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Compatibility woes / deprecation (Miscellaneous)

posted by marcov(R), 18.02.2009, 22:32
(edited by marcov on 18.02.2009, 22:43)

> > However IMHO they are a minor footnote in computing history, and not the
> > glorious revolution it is often pretended to be.
> I agree that it's not the holy grail of the programming world, but it's
> better than nothing.

I'm saying that you don't know that. Maybe the standards helped create an artificial Unix world that in the long run was fragmented more to get an initial improvement that without these standards.

> "Hey, why not develop your own standard then?" you
> would probably say to me if I disliked it. :-P

They tried to stop the gap with additional standards and initiatives, but worse, the mentality of minimalistic lowest denomitor compromises stuck. See the Gnome vs KDE wars, and their half hearted attempts to get a lowest common denomitor standards and interoperability. (like Freedesktop, but also the stange ways both have a "super" media streaming system that are connected to eachothers via all kinds of halfhearted plugins )

Well, at least we have come close to my opinion on the matter here, by example of extremes. A totally multi decennium Dos on one hand, a totally hackety patchy infinitely complexly versioned Unix without any decent definition of the API (except a few unparsable C headers) on the other side:-)

> > Also detaching Unix a bit from AT&T was a main objective. AT&T didn't
> see
> > Unix as core business.
> AT&T
> was legally prohibited from selling the OS outright due to their huge
> commercial influence (which is now strangely being resurrected after
> various mergers and exclusivity deals). They were too big for their
> britches and had to be split up "back in the day". Or so I'm told.

Yes and no. That was the reason for the original proliferation, but that cleared up in the early nineties when the split was complete and the limitations went off (the BSD vs AT&T lawsuits and the following Settlement).

However AT&T had two problems to enforce its claims; first it had sold way to broad licenses during the breakup times (which made it hard to go after licensensees), and when they went after BSD (the academic branch of Unix), it turned out they had absorbed heaps of BSD code without proper attribution.

Officially, the Settlement ('93 iirc) was a compromise, but in practice BSDi (UC) had won. Unfortunately it was a Pyrrhic victory because the years long strangehold of the case, and the minor but labourous cleanup slowed BSD.

Though to be honest I think the fragmentation into the flavours we know today, as well (especially) a better focus on "home" hardware helped Linux more. IIRC even though I had years long experience with BSD on the university, I installed Linux (which I only knew by reputation) because I didn't have SCSI hardware at home, and Linux supported IDE. (95-96 timeframe)


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