Fun Friday – Homer’s Illiad to be “Improved” for Silicon Valley

Well, given the egos in Silicon Valley, it comes as no surprise that a press release like this would appear. It was so inaccurate that the Wall Street Journal got fooled and then had to reverse themselves and say Bill Joy is not a “venture partner” after all. Steve Lohr of the NY Times commented “yes, I was amused by the selective and heroic description of Bill and open source.” Of course, the NY Times wasn’t taken in like the WSJ, were they (press gloating allowed).

What next? Perhaps a new version of Homer’s Illiad, but with Bill Joy as “Achilles” (now why is he sulking in his tent this time? did he finish that book yet?), Michael Moritz as “Zeus” of course (since he makes even Steve Jobs tremble, and that isn’t easy), and of course the beauteous and coveted “Helen” played by Bill Gates, with Larry Ellison as his ambitious and calculating understudy “Eve” (oh, how did “All About Larry” get into the script?). Umm, maybe I’ll skip the premiere.

My personal favorite is how Bill Joy invented the open source OS way back in 1982. Now, I may be a bit hazy about this – I was at Berkeley then after all – but I’m pretty sure I’m married to the Bill who invented the BSD open source OS and my Bill isn’t the Bill who also worked on BSD sockets at Berkeley (and that Bill isn’t nearly as sexy as my Bill).

I’m also pretty sure everyone had to sign source license agreements and follow all that other nasty compliance rigamorole, plus pay a lot to AT&T / Bell Labs (prior – Western Electric) for the privilege of working on a commercial BSD Unix like we had to pay at Symmetric Computer Systems in the 1980’s. In fact, didn’t Sun only get out from under those nasty AT&T / USL royalties in the mid-90’s (with a buyout)? Gee, I don’t know why anybody cared about Linux or 386BSD in the 1990’s if BSD was already open, and why Sun and everybody else signed those nasty license agreements with AT&T in the 1980’s, or why AT&T / USL sued Berkeley in 1992. Do you?

But it got me to thinking – who did really invent the open source OS? We’ve got a lot of choices, ranging from Andy Tanenbaum to Dennis Ritchie, so go ahead and choose right now Who is the Father of the Open Source OS?

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Lynne

Lynne Jolitz is a Silicon Valley OS pioneer, inventor, and startup founder.

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