Tuesday, September 29, 2020

386BSD Release 0.0 :The Road Not Taken

 Just stumbled across this: 


Path: sparky!uunet!think.com!mips!mips!svcs1!dharris
From: dhar...@svcs1.UUCP (David Harris)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Jolitz: The Road Not Taken
Keywords: 386BSD, Jolitz, motivation
Message-ID: <579@svcs1.UUCP>
Date: 19 Mar 92 08:39:28 GMT
Organization: Silicon Valley Computer Society, Sunnyvale, CA
Lines: 190

John Sokol asked me (on March 15) to post this message from William Jolitz.
I changed a few cases of 3-character underlining into capitals and removed
excess blank lines to make it more readable online.  I think this story 
deserves coverage by computer journalists.  Personal interest and
technical importance are intermingled in this situation.  -Dave Harris

--------------------------- Start --------------------------------------

                     386BSD Release 0.0
                     The Road Not Taken

                     William F. Jolitz

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood,
            and I ---
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
       "The Road Not Taken" [1916] -- Robert Frost

     386BSD Release 0.0 has been greatly  motivated  by  the
frustrations  of  many  who have written and phoned me about
their inability to obtain access to 386BSD, whether licensed
or  not.  I  had hoped that through the groups I was working
with, interested parties could have access to SUPPORTED ver-
sions of 386BSD, but this was not to be.

     So, in making a break with the past,  I  paused  in  my
series of 386BSD porting articles, took the unencumbered but
incomplete NET/2 kernel available from UC Berkeley, and fin-
ished  the  missing pieces necessary to make a bootable run-
ning kernel  that  provides  a  self-supporting  development
environment.  In  describing  this process (see DDJ May-June
1992), as well as providing the actual source code,  I  hope
this  will  finally break the logjam that has frustrated and
perplexed our many readers.

     In 1989, when Lynne and I began  this  project,  386BSD
was simply intended to be a port of BSD to the 386. While we
did not wish to add to anyone's proprietary license revenues
by  folding in new encumbered code (especially pertaining to
the 386), removing or redesigning new code  to  replace  old
encumbered  code was out of the scope of this project. Since
I was willing  to  work  gratis  on  386BSD  (preparing  the
specification,  supplying  the  initial equipment, obtaining
equipment and support from  companies  such  as  Compaq  and
Cyrix,  and  doing  the actual port), making an unencumbered
version was simply impossible.

     After Lynne and I contributed 386BSD to UCB in December
of  1990,  the  UCB  CSRG staff seriously began to set their
sights on releasing only unencumbered code.  It was quite  a
chore  for us to continually revise and improve 386BSD while
updating it to match the new work done by CSRG and other UCB
staff. The result was the UCB NET/2 release.

     What we've since learned from this experience,  to  our
sorrow,  is  that  once  anyone  starts  down  the  track to
providing a broadly accessible system, aberrations, such  as
delusions of profit and glory, cannot be allowed to blur the
goal. This rule holds no matter how well-meaning the motiva-
tions of other people appear.

     After NET/2 came out, I was  willing  to  go  to  great
lengths  to  help  my  "friends" at CSRG -- Mike Karels, the
Best Man at my wedding and to whom  I  introduced  the  UNIX
kernel some 12 years ago, Keith Bostic, and Kirk McKusick --
pull some success and profit out of the years of  work  they
had put into BSD. In Mike's case, he had earlier invested in
a company I founded many years ago, and he said I "owed him"
the opportunity to help him build his own company.  I am not
trying to say that I was unusually naive  or  altruistic.  I
simply believe that you should help your friends to the best
of your abilities, and that they in  turn  should  help  you
when you need it.

     However, friendship has obligations  and  responsibili-
ties  as  well.  You do not lie to your friends.  You do not
demand that your friends act  unethically  or  immorally  to
accomplish a goal. You do not abdicate your responsibilities
to other people, such as the  students  and  professors  who
require  this  system  to  teach, even though it might be to
your immediate advantage. In the process of taking the  easy
road,  the  friendship will inevitably be destroyed. Is any-
thing worth this price? I don't think so.

     I began to notice that the original point in doing this
work  had  become  lost, and that things were getting wildly
out of control.  An insatiable desire for power  and  wealth
had  begun to distort the entire BSD research project, and I
felt I had to put the value of 386BSD back into perspective.
I spent many months trying to resolve my growing differences
with CSRG in an appropriate and quiet fashion.   After  all,
they were my friends.

