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August 20, 2005

Who or what was the KOTF?

I have been asked to prepare an advert to attract medium level Solaris administrator/engineer types. given past experience of job adverts (from both sides of the interview table), I was thinking of trying to be a bit clever and asking only for candidates who knew about the KOTF (Keepers of the Flame). Imagine my dismay to discover that the last known reference to the KOTF (according to Google) was December 1994 - more than 10 years ago. How would a Solaris dude with 5 - 8 years experience know about the KOTF?

Just to set the record straight, the KOTF was a group of Unix admins who disagreed with Sun's decision to migrate from BSD to SysV. Still confused? Way back around 1990 (+/- a few years), Sun announced a decision to switch from a BSD-based operating system (SunOS 4.x) to a System V based operating system (Solaris 2.x). This was a strategic decision for the company - to align with AT&T and become a commercial Unix provider instead of a company that made engineering workstations. At the time, in the middle of the religious-Unix wars, this was more significant that Apple announcing the use of Intel chips.

A fairly large group of end-users of SunOS formed the KOTF* to defend the use of SunOS and to convince Sun it was a bad decision. Things started to build up to a significant impasse between the users refusing to buy into the new technology and Sun refusing to spend any more effort on fixing the old technology. This was resolved to the satisfaction of most people when Sun announced that it would include a BSD compatibility kit (/usr/ucb) with Solaris. The downside was that it further delayed the actual release and Sun eventually re-badged SunOS as "Solaris 1.x" pending the eventual release of the SysV code.

So, to cut a long preamble short, it is probably not a good idea to mention the KOTF. I wonder what other gimmick I could use to make the adverts interesting but selective....

[* At the time I was very active of the KOTF newsgroups** (teaching people how to make SunOS do the things that Solaris could do).]

[** The only other newsgroup I was very active in was aus.flame.gareth.powell :-)]

Posted by