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The focus of this category is on the family of Unix-like operating systems that stemmed from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a now-discontinued OS based on Research Unix.

Unix was an early operating system developed by AT&T and Bell Labs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although Unix would later become proprietary and expensive, the earliest versions of the OS included the source code, allowing researchers to modify and extend the system.

These versions are known as Research Unix and, starting with the 8th edition, versions of Research Unix had a close relationship to BSD. Developed at Berkeley, BSD was used as the basis for the 8th edition of Unix.

The first versions of BSD used proprietary AT&T Unix code and were subject to the AT&T software license. By then, source code licenses had become very expensive, and there was a growing interest in a separate release of code, to be developed outside of AT&T and not subject to its licensing requirements. The result was Networking Release 1 (Net/1), released in 1989, which was freely distributable under the terms of the BSD License.

With all of the AT&T code replaced by 1991, Net/2 was a nearly complete OS that was freely distributable. A lawsuit was filed by AT&T's Unix System Laboratories, but it was settled in BSD's favor.

Net/2 became the basis of a proprietary and a free port to the 80386 architecture. One became BSD/386, while the other was initial codebase for NetBSD and FreeBSD.

Development of BSD at Berkeley was discontinued after a 1995 release. Since then, several variants have been based on the BSD code, including FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and DragonFly BSD. The permissive nature of BSD licensure has allowed several other operating systems to incorporate portions of the BSD code, parts of which were incorporated into Microsoft Windows, Apple's macOS and iOS, and Solaris, although these operating systems are not generally considered to be part of the BSD family.



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