Art McGee on Wed, 30 Mar 2005 17:51:30 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> unix history

> I find many unix/linux histories dont do this and as such
> seem to rewrite the history or gloss over things to fit
> into the free as in speech ideology. The Oral History
> really deals witht he basics of interactive communal
> computing and the way the machine was developed in a way
> these other sources don't touch.

Hold up. Wait a minute. First of all, your conflation of the history of 
Unix with the history of Linux is very problematic.

It's not Unix/Linux, but Unix and Linux.

Although Linux is a direct child of Unix, it has it's own distinct 
history, culture, and community, an insight into which will not 
necessarily tell you what you need to know about Unix overall. Anyone who 
knows anything about Unix can tell you that you can't learn about Unix 
simply by studying Linux-oriented sources. The scientific and engineering 
ethos which gave birth to Unix is in many ways very different from the 
modern FLOSS culture, although the former directly inspired the latter.

The first step to getting on the right track with your research is to 
recognize the unique history and culture of Unix and Linux separately, and 
stop collapsing them into one undifferentiated whole. Once you do that, 
you'll see what most know is self-evident: if you want to learn about 
Unix, you need to search out OLD-SCHOOL sources. Linux sources are 
naturally going to emphasize a lot of the newer ideological, social, and 
political issues, and to be surprised about that is to be in denial of the 
reality of self-interest.


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