Posted Mar 22, 2007 18:00 UTC (Thu) by landley
In reply to:
Parent article: The road to freedom in the embedded world
> A Microsoft employee had a day job at HP? Which one? Are you sure
> you're not thinking of Apple computer and Woz?
Ah, you're right. Paul Allen's day job for Microsoft's first year was at
MITS, as "associate director of software". Before that Paul Allen worked
at Honeywell, not HP. (Sorry, all my reference books are packed.)
> I've also used FreeBSD, NetBSD, Solaris and even Microsoft Windows at
I don't. I also use vi instead of Emacs, and I point out that Ubuntu has
replaced bash with dash as its' default #!/bin/sh in Edgy and Feisty
(although I actually object to this because dash is broken).
> The GNU project may not have become whatever you wish it had and there
> are certainly plenty of other important projects in the free software
> community, but it has not failed.
Unix won. MacOS X's Unix underpinnings are BSD, Linux was directly
inspired by Minix (Andrew Tanenbaum worked at Bell labs and describes the
history of Minix in more detail at http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/), and
Solaris and *.BSD all trace their directly ancestry back to Berkeley and
The GNU project was one of a half-dozen independent rewrites of the basic
Unix ideas published in the ACM paper in 1974. DOS 2.0's divergence from
CP/M (subdirectories, replacing FCB with file handles, etc) was wholly
inspired by Unix (and Paul Allen's desire to promote Microsoft's Unix
port, Xenix). I once used a Unix interface for the Vax VMS
called "Eunice" (think "cygwin for the vax", only even more strange and
brittle). IBM got Unix95 certification for its' mainframes, and it
didn't do that because of GNU.
> GNU remains relevant to quite a few people.
I am not one of them.
The biggest boost GCC ever got was Sun's Ed Zander deciding to unbundle
the compiler from Sun's Unix and sell it as an add-on, for extra money.
(He did the same thing to the network stack.) It was a huge boost to
short-term revenues and a huge drag on market share in the long run.
Before that gcc was virtually unheard of, after that it became the
de-facto default compiler for Sun workstations. The FSF never understood
the importance of PC hardware, and didn't pay much attention to it back
when Linux started. (They were far more interested in 68k than x86, as
most old-school Unix types were. They bought into the "RISC will
overwhelm everything" rumour going around then, just as they bought into
the "Microkernels are one true way" fad. Linux succeeded because it was
NOT part of the FSF. The original "Cathedral" in the Cathedral and the
Bazaar was the FSF, not any proprietary software company.)
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