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Nikolai Bezroukov. Portraits of Open Source Pioneers

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Unix Wars of 1987-1993: POSIX as a result of struggle of AT&T and Sun against the rest of the world

In 1987, AT&T entered an alliance to develop a standard Unix version with Sun Microsystems, the leading vendor of the BSD Unix variant. As the result of this move in 1989, USL released SVR4, which integrated the System V and BSD Unix baselines that brought  the best features from the many versions of UNIX into a single unified system. While many applauded this decision, one group of UNIX licensees expressed the fear that Sun would have a huge commercial advantage over the rest of the licensees.

The concerned group in 1988 formed a special interest group, the Open Systems Foundation (OSF), to lobby for an "open" UNIX within the UNIX community. Soon several large companies -- who at the time were promoting their own proprietary operating systems in competition to UNIX -- also joined the OSF.

Not to be outstaged, AT&T, Sun and several other Unix licensees formed their own group, UNIX International.

The technical issues soon took a back seat to what can be charitably described as competitive maneuverings which got the historic name of  "UNIX wars." Those wars were not without positive results: they lead to creation of  Portable Operating System Interface Specifications (POSIX).

 At the beginning the Open Group's Single UNIX Specification was separate from the official IEEE POSIX.  Later it cane under IEEE umbrella and the result was POSIX  specifications. Here is relevant quote from POSIX.1 FAQ

Q0. What is POSIX? What is POSIX.1?

POSIX is a registered trademark of the IEEE.

POSIX is an acronym for

Although originated to refer to the original IEEE Std 1003.1-1988, the name POSIX more correctly refers to a family of related standards: IEEE Std 1003.n (where n is a number) and the parts of ISO/IEC 9945. The term POSIX was originally used as a synonym for IEEE Std 1003.1-1988. A preferred term for that standard, POSIX.1, emerged. This maintained the advantages of readability of the symbol ``POSIX'' without being ambiguous with the POSIX family of standards.

For a full listing of the project numbers see PASC Standing Document SD11.

The name POSIX was suggested by Richard Stallman. It is expected to be pronounced pahz-icks, as in positive, not poh-six, or other variations. The pronunciation has been published in an attempt to promulgate a standardized way of referring to a standard operating system interface.

The latest version of the POSIX.1 standard is IEEE Std 1003.1, 2004 Edition, developed by the Austin Group (see later). For further information on the background, audience and purpose of POSIX.1 see the following document:

URL:http://www.opengroup.org/austin/papers/backgrounder.html.

Linus became interested in POSIX in mid-1991, when he was already in the middle of the creation of version 0.01 of Linux:

> From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
> Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
> Subject: Gcc-1.40 and a posix-question
> Message-ID: <1991 Jul3.100050.9886@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
> Date: 3 Jul 91 10:00:50 GMT
>
> Hello netlanders,
>
> Due to a project I'm working on (in minix), I'm interested in the posix
> standard definition. Could somebody please point me to a (preferably)
> machine-readable format of the latest posix rules? Ftp-sites would be
> nice


Etc

Society

Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy

Quotes

War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes

Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D


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