     Unfortunately, after a 15-year work association,  three
years  of  work  on this project, and a long friendship, the
culmination of my efforts was a slew of  cancelled  accounts
and  a  letter  from  CSRG  unilaterally cancelling Berkeley
involvement in 386BSD, and claiming all the work that I  had
contributed   to   Berkeley   since   NET/2  as  "University

     I had anticipated even  before  receiving  this  letter
that  I  might be forced to take a different road -- the one
less traveled -- and had planned accordingly.  I  had  known
that  this would not be easy -- it required me at the end of
November 1991 to erase all of my work on 4.4BSD, take a copy
of  the  original unencumbered NET/2 release, and start from
scratch to make 386BSD Release 0.0.  I had to,  in  essence,
abandon all my previous work with CSRG.

     I realized that my family would  suffer  personally  by
this stance.  It was not easy to hear my little daughter say
"Daddy, I liked Mike and Keith and Kirk. Why don't they like
us  anymore?"   It  was not easy to see long-time friends at
USENIX catch a glimpse of me, turn, and run in the  opposite
direction  for  fear of being seen talking to me. It was not
easy to find my University associates putting  my  new  pro-
jects  "on  hold", even though they told me that they really
didn't believe any of those nasty rumors  circulating  about
my  character  or work on 386BSD. It has been quite a strain
these last months enduring these indignities in silence  and
focussing on completing my goals.

     But I cannot distort my values and  ethics  and  ignore
the  needs  of others simply to suit the whims of a few. One
must always strive to "do the right thing", no  matter  what
the  personal consequences.  As the proverb goes: "What pro-
fits a man if he gains the world and loses his soul?"

     And now, since CSRG has  stated  in  writing  that  the
386BSD  project  will  not  be  continued  at  Berkeley (not
surprising, given I was the  only  one  who  maintained  the
machines  and  the 386BSD code), I have no choice but to GO
IT-ALONE and get this system out-the-door  to  the  tens-of-
thousands  of  people  who need an experimental research and
educational system. Otherwise, they  would  continue  to  be
denied  access  by CSRG to either a licensed or unencumbered
version of 386BSD from UCB, and instead be forced to pay for
a  version  of  my  work  from  a  firm in which they have a
private interest.  I have been  fortunate  in  finding  many
others  who  believe in the goals of 386BSD, and who are now
spending a great deal of time and effort getting it  out  to
everyone who desires a copy.

     The purpose of the 386BSD project remains the same:  so
students,  faculty,  staff, and researchers can use BSD on a
simple and inexpensive platform.  And now,  since  few  have
been able to obtain a licensed version from UCB (and none an
unencumbered version), I have made 386BSD Release 0.0 avail-
able  with public access sources.  I intend to maintain both
source and binary versions of 386BSD for some time to  come.
And, since the Berkeley CSRG has abandoned 386BSD, I am wil-
ling to contribute my 386BSD work to other University groups
in  order  to  facilitate  the establishment of "new" 386BSD
projects elsewhere. 386BSD Release 0.0 is only  a  beginning
-- not an end.

     Despite my unpleasant experience with CSRG, I have con-
tinued  my  efforts  to "do the right thing" by offering the
CSRG Faculty Advisor, Professor  Susan  Graham,  the  386BSD
Release  0.0 changes for immediate release from Berkeley, so
that the conflict-of-interest charges and other issues would
become  moot, and so that the Berkeley EECS Department would
not suffer further embarrassment in this  matter.   I  think
many  in  the  academic community would find it fitting that
386BSD be available from the University where the  BSD  pro-
ject  began.   I  myself  believe that the BSD tradition has
been a venerable one, and I would like to see  it  honorably

     In any event,  Lynne  and  I  intend  to  hold  to  the
"spirit"  of what the 386BSD project is really all about. It
is not about writing a few lines of source code, or  obtain-
ing  a  cheap operating system to diddle, or even building a
mini-AT&T to entangle you in proprietary license agreements.
386BSD is an attempt to allow new possibilities and alterna-
tive approaches in an industry that has become moribund. You
can  use  it,  or  not. But remember, someone worked hard to
give you the CHOICE.  Use it wisely.

--------------------------- End ------------------------------------
David C. Harris: ...!sun!ys2!medint!dharris , in Palo Alto, California.

Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Path: sparky!uunet!uunet!kolstad
From: kols...@BSDI.COM (Rob Kolstad)
Subject: Re: Jolitz: The Road Not Taken
Message-ID: <1992Mar20.020055.26568@uunet.uu.net>
Summary: Roads that were taken
Keywords: 386BSD, Jolitz, motivation
Sender: use...@uunet.uu.net (UseNet News)
Nntp-Posting-Host: bsdi.com
Organization: UUNET Communications Services
References: <579@svcs1.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1992 02:00:55 GMT

I believe, in the interest of fairness to all concerned, that the net should
have some additional information about Bill Jolitz's recent posting.

I joined BSDI on December 1, 1991.  Here's what I know:

Bill Jolitz was one of the founders of Berkeley Software Design, Inc.
(BSDI).  As with any profit-making venture, he had to have known from the
beginning that BSDI systems would be made available in source form, but
would not be freely redistributable -- those were tenets of the company.

Bill was a full time employee of BSDI for 11 months of 1991 -- from
January 1, 1991 through November 30, 1991, actively contributing to both
the "encumbered" product and the modules which were donated to Berkeley.

All code that Bill developed through June 30, 1991 was contributed to the
BSD project, as was all work performed by the two other BSDI employees
during that period.  That work was included as part of the Berkeley NET2
distribution, the most recent distribution made by Berkeley.  This
donation forms a significant portion of "386BSD Release 0.0".  The code
written by Jolitz and other BSDI employees was not developed without
compensation, nor was it developed solely by Jolitz.

BSDI is not attempting to impede creation of free BSD systems.  Moreover,
BSDI has made significant contributions to make them possible.

My comments on the requirements for sustaining the viability of an
operating system are on record.

						Rob Kolstad
						Program Manager

         /\      Rob Kolstad           Berkeley Software Design, Inc. 
      /\/  \     kols...@bsdi.com      7759 Delmonico Drive
     / /    \    719-593-9445          Colorado Springs, CO  80919

Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Path: sparky!uunet!think.com!ames!pasteur!hermes.Berkeley.EDU!bostic
From: bos...@hermes.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Subject: Re: Jolitz: The Road Not Taken
Message-ID: <1992Mar20.234444.20892@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU>
Keywords: 386BSD, Jolitz, motivation
Sender: n...@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU (NNTP Poster)
Nntp-Posting-Host: hermes.berkeley.edu
Organization: University of California at Berkeley
References: <579@svcs1.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1992 23:44:44 GMT

It has become necessary for the UC Berkeley Computer Systems Research
Group (CSRG) to reply to William Jolitz's allegations since they have
been made public in this newsgroup.  Some of his statements, and more
importantly, his implications, concerning the CSRG are not true.  We
do not intend to debate each individual allegation which he has made.
There are, however, significant issues that must be clarified.

For those unfamiliar with the 4BSD distributions, the University policy
is as follows.  The 4BSD system is distributed for reproduction costs.
Each recipient is granted a non-exclusive license to use, modify and
redistribute the system as long as obligations to USL (previously AT&T)
regarding proprietary source code are met.  As the NET/1 and NET/2
distributions contained no source code proprietary to USL, they may be
used, modified, and redistributed freely.

Every line of code that Jolitz had contributed to the University at the
time of the NET/2 release was part of that release.  Every line of code
that Jolitz contributed to the University since the NET/2 release will
be part of the next 4BSD distribution.  Furthermore, no vendor has had
early or different distribution rights to University software or any
software contributed to the University by Jolitz or any other party.

The University has never stated that the work contributed by Jolitz is
proprietary to the University.  The contribution agreement which Jolitz
signed explicitly gave the University nonexclusive access to the code,
and explicitly noted that copyright was retained by Jolitz.

Finally, the CSRG has never stated that it will discontinue development
of a version of BSD for the 386 architecture.  As with many other
portions of the system, most of the development will be done by outside
contributors, or derived from systems like Jolitz's 386 release.  We have
always intended that 4.4BSD run on the 386 machines and see no reason
that this will not happen.

