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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • by jordan (120) on 2002.10.11 19:35 (#13833) Homepage Journal
    • One other thing I think the free software community has learned as a whole that will play a prominent role in making HURD usable and popular is how to port an OS across architectures. BSD lite started out as an Intel OS. I think. (Actually, it was a descendant of a VAX OS, which was a descendant of a PDP OS. But who's counting?)

    BSD started life as a set of patches to AT&T V7 Unix and it initially ran on PDP 11s. AT&T had that same kernel running on several different architectures at that point. AT&T was bragging in the mid/late 70s at how easy it was to port Unix. The line I seem to recall was that the Unix Kernel was only 700 lines of assembly on a PDP11, replace that part and you had a port (actually, the issues were more complex than this due to various endian assumptions that had to be worked out in the C, but those were largely eradicated from the AT&T Kernels sometime in the 70s).

    Now, it may be true that Berkeley only had PDP 11s and later VAXes to work with for a while. I'm not really sure when they had other architectures running, but this page [sindominio.net] mentions the Power 6/32, whatever that was.

    However, by the time BSDlite hit the scene, BSD, in some form or another, had been ported to 68000s, Sparc (Sun OS 4 was BSD), MIPS (DEC Ultrix was BSD), NS320xx, Motorola 88000 (? Pretty sure DG Aviion was BSD based), and numerous others, I think. Pretty much every Unix vendor in the 80s except AT&T were selling their own version of BSD.

    The Free Software community did not invent porting Unix, nor did they really extend the science of it. Perhaps they did it more, that's all.

    • Well, I knew there was a lot more porting involved in there that I was leaving out. I specifically knew about Motorola chips and some of the other things you mentioned. Yes, UNIX has always been very portable. I consider the "free software community" to be a descendant of that same group that was doing that work back then.

      I do know that NetBSD reached new heights of portability. They reached the point a long time ago when a single driver could be used in the OS on different architectures. Very modula

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Let me rephrase again. :)

      What the community has learned is not how to port an OS. That's textbook. (Well, sorta.) What the community has learned is how to throw the open, distributed development model at the task of OS portability effectively. Very effectively. I'm anxious to see it thrown at HURD.

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers