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Operating Systems Unix BSD Linux

Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Licensing 480

Posted by timothy
from the factors-converge-to-define-reality dept.
An anonymous reader points out an interesting, detailed interview with Andrew Tanenbaum at; Tanenbaum holds forth on the current state of MINIX, licensing decisions, and the real reason he believes that Linux caught on just when he "thought BSD was going to take over the world." ("I think Linux succeeded against BSD, which was a stable mature system at the time simply because BSDI got stuck in a lawsuit and was effectively stopped for several years.")
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Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Licensing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @10:35AM (#38116106)

    I've thought they've ended this flame war several years ago?
    Well then, here we go, let the flaming commence...

  • Tanenbaum? (Score:0, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @10:51AM (#38116220)

    I thought Tanenbaum was the name of a German Christmas carol (sung to the tune of "The Red Flag')

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @11:08AM (#38116318) Homepage Journal

    He comes off as a super-asshole in general. "I published a paper in 1978 on something very close to the Java Virtual Machine, but we never got much credit for it although we were years ahead of Sun. Such is life sometimes." Too bad it was just a paper. But the truth is that Smalltalk is the language which actually existed which deserves the credit that Java got technically, but it also went nowhere because it was neither packaged more marketed attractively. The state of documentation for Squeak is distressing. So, Java it is!

    Tanenbaum is clearly grumpy about continually being asked questions about why Linux ate Minix's lunch, and he's very defensive of his stupid license choices which have kept Minix an "also-ran". Maybe if they couldn't get a rise out of him, people would stop asking him about it. As long as he says stupid quotable things about Linux the questions will keep coming.

  • by mmcuh (1088773) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @11:59AM (#38116658)
    Any non-trivial software is sueable.
  • I have (Score:1, Funny)

    by koinu (472851) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:32PM (#38117302)

    I started on Linux, too (about 1997). And one time (in 1998), I've been talking with a colleague about licenses. I told him, I really don't care if someone uses my code, I just don't want to get sued, if they use it wrong. He told me that I might be more compatible with the "BSD philosophy" instead of GNU's GPL. And he was correct. I informed myself about it and landed on FreeBSD (in 2001), because of the fantastic application support ("FreeBSD ports collection").

    Now, I'm trying to use Linux from time to time (almost every year I try it), but it has nothing to offer for me and it lacks some basic features that are included in FreeBSD and which I really need.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday November 20, 2011 @03:14PM (#38117962) Journal
    You know, back then when you asked about a Unix license the reply was something like "well let's fly a consultant out to you to right-size your licensing to optimize your ROI". That may have been a wee bit off-putting for folks who just wanted to do a few spreadsheets for their small business.
  • by DrVxD (184537) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @03:44PM (#38118216) Homepage Journal

    It was not meant to be a sueable system.

    Is that a Freudian typo?

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @03:46PM (#38118228) Homepage
    Of course it couldn't been forked, do you know how restrictive the BSD license is compared to the GPL??

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov