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Re: Unified BSD?

> - Then came the Unix wars, where AT&T sued BSDI (a commercial variant
>   that no longer exists) over perceived copyright infringement.  The
>   free BSDs weren't really directly involved, but the suit would have
>   been just as relevant, and people were worried.
>   This was the time that Linux was in the ascendancy.  Users had the
>   choice of a free GPL system or one which might land them in
>   trouble.  Most chose the safe option.

I know the view from Germany as to why Linux was taken up so readily,
most people read about it later, & repeat relayed wisdom, but I was
here & know:

        (& BTW though I'm British but in Germany, Germany is far
        more signifcant in this regard than eg UK of GB, eg Linux mag.
        has 3 times the circulation in Germany as UK, & whenever
        I'm in UK I never see Linux mags in book shops etc (& of
        course no BSD) just MS, whereas here in Munich there's some
        choice of Linux mags, even in food supermarket (Tengelmann)
        I recall.

Most newbies were clueless or didnt give a toss about FSF v BSD
licensing then (or now), or some firm called AT&T across the pond
breathing hot air.  (Only us BSD people cared, not many of us).

Old Unix hands like me were earning good money fully employed doing
consultancy, (plenty of work then). Although I thought I maybe
should help spread BSD, & considered knocking out batches of 30/40+
floppies per mail order, it was Very unattractive, labour intensive
formatting, dd'ing, checking for media errors, at a very low pay
rate compare with mich higher paid & more interesting consultancy.

Plus also if one did that under German tax law (I checked with my
Steuer Berater = accountant I recall) it would be subject to Gewerbe
Steuer, & not just for the trivial amount earned on floppies shipped,
but could imperil imposing the extra tax on the Whole of consultancy
income, Very Expensive mistake to risk that. So I didn't & others
didnt; most other consultant friends here were also happy earning
at commercial rates, & didn't want to touch floppy reproduction.

BUT ... meanwhile there was a whole new load of students on low or
no income, & no tax issues to worry about, & young student mode
enthusiasm & time to evangalise their new free software ... Linux
... so one saw adverts for stack of floppies in eg CT Magazine
( & others.

& then CDs came on the scene, even easier for the students to push
out & again I wondered whether I should push out some BSD CDs, &
again colleagues were too busy to reduce their consultancy
income by doing grunt disk jockey work producing & mailing CDROMs
at cheap prices. & Again I was scared of German Gewerbe Steuer ...

So I decided to just do software bundling (safe consultancy work)
& let a commercial firm do manufacture, bulk distrib, German language
correspondence, & German gewerbe Steuer issues etc - Ughh)

So I mastered a combination Live + Install FreeBSD CDROM years
before did theirs, & approached german Linux Mag & Heise
(I think) & (English language, German based) BSD Mag (whatever, the
one from Rosa Riebl) to see if anyone would bundle it stuck to front
page of magazines (to really shift a lot & have BSD make a big
impact in the OS scene.

I didnt get anywhere with that, but I got further with Dr Dobbs USA
mag, & negotiations were going OK, then they decided it would be
too expensive to glue a CD on each cover, & they just wanted to
feature my CD in their library of CDs for sale ... at which point
I lost interest cos:
        - It would fail to impact the market if not sent in bulk 1 per mag.
                (I'd have accepted very low payment for that, as it
                would have helped push BSD significantly)
        - If not on Mag. cover & just in library for sale per individual order,
          I was scared of low sales, & not worth the bother to polish the
          master & maintain it maybe through new releases for low income.

Actually, I still see a market opportunity for someone:
  For BSD (or Linux) shipped on memory sticks.  But I wont touch
  that, especially not in Germany with this tax system, & having
  to deal with thousands of customers at low profit per unit, plus
  a lot of german correspondence (German grammar not nice IMO) ...
  but its still a market BSD or Linux students could exploit (if
  not already ... I havent read CT mag & ads. lately to know if it's
  being done).

Julian Stacey, BSD Unix Linux C Sys Eng Consultant, Munich
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