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From: Clem Cole <>
To: "Theodore Y. Ts'o" <>
Cc: COFF <>, Grant Taylor <>
Subject: Re: [COFF] [TUHS] 386BSD released
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2021 10:50:07 -0400	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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On Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 9:41 AM Theodore Y. Ts'o <> wrote:

> If anyone can show any examples of people actually *using* the term
> "open source" in the sense of "sources are available" before the Open
> Source Definition was promulgated, that would be great.  But
> otherwise, I think you're trying to retrofit a definition that was
> never historically used.

Which is my point -- we never had a name for the behavior, but the
behavior certainly existed for years before.  Funny, I just got an email
last night from Cerf, Sax and Haverty.

Here it is cut and pasted:

*"**Good paper!   As I was reading it, I kept thinking that the same story
could be told about TCP, which IMHO  has succeeded for many of the same

*Another possible cause of multiple mechanisms -- the fact that an
incompetent novice can make changes to open source.   When I took on the
task of writing TCP for 11/40 Unix, I had 1) seen Unix used once and
thought the console interactions were pure gibberish; 2) had programmed in
assembler on an 11/05 but never did anything in C; 3) had written
applications (e.g., email) that used the ARPANET, but had never written any
network system code; 4) had never heard of TCP; 5) had done some minor OS
work in Multics, CTSS, and ITS, but knew nothing about Unix.   Apparently,
those qualifications made me perfect for the assignment.*

*I suspect there's many similar situations where such people create code
and it works its way into the system.*
*BTW, the multiplicity characteristic is widespread.   I have a handful of
machines running Ubuntu, and I'm always amazed at how many different but
apparently similar mechanisms exist to do the same thing.   Struggling now
with USB, trying to get a new mouse to work the way I want.   Libinput,
Evdev, xinput, .... where is Lions' current edition for Ubuntu.......**"*

Which was (in context), a reaction to my observation about UNIX being
successful because it was open source and people could use the idea, the
code was published, al biet the license to use was not with
our remuneration.

This is coming from the networking and Tenex world.   We had the same
observation about the PDP-10 and ArpaNET community.  Doug points out SHARE
and DECUS.

The fact is anyone that lived in that world will tell you that it really is
not that different in behavior or intent.   Yes, DECUS and SHARE had/have a
lot of trash -- but you did not have to take it all -- just like today.
Does anyone everything just from the Gnu project much less all the possible
apt-get install for Linux?

Ted -- yes, your generation put a >>name<< to the behavior, which is a
wonderful thing and something you can be proud.  But the behavior of openly
sharing your work product with the community long predates, Linux, the
wider Internet, *et al. * It is sad a minimum, if not downright
disingenuous to say "open source" was created at that point.

What changed was Moore's law allowed more people to participate because the
cost of entry was dramatically lowered.  Remember the cost of deploying
UNIX (or Tenex or OS/360 etc..) was completely dominated by the HW cost.
 A few $K for an SW license was noise, in large sites a rounding error.

The Internet changed how distribution took place.   Netnews and the like
changed how people learn about new things (you did not have to be part of
the club).

But in all cases, the same behavior was there and it was just a smaller
group of people because the cost of the HW was the barrier to entry.


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COFF mailing list

  reply	other threads:[~2021-07-19 14:50 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 31+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
     [not found] <>
     [not found] ` <>
2021-07-15  6:33   ` Michael Kjörling
2021-07-15 20:44     ` Derek Fawcus
2021-07-15 15:07   ` Clem Cole
2021-07-15 19:33     ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-15 20:30       ` Clem Cole
2021-07-16  1:58         ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-16  2:14           ` George Michaelson
2021-07-16 18:02           ` Grant Taylor via COFF
2021-07-17  4:09             ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-17  6:30               ` [COFF] " Tom Ivar Helbekkmo via COFF
2021-07-17 12:37                 ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-17 13:30                   ` Tom Ivar Helbekkmo via COFF
2021-07-18  3:29               ` [COFF] [TUHS] " Grant Taylor via COFF
2021-07-18  3:42                 ` David Arnold
2021-07-18  4:01                   ` Grant Taylor via COFF
2021-07-19 13:41                     ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-19 14:50                       ` Clem Cole [this message]
2021-07-19 17:38                         ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-19 19:33                           ` John P. Linderman
2021-07-19 20:21                             ` Clem Cole
2021-07-20  1:05                             ` Grant Taylor via COFF
2021-07-19 20:08                           ` Clem Cole
2021-07-20  0:55                             ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-18  6:44                   ` Andy Kosela
2021-07-16 16:11         ` Jonathan Corbet
2021-07-15 23:02       ` joe mcguckin
     [not found] <>
     [not found] ` <213a4c11-3ab2-4b4a-8d6b-b52105a19711@localhost>
     [not found]   ` <>
2021-07-14 15:01     ` Clem Cole
2021-07-14 17:40       ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2021-07-14 17:50         ` Larry McVoy
2021-07-14 18:28         ` Clem Cole
2021-07-14 20:03         ` John Cowan

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