|Jolitz Heritage ]||
What is happening with 386BSD now?
Is 386BSD lost and gone forever? No, it isn't. The work on 386BSD continues to this day.
The386BSD Release 1.0 Reference CDROM, a cooperative venture with William and Lynne Jolitz and Dr. Dobbs Journal, was a compendium of five years (1989 to 1994) of articles, writings, code annotations, and source code of the 386BSD project, with periodic updates. The CDROM was sold through CMP Publications from 1994 through 1997. In 1996 we published Volume 1 in the our operating systems series Operating System Source Code Secrets Volume 1: The Basic Kernel.
At this point, the work to develop a modular Unix operating system was completed, and 386BSD became a much more interesting project. Ironically, it was the attempt by *BSD offshoots of 386BSD to deal a deathblow to their progenitor through a concerted whinefest campaign (we still hear the pathetic "Bill abandoned us" moans to this day) that allowed us to move on and finally work on the ideas we had in new design without the need to meet hard release deadlines and short-term political agendas. Of course, as we anticipated, the struggle for dominance led them to assemble dead-end implementations inferior to the Linux juggernaut. Berkeley Unix was always strongest in future and new directions, and weakest in anticipating and meeting the daily demands of a fickle customer base. Unlike many of the *BSD groups, we had real job experience in both research (through Berkeley) and in the commercial realm, and not surprisingly the goals are often conflicting. A maxim in the business world is "Play to your strengths". In throwing away their fundamental strength, the *BSD splinter groups lost the present and the future. We chose the future, if only because it was the right thing to do.
Some of this new work has been described by Lynne Jolitz in her 2002 paper for the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference entitled From 386bsd to OSPREY: The Evolution of an Operating System exploring examining server constraints from the standpoint of operating systems architecture.
New writings and work appear occasionally through Jolix. We chose to use the Jolix name since it is a personal view of how operating systems can be evolved beyond the BSD paradigms to fit modern needs. Unix as envisioned by Dennis Ritchie way back in the mid-1970's is over thirty years old. Perhaps we'll find that Unix is completely obviated by a different paradigm of computing as it becomes more and more obsolete in an interconnected mobile world. Or perhaps we'll be able to cudgel together the old monolithic kernel idea one more time.
Or maybe, just maybe, the world will be complex enough that no one paradigm can dominate all areas of computing from routers to mobile gadgets. In that case, doesn't it stand to reason that the same will be true of operating systems?