Kirk McKusick
Keith Bostic

Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Path: sparky!uunet!uunet!karels
From: kar...@BSDI.COM (Mike Karels)
Subject: Re: Jolitz: The Road Not Taken
Message-ID: <1992Mar23.214834.7381@uunet.uu.net>
Summary: Roads that were taken
Keywords: 386BSD, Jolitz, motivation
Sender: use...@uunet.uu.net (UseNet News)
Nntp-Posting-Host: bsdi.com
Organization: Berkeley Software Design, Inc.
References: <579@svcs1.UUCP>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1992 21:48:34 GMT

I wish it were not necessary for me to reply to the recent posting made
on behalf of Bill Jolitz ("The Road Not Taken"), but given the nature
of the comments about me, my past relationship with Bill, and my work,
I am compelled to respond.

I do not understand Bill's complaint with CSRG, with me or with BSDI,
nor do I understand why he is now saying the things that he is.  The
recent posting is not at all an accurate reflection of past events.
I do not want to correct it point by point, as I will not continue this
argument in a public forum.  However, there is nothing for which I should
apologize.  I have not lied to Bill or other friends, and I have not
asked anyone to act unethically or immorally.

Bill was a founder of BSDI as well as its first full-time paid employee;
he can hardly be surprised that BSDI is selling a supported system
based on the freely available Berkeley code, of which he contributed
the 386 port.  I did not exert pressure on Bill to work for BSDI,
although I did introduce him to the other founders.  When he became
unhappy working for BSDI, I had a number of long conversations with him
about the problems.  Although I never fully understood the problems,
his complaints centered on business and personal relationships within
the company rather than the fact that the company planned to charge
for its product.

Bill's complaints about CSRG are unjustified, and only originated in January
after I decided to leave Berkeley to work for BSDI.  CSRG released all
of the code contributed by Bill in source form.  His complaint is the
lack of a supported binary release from the University.  However, Berkeley
releases have never been supported in the normal commercial sense, and
have never been packaged and documented for easy installation on machines
as diverse as 386 AT systems.  While I was in CSRG, we never considered
doing another binary release after NET2 until the alpha release of 4.4BSD.

Although the NET2 release contained most of the BSD kernel, several
critical modules were missing because they were derived from licensed code.
CSRG could have taken the shortest path to filling in those modules,
but those modules were among the oldest in the kernel.  Rather than
reimplementing those pieces as they had been, CSRG chose to redesign
them properly, which is in progress.

I regret that this disagreement was made public at USENIX and in
this news group.  I will not continue this discussion in public.

		Mike Karels
		Berkeley Software Design, Inc.

Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd
Path: sparky!uunet!morrow.stanford.edu!news
From: MT....@forsythe.stanford.edu (John Sokol)
Subject: Re: netatalk-1.2 -> netatalk-1.2.1
Message-ID: <1992Mar24.134158.15278@morrow.stanford.edu>
Sender: n...@morrow.stanford.edu (News Service)
Organization: Stanford University, California, USA
Distribution: usa
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1992 13:41:58 GMT
Lines: 144

From ljol...@cardio.ucsf.EDU Tue Mar 24 04:37:27 1992
Received: from cardio.ucsf.EDU by reyes.stanford.edu with TCP;
Tue, 24 Mar 92 04:37:22 PST
Received: by cardio.ucsf.EDU (5.61/GSC4.19)
        id AA13292; Tue, 24 Mar 92 04:42:18 -0800
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 92 04:42:18 -0800
From: ljol...@cardio.ucsf.EDU (Lynn Jolitz)
Message-Id: <9203241242.AA13292@cardio.ucsf.EDU>
To: dkio...@cadence.com, s...@reyes.stanford.edu
Status: R

Dear Don and John,

Could you please get this out to as many people as possible.
It is a brief response to kolsad (minor) and, more importantly,
an announcement that DDJ will be collecting charity funds
for the Children's Support League for the installation floppy
as part of their careware program. It is very worthwhile and I would
like to see a good cause benefit from 386BSD.


keywords: 386bsd, charity, children

Dear 386BSD Enthusiast:

Before I get on to the IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT, I unfortunately must
take a moment to correct several intentionally misleading and
self-serving statements by Mr. Kolstad, Program Manager (whatever
that means).

Re: Kolstad's statement:

"All code that Bill developed through June 30, 1991 was contributed
to the BSD project, as was all work performed by the two other BSDI
employees during that period.  That work was included as part of
the Berkeley NET2 distribution, the most recent distribution made
by Berkeley.  This donation forms a significant portion of "386BSD
Release 0.0".  The code written by Jolitz and other BSDI employees
was not developed without compensation, nor was it developed solely
by Jolitz."

