from the not-quite-over-the-hill dept.
riverat1 writes "After AT&T dropped the Multics project in March of 1969, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie of Bell Labs continued to work on the project, through a combination of discarded equipment and subterfuge, eventually writing the first programming manual for System I in November 1971. A paper published in 1974 in the Communications of the ACM on Unix brought a flurry of requests for copies. Since AT&T was restricted from selling products not directly related to telephones or telecommunications, they released it to anyone who asked for a nominal license fee. At conferences they displayed the policy on a slide saying, 'No advertising, no support, no bug fixes, payment in advance.' From that grew an ecosystem of users supporting users much like the Linux community. The rest is history."
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)