History of the Berkeley Software Distributions


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Learn the history of the BSD (Berkeley Software Distributions) from one of the key developers who brings the history to life complete with anecdotes and interesting footnotes to the historical narrative.

Part I is titled ``Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix: From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable''. The history of Unix development at Berkeley has been recounted in detail by Marshall Kirk McKusick in his chapter in the O'Reilly book Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution and is now recounted in part one of this video. It begins with the start of the BSD community at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1970's. It relates the triumps and defeats of the project and its releases during its heydays in the 1980s. It concludes with the tumultuous lawsuit ultimately settled in Berkeley's favor which allowed the final release in 1992 of 4.4BSD-Lite, an open-source version of BSD.

Part II is titled ``Building and Running An Open-Source Community: The FreeBSD Project''. It tells the story of the independent development by the FreeBSD project starting from the open-source release from Berkeley. The FreeBSD project patterned its initial community structure on the development structure built up at Berkeley. It evolved and expanded that structure to create a self-organizing project that supports an ever growing and changing group of developers around the world. This part concludes with a description of the roles played by the thousands of volunteer developers that make up the FreeBSD Project of today.

Dr. Marshall Kirk McKusick's work with Unix and BSD development spans nearly thirty years. It begins with his first paper on the implementation of Berkeley Pascal in 1979, goes on to his pioneering work in the eighties on the BSD Fast File System, the BSD virtual memory system, the final release of 4.4BSD-Lite from the UC Berkeley Computer Systems Research Group, and carries on with his work on FreeBSD. A key figure in Unix and BSD development, his experiences chronicle not only the innovative technical achievements but also the interesting personalities and philosophical debates in Unix over the past thirty years.

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