Your summary and timeline are accurate. Bill singlehanded started the
BSD distributions in 1977. 1BSD had Pascal, csh, and ex. Bill wrote
the first two and vastly improved an editor that he got from someone
else. By 2BSD he had contributions from other graduate students at
Berkeley including myself. CSRG was formed as 3BSD was coming together
and included code from many folks inside and outside of Berkeley.

        Kirk McKusick


Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 13:20:57 +1000
From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <>
To: Chuck Robey <>
Cc:, Rick N <>,
Subject: Bill Joy's contribution (was: BSD)

On Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 20:07:54 -0400, Chuck Robey wrote:
> Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
>> On Tuesday, 21 April 2009 at 11:05:24 +0000, Rick N wrote:
>>>   (Actually) and Histrorically, Sun had a lot to do with the BSD's
>>> (and vice-versa), Bill Joy's early work and contibution to the
>>> BSD/Unix which later he took to form a little company called Sun
>>> Microsytems in the late '70's.
>> This is more than a slight understatement.  Bill Joy created BSD, more
>> or less single-handedly.
> Suppose this could be true, but it's not what I read ... that it
> started with the 4 folks in the CSRG, but began (pretty early on)
> getting contributions from all over the globe.  I wouldn't want to
> minimize what Bill Joy did, but saying he did it "more of less
> singlehandedly" seems to be an unfair exaggeration.

The CSRG came much later.  There's some relatively accurate info in
Wikipedia.  First, at :

  Other universities became interested in the software at Berkeley,
  and so in 1977 Bill Joy, then a graduate student at Berkeley,
  assembled and sent out tapes of the first Berkeley Software
  Distribution (1BSD).

At :

  In 1980 Professor Fabry signed a contract with the Defense Advanced
  Research Projects Agency to develop UNIX even further to accommodate
  the specific requirements of the ARPAnet. With the funding of DARPA,
  Fabry created the Computer Systems Research Group.

Clearly Bill Joy didn't do all the work over the years, but he started
it off ("created it").  Once CSRG came along, he was only one of many.
Of course, the real person to state the question is mckusick@, who
described the whole thing in "Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix"

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