He focused on the wrong lawsuit
Posted Nov 17, 2011 22:31 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck
In reply to: Heh
Parent article: Interview with Andrew Tanenbaum (LinuxFr.org)
It certainly is true that the lawsuit crippled BSD at a critical time, but the part of the suit that attacked BSDI over the phone number was inconsequential. What mattered was the lawsuit against the University of California over their release of BSD source code. At the time, the BSD code was a lot more mature and complete than Linux was, and had the free software community built on top of that instead of on top of Torvalds' kernel, the world might have turned out differently (but not terribly differently; we might still see a split between a pure BSD world and a GNU/BSD world with userland based on glibc and the GNU tools, which already existed in the critical 1993-4 timeframe).
The lawsuit wasn't the only factor; Linus welcomed outside participation while the core BSD people spurned it. That might have been more important, but on the other hand a more bazaar-oriented team might have forked BSD instead. But the fact that Linux was clearly not derivative of Unix made it a legally safer choice for many.
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