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
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
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
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.
Now, ON TO THE REAL IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:
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.
Lynne Greer Jolitz. ljo...@cardio.ucsf.edu
You sent your "response to Kolstad" to John Sokol, who posted it here under
the subject "Re: netatalk-1.2 -> netatalk-1.2.1". I am replying, since after
having heard from all of the principles (you and Bill, then Rob, Keith, and
Mike), I think I finally mostly understand what's going on here and I have
a few suggestions, a few questions, and of course, a plea for peace. I am
making this an "open" letter because the plea for peace is really from a
large number of "us" and is *for* a large number of "us".
I'll start with a little bit of my own background. I was one of Symmetric
Computer Systems' customers. In the process of buying my s/375 I visited
your San Jose offices about eight times and spent quite a bit of time visiting
with you, Bill, Bill's father, and your manufacturing technician. I have met
your daughter (though she was much too young to remember me), and I remember
thinking that Symmetric was a good company trying to do good things. I was
happy to be a part of the project, even though my own s/375 never did work
all that well and I ended up taking it up to the Los Altos Rod and Gun Club
and blowing it to smithereens on the 25-yard tin-can range. (I have pictures.)
When I ran into Bill in Colorado back in 1990, he remembered me and was proud
to show off his 386 laptop running his BSD port. We talked about pregnancy
and babies since you two had been through it and I was expecting my first son.
My conversations with Bill were cordial and I like to think that they will be
cordial next time we meet. Certainly when Bill was working for BSDI and I was
setting up his 9600BPS Internet link through the Alternet POP here at DECWRL,
my various conversations with Bill were all quite friendly.
I am currently working to make 386BSD available via anonymous FTP from
Gatekeeper.dec.com, and I have offerred to make mag tape copies for anyone
who mails me a tape with return mailer and postage. 386BSD is an exciting
piece of work and I want to help it succeed in any way I can. My bitstring
macros are part of BSD, and my version of Cron will be there too, someday.
I believe, from my experience as detailed above, that I am in a position to
understand the context of the "386BSD vs. BSD/386" feud. I think there are
a lot of bad feelings all around, that communication efficiency is at an all-
time low, and that most of what you and Rob and Keith and Mike have been
arguing about are misunderstandings rather than actual differences of opinion.
I know the CSRG folks reasonably well and I know that they, like you and Bill,
are very interested in a royalty-free BSD. We all believe that BSD is the
One True OS, that it is better than SysV.n:(0>n>~), better than Mach, better
than OSF/1, better than SunOS or Ultrix or UMIPS or anything else that either
contains proprietary code or has no champions and no soul.
Mike is working for BSDI now, but he said at the Usenix BOF that he plans to
finish up some of his CSRG projects on BSDI's time, and contribute the work
back to CSRG for inclusion in the upcoming hopefully-non-licensed 4.4BSD. Is
this the mark of a man who wants to hoard his work or keep things proprietary?
Rob Kolstad hired him even knowing that some of his initial efforts had to be
released back to CSRG without any kind of direct monetary reward to BSDI. Is
this the mark of a man who wants to hoard other people's work or keep things
Keith and the other CSRG folks are pounding keys at this very instant to
replace more and more of BSD with royalty-free code. They are funded but
they are not rolling in money and will probably never roll in money from
selling BSD tapes at $850 a whack. They do it because they think it's
important. Just as you and Bill do what you do because you think it's
important. I know that if 386BSD has elements in it that will help 4.4BSD
run well on 386/486 processorsm, and continues to have no licensing restrict-
ions in it, that CSRG will cheerfully incorporate Bill's code into their
upcoming release. Is that the mark of pride, or of expedience? Is CSRG
seeming to attempt to prevent Bill's work from reaching the public?
Somewhere I recall seeing Bill assert that some of the work he contributed
to CSRG has yet to be released to the public -- that is, was not part of
the NET2 release since it wasn't ready when NET2 shipped -- and yet that
work was made available to BSDI for their licensed system. I am not sure
how this can be verified since very few people have actually seen BSDI's
system as it is still in alpha test. I tend to believe Keith Bostic's
claim that BSDI has no "head start", that no vendor has copies of CSRG's
unreleased code yet, and that BSDI will get it whenever CSRG makes their
next release (hopefully 4.4BSD but we'll see how it goes.) I know that
BSDI has contributed code to CSRG since I have logged into Okeeffe and
seen it in the CSRG source pool. This is analagous to Chris Torek's libc
submissions, or my bitstring or cron submissions. Any of us are welcome
to submit our code to comp.sources.unix in addition to sending it to CSRG;
CSRG is, however, under no obligation to release anything to anybody until
they are comfortable that they have something worth shipping.
