Subject: Re: Why did NetBSD and FreeBSD diverge?
To: None <>
From: None <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 01/17/2001 15:39:34

On 17 Jan, James Howard wrote:
> On Wed, 17 Jan 2001 wrote:
>> Many other fact worked their way in. Aside from the stuff I've 
>> mentioned, there is still lots of ill feelings towards the authors
>> of 386BSD. Another factor is BSDi. Many individual (most not now
>> at BSDi) actually started rumors and incited mis-trust. 
> (Brief background, I am bored.  I noticed a trend that everytime someone
> mentions BSD on Slashdot, someone asks what the differences are between
> the BSDs, aside from hype.  I am trying to resolve that question.)

> So at this point, I am trying to figure out why NetBSD and FreeBSD didn't
> pool resource early.  I know why OpenBSD exists so that is not a question
> (though great quotes are appreciated:).
Again, the start was 386BSD, then the "Unoffical Patch Kit".
The UPK was written by Terry Lambert, then run by Dave Burgess
and later Rodney Grimes. Jordan Hubbart was also a main person into.
Jordan was one of the founders of FreeBSD. 

NetBSD pulled out early from the 386BSD effort. Their direction
was based on BSD tradition; make run on everything. Again, they
left mostly because of tensions between the authors of 386BSD
and the UPK. That is, people were making fixes to 386BSD, but
the only way to incorporate them for more that 1 1/2 year was
the UPK.

The UPK had many problems it was a disaster (Sorry Terry).
The UPK was never intended to run for more than a few months,
but one (1) year later it was the only to get things to work.

> Why did Jolitz pull support from 386BSD?  And what was BSDi doing at the
> time?
Originally Bill Jolitz worked and had shares in BSDi (he may still
have claims) BSDi was started with the code that Bill had returned
to UCB. However, problems started when Rob Kolstad (then CEO) and
others started activites of a gray nature (Sorry can't follow up on
this). Bill while a great technologist had words with BSDi, pulled
out of BSDi, mysteriously had his UCB accounts canceled and eventually
got some help from UCSF.

Some time later my partner John Sokol ran into Bill Jolitz.
As it turns out a class mate of Bill's told John. 
John had been working on an "un-encumbered" version of
Unix with several people. Because of the mess, John agreed to
help Bill, but Bill place several restrictions on the help.
One restriction was not to release the code until Bill felt
it was ready.

Unfortuneally, here is where the story turns. Chris Demetrious,
a founder of NetBSD, release the code prematurely. This upset
many people, including BSDi, AT&T and UCB. But the cat was
out of the bag and we had to move. The "unoffical" release
was further furstrated when corrupt copies mysteriously made
it on to Chris's version, and versions stored at UCB.

The incident was quickly followed up with an offical 0.0
release. This release while workable had a very poorly written
floppy driver that furstrated the release. The release version
was patch in 0.1 with version that were in MS-DOS file format
(128k chunks I think) that allowed people to at last be able
to get it running. 

Note: the previous version was an all or nothing release.
That is, once you started from the first diskette and 
completed with the 20th diskette, if anything went wrong
you had to start over.

With the 0.1 release, at least people could work and move
forward, but many drivers and the VM had problems - hence
the UPK.

As time went on and AT&T filed suite against BSDi, and 
UCB against AT&T. The situation got ugly. John Sokol
got a visit from the Stanford University President.
Bill Jolitz had a cross burned on his lawn. Dave Burgess,
then in the US ARMY, got a visit from the Military Police.
Needless to say, there was alot of tension at the time.

As you might imagine retreat was a good option for all.
Bill and Lynn Jolitz found refuge in completing their 
book, The Basic Kernel: Source Code Secrets. They also
worked on finishing the offical 1.0 version. However,
Bill in his entusasium wanted to make it the best he
could and I'm told he swapped out the Virtual Memory
system twice.

As time went on, but well before 1.0, a Newsgroup formed
and Chris Demetrious became the Moderator. The group
was form as a support mechanisum(sp?) for Bill. 
However, individuals (no longer at BSDi) continously
sent messages to cause insurrection and undermined
trust in the community. Eventually, NetBSD was formed
because of the reasons I stated earlier.

FreeBSD form later but many of the original FreeBSD
people were upset at the NetBSD people becuase
they still wanted to support Bill. Eventually
I was the last person standing in support of Bill
and the tension and flames wars (at that time)
centered around anything I said or did. 

Most of the bad blood was (and still is) because
of how code contribtions are handled. The result
as you can see is both groups have Open CVS trees,
unheard of before then, and Open PRs (Problem Reports).
In addition, no one person can stop a piece of code
and no one person has a final say so.

It is well understood, if you don't like the situation,
write your own. This stances comes mostly from Bill Jolitz
because that was his final words when 1.0 was finally

In a sense, alot of the bad blood is Bill's fault, but
other people (including myself) must share the blame.
I could have done more at the time to mend fences, but
I knew that the community could not move forward
without a commone enemy. The eventually found one.
It was Bill and Lynn Jolitz, the original authors
of 386BSD.

So, today myself and other people you would not expect
are trying to get the community back together. 
I can mention Rick Moen of the Cabal, and Ernest 
Prabhakar Appple's Open Source Project Manager.
Together they and other people I should mention are
working hard to get the groups back together, but
as I've said, there is too much bad blood out there.

				Best Regards,