wasn't "abandoning" the users and that an external firm would
support the 386i for (as I recall it) "up to five years." The
faithful were not appeased.
The second group was irate because Sun had "unbundled" its software.
That is, rather than getting all of Sun's developer tools together, they
had to be purchased separately. And of course, they cost more this way.
But wait. Why purchase the C compiler from Sun, when you could get a
better one for less money from the FSF? That's what a large number
of Sun's users asked themselves. And the net result was a real jump
in CD sales at the FSF. (Several years later, when I organized the
Freely Redistributable Software Conference [February 1996] and then
was Vice President of the FSF, I realized more fully just how much
Sun had benefited the FSF. I'm certain this was not a foreseen
The GNU C compiler was not the first piece of freely redistributable
software, but it was the first widely circulated product of Stallman's
1 I owe most of the BSD version chronology to Keith Bostic.
2 Sun was always a UNIX company, but the Sun-1 ran on
my interview with Plauger, Quarter Century of UNIX, pp. 174-176.
Dr. Salus is the author of "A Quarter Century of UNIX" and several other books, including "HPL: Little Languages and Tools", "Big Book of Ipv6 Addressing Rfcs", "Handbook of Programming Languages (HPL): Imperative Programming Languages", "Casting the Net: From ARPANET to INTERNET and Beyond", and "The Handbook of Programming Languages (HPL): Functional, Concurrent and Logic Programming Languages". There is an interview with him, audio and video,"codebytes: A History of UNIX and UNIX Licences" which was done in 2001 at a USENIX conference. Dr. Salus has served as Executive Director of the USENIX Association.
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