[GTALUG] ​Can the Internet exist without Linux? | ZDNet

Lennart Sorensen lsorense at csclub.uwaterloo.ca
Thu Jan 14 17:01:43 UTC 2016

On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 06:12:00PM -0500, Christopher Browne wrote:
> There were more systems than that, so I'm by no means certain that
> it would have been FreeBSD that would have dominated, though I'd
> keep it pretty high on the list.
> I remember using MiNT (which was Atari ST-specific, standing for
> MiNT is Not TOS), which was a POSIX-y environment back then.
> MINIX is what Linus Torvalds was most directly reacting to; had
> Linux not emerged, people would have doubtless found MINIX more
> interesting to hack on for longer.
> BeOS was a later emerged development, but nevertheless, still
> another of the UNIX-like systems that emerged in profusion.

BeOS was very NOT unix.  The thing was so anti multiuser it made Microsoft
look like they understood multiuser machines.  It was multimedia
performance above all else.  User accounts and security was totally
irrelevant to BeOS.

> I wouldn't have been shocked to see Mortice Kern Systems
> have something emerge looking rather like a UNIX, based on
> the MKS toolkit (which was once popular on MS-DOS).
> Entertaining to quote from the Tanembaum/Torvalds feud:
> "Of course 5  years from now that will be different,  but 5 years from
> now  everyone  will  be  running  free  GNU on  their  200  MIPS,  64M
> SPARCstation-5."  -- Andrew Tanenbaum, 1992.
> (Where "free GNU" is presumably a reference to GNU Hurd.)
> Some will remember QNX (which never was free, but it's
> local-ish, and interesting), fewer will remember VSTa.
> Mark Williams Company Coherent was a commercial Unix
> clone that was pretty clearly pushed out of the market by Linux.
> SCO used to be a big deal, back in the days when they
> produced decent systems, rather than playing legal games.

Part of QNX was temporarily open source.  Then they changed their minds.
It too is certainly not very unixy.

> My point isn't that any of these would individually have been
> "most likely" as alternatives to Linux; the point is that there
> really were a lot of would-be alternatives out there, and lots of
> people working on different fragments of the "alternative Unix"
> problem.
> I find it highly believable that efforts would have coalesced
> *somewhere* had the lawsuits relating to BSD kept up and
> Linux not been around.

Len Sorensen

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