If RMS was reading oldusenet in the last 24 hours, as he fine-tuned the wording of his famous announcement, here are two things he would have seen:

Maryland software distribution

A Lisp system, including a windowing system.

This flexible package allows convenient management of multiple contexts on the screen and runs on ordinary character display terminals as well as bit-mapped displays.

For just $100, but check out the license:

In exchange for the Maryland software tape, I certify to the
following:

a.  I will not use any of the Maryland software distribution in a
    commercial product without obtaining permission from Maryland
    first.
b.  I will keep the Maryland copyright notices in the source code,
    and acknowledge the source of the software in any use I make of
    it.
c.  I will not redistribute this software to anyone without permission
    from Maryland first.
d.  I will keep Maryland informed of any bug fixes.
e.  I am the appropriate person at my site who can make guarantees a-d.

New Kernel!

No, it's not Linux. ;) But it is an improved Unix kernel for the PDP-11.

And so nine months ago we (oops, sorry, 'we' are Professor Robert Michael Owens, John Irwin, and David Eckhardt) set out to transform version 7 into something useable. To make a long story short, we think we've done so. So now we have considered trying to market/give-away our UNIX. Like 4.1, it would require a V7 license.

That's an existing AT&T Unix license, required to see the new kernel source code that these guys are otherwise mostly ready to give away to anyone with interest.


I'm surprised these popped up in just the past 24 hours. They are not the first such posts on Usenet of course. But the proprietary software is certianly coming thick and fast in the hours before RMS began to change everything!

I'm sure that, as RMS was reading Usenet (and Arpanet) before this, he saw much more than this. He'd have seen a trend toward free sharing of code, enabled on an unprecedented level by the new networks. And at the same time he'd have seen each site trying to piece together their own Unix from software they licenced and hints posted on the net. He'd have seen the hacker ethos exploding, at the same time that a public who had just recently been exposed to "hacking" in War Games started to think they were all criminals. He'd have seen so, so much potential, hobbled on technical and social and legal levels.

And more than anyone else, he did something about it. In 1 hour from now you can see what, in the net.unix-wizards newsgroup on nntp.olduse.net.

Update:

Note that the RMS post does not pop up on olduse.net until 30 minutes from now. An unexplained oddity in the Date header; some archived copies have 12:35 and some like mine, 13:35.

Also, olduse.net ignores NNTP propigation delays. The post actually took some time to propigate over time-delayed dialup usenet!

Date-Received: Thu, 29-Sep-83 07:38:11 EDT

Comment by joeyh.name Fri Sep 27 17:09:19 2013