Berkeley Software Distribution

What Does Berkeley Software Distribution Mean?

Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) is a prominent version of the Unix operating system that was developed and distributed by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) from the University of California at Berkeley between 1977 and 1995. This operating system was originally made for the PDP-11 and DEC VAX computers.


Techopedia Explains Berkeley Software Distribution

AT&T started licensing its Unix OS for next to nothing in the mid 1970s, around the time that Version 6 was released. As a result, a lot of organizations and even individuals were able to obtain the C source code of the OS. During the time that UC Berkeley got the source code, Ken Thompson, co-creator of Unix, was teaching there as a visiting faculty member. With the help of students, researchers, and Sun co-founder Billy Joy, they improved the base Unix source code and developed what came to be known as the Berkeley Software Distribution. It became one of the two prominent Unix versions, along with System V, which was created by AT&T. DARPA funded the CSRG, which then became the most important Unix developer apart from Bell Labs itself.

The SunOS by Sun Microsystems was based on BSD 4.2 and even System V incorporated many BSD features in its fourth release. Because a lot of Unix systems are descended from System V rel. 4, they include a significant BSD influence.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.