Likewise, if Bill submitted a bunch of his work to CSRG and then did not
keep a copy, I'm not sure it falls to CSRG to unravel Bill's submission
from the source pool it was integrated into just so they can give it back
to Bill. Rest assured that it WILL be made available whenever CSRG makes
its next release. If Bill did some work for BSDI that has not been given
back to CSRG, I'm afraid he'll have to stand by his employment contract
which presumably gives BSDI full rights to whatever work they paid Bill for.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Bill's BSDI work was early enough to have
been included in BSDI's unlicensed early submission to CSRG, but I don't
know the details on this and I'll have to go with what Keith said on this
point since he knows CSRG's source pool a lot better than I do.
You mentioned that Trent Hein wrote an init for BSDI which was given to
CSRG but not made available to your 386BSD effort. That's true. The code
is sitting on Okeeffe right now, waiting for the day when it can be tested
and integrated and -- someday -- shipped out with 4.4BSD. It seems that your
complaint on this issue is that BSDI gave it to CSRG but not to 386BSD, and
that CSRG hasn't given it to 386BSD either. How can I convince you that CSRG
has nothing to gain from making interrim unintegrated releases available, and
that it likewise has nothing to gain from "hoarding" the code that people
donate to it.
The implication throughout Bill's "Road Not Taken" article and your response
to Kolstad is that CSRG is unfairly aiding BSDI. Given that some code has been
shared between them but not yet with 386BSD or comp.sources.unix, and that Mike
recently left CSRG to take a job at BSDI, I can see why this implication looks
plausible. But I know Keith and Rob, and you know them, and I think we both
know them well enough to know that this sort of crap is totally beneath them.
Please experiment with another possibility: that things are as they seem, and
that we all -- all of us, including you and Bill and me and Rob and Keith
and Mike and Kirk and Marc and the "cast of thousands" -- are each in our own
way trying to save the universe from the looming, lumbering death star.
You and Bill believe that you can best serve the cause by making 386BSD avail-
able as early as possible and then sending out lots of upgrades and patches.
The BSDI folks believe that they can best serve the cause by coming out with
a high-quality, supported system with a team of paid programmers to constantly
enhance it and fix bugs, and they have put their livelihood on the line such
that if they don't make a profit they'll all have to eat stale breadcrumbs.
The CSRG folks believe that they can best serve the cause by encouraging the
"cast of thousands" to submit lots of useful source code which CSRG can then
pick through and build a coherent, integrated system that most people will be
able to use "right off the tape". I personally believe that I can best serve
the cause by running the world's third-largest anonymous FTP server, sending
386BSD tapes to people who don't have Internet access, writing and running
an "ftp by mail" server for UUCP-limited users, writing lots of royalty-free
code and publishing it on comp.sources.unix and submitting it to CSRG when
it's good enough, moderating comp.sources.unix, and playing mediator in
disputes like this one where all the principals know me and are willing to
at least listen to what I have to say.
We all have different ways of going about it. But it's the same cause, and
we are moved by substantially the same spirit. I don't always see the reason
behind Bill's actions -- such as his outburst at the Usenix BSD BOF -- but I
am still very glad that he's on this ethereal "team" and that he and his code
are out there in the world, making it a better place.
Can we stop this infighting and get back to the important part of this whole
business -- which is writing code? The rubber is meeting the road. None of
us have time for this metadiscussion. I hope that you and Bill will someday
realize that you don't have any enemies out here, that noone is out to get you
or prevent your work from being used, and that noone has knowingly or intent-
ionally cheated you or the community at large. I really do believe that we
all have the same goal; our approaches and "what we think will work" are the
only difference between us. We can do a lot more good by keeping our noses
(fingers) to the grindstone (keyboard) and just getting the work done.
> [160 lines deleted]
Thank you, Paul, for all of us who prize
what the CSRG has done over the past
decade, and what both BSDI and the
Jolitzes are doing now.
Since I'm pretty sure that's me, I would like to point out that my name is
Sean Fag*a*n (it's a jewish surname, not an irish one). I do not appreciate
having my name (any part of it) misspelled.
Sean Eric Fagan | "One form to rule them all, one form to find them, one
s...@kithrup.COM | form to bring them all and in the darkness rewrite the
-----------------+ hell out of them" -- sendmail ruleset 3 comment from DEC.
Any opinions expressed are my own, and generally unpopular with others.