As I look at the Berkeley NET/2 license list of contributors "that
have provided a large subsystem", I see Bill listed first as "386/486
support". Not surprising, since he started the project in 1989,
used our lunchbox for the early system port, got Compaq and Cyrix
to contribute time and hardware, and had the port completed and
contributed by late 1990.

Regarding the "two other BSDI employees", I would guess he is
referring to UUNET employees Donn Seeley and Trent Hein (or possibly
Rick Adams).  This is unclear since BSDI did not exist prior to
the NET/2 release.

In the "large subsystem" section, Donn is cited for his work on
the "ANSI C prototypes" with John Kohl and the "HP300 port" ("Wow,
does that have something to do with 386BSD?") with Jeff Forys, Mike
Hibler, Jay Lepreau, and the Systems Programming Group of Utah CS
Department.  In the "specific items" section (the small stuff,
though not trivial), Rick Adams is cited with a "cast of thousands"
(their words, not mine) for "news(1)", as well as for "slattach(8)",
"slip(8)", and "uucpd(8)".  Noble efforts all, but not relevent to

Trent Hein is not mentioned at all. I recall he did a version of
init that was contributed to Berkeley AFTER the NET/2 release, but
only BSDI has been able to obtain a copy. This doesn't trouble us
however, as software contributions have begun to pour in and the
386BSD audience has much to look forward to in the coming months.

In fact, if anyone else should be cited for contributing to 386BSD,
it should be Don Ahn, who wrote the console driver and the floppy
disk driver.  I know he isn't a big name, being just a Berkeley
student, but we haven't forgotten his contribution, and he was
thanked in the January 1991 article in DDJ. Also, his attribution
remains.  (He is also cited in the NET/2 letter along with several
others: Tim Tucker, Sean Fagin, and CMU, for their contributions
of 386 device drivers. They all deserve a round of applause).

Claiming a "significant portion" of 386BSD is absolute trash. You
can no more claim 386BSD is your creation anymore than you can
claim System V Release 4 is your creation. Attempting to steal the
credit of those who have contributed to this effort in an attempt
to line your own pocketbooks is contemptible. We will not allow
you to attempt to rewrite a well-documented history, nor take the
credit due to all those who have made a significant contribution
to 386BSD  -- NOT BSDI, but 386BSD!

386BSD was completed and contributed to Berkeley after two years
of work, in 1990, and neither Don Ahn or Bill received any compensation
for their work. However, Bill did work for UUNET from January to
June of 1991. I recall he spent much of his time keeping 386BSD
up-to-date with the changes at CSRG for the NET/2 release (something
that benefitted BSDI/UUNET AND OTHER CONTRIBUTORS) and attempting
to teach Donn Seeley about the PC. Since no one at BSDI could even
answer a simple question about the BIOS at last January's USENIX
(a question 250,000 readers of the February 1991 article could have
answered -- this was not unnoticed by the Press), I think Bill must
have failed in this regard.  So much for knowledgable support on
your part.

Regarding your comment:

"BSDI is not attempting to impede creation of free BSD systems.
Moreover, BSDI has made significant contributions to make them

Fine. I'm glad to hear it. You might start by ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTING
something to 386BSD, instead of hoarding. If you don't wish to,
that's alright by me. We have plenty of others willing to work to
make 386BSD a success. But spare us the BIG WHINE.


DDJ will be providing copies of the standalone installation floppy
as part of their "Careware" Program. What is careware, you may ask?
It is very simple. When you send in your floppy and mailer to get
a copy, you stuff into the envelope a dollar or two for charity!

The 386BSD Project is contributing all proceeds sent to DDJ to the
"Children's Support League", an organization which supports small
groups focussed on aiding abused and disabled children. Among the
many children who have benefitted in the past from generous
contributors have been children who have lost a family member and
received counciling, disabled children who could not communicate
who can now "talk" with computers, and abused children who were
given a welcome respite at camp.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? I am a mother blessed with
two strong and healthy children. It makes my heart weep to see so
many tragedies happen before a child is even given a chance.  It
is time we gave something back to those less fortunate.

While I know you can get a copy off of the net, I ask you to
participate in this charity drive.  It's only a dollar or two, but
you can make a difference to a child who needs our help.

Contact DDJ now for more information.

Thank you,

Lynne Greer Jolitz.  ljol...@cardio.ucsf.edu

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