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Salon: The Free Software Project - Chapter 2, Part 1: BSD Unix: Power to the people, from the codeMay 16, 2000, 05:15 (1 Talkback[s])
"Berkeley Unix has morphed through multiple phase shifts since its inception some 20 years ago, from the Joy-dominated era of the late '70s and early '80s to the more collaborative period that began after Joy's departure to Sun in 1982. But in the early '90s, after a bitter confrontation with AT&T, BSD finally did become "freely redistributable," and descendants of BSD -- led by FreeBSD, but also including OpenBSD and NetBSD -- are vigorous participants in the contemporary battle for operating-system supremacy. Yahoo, arguably the world's busiest Web site, runs on FreeBSD. And yet, despite its proud heritage, BSD's current status doesn't quite match up to its early fame. A victim of schisms within its own developer community, bruised by the battle with AT&T and wounded by the defection of Joy to Sun, BSD is currently a small player, especially as compared with Linux. Linux-based operating systems have seized the public imagination."
"BSD patriots argue that the battle is far from over, that BSD is technically superior and will therefore win in the end. That's for the future to determine. What's indisputable is BSD's contribution in the past. Even if, by 1975, Berkeley's Free Speech Movement was a relic belonging to a fast-fading generation, on the fourth floor of Evans Hall, where Joy shared an office, the free-software movement was just beginning."
"The connection between the two movements is clear, if not direct. By demonstrating the power of cooperative software development, and by strengthening the software backbone of the Internet so it could further nurture such development, BSD helped enable the creation of a medium that will do more to spread free speech than anything hitherto constructed. Power to the people, from the code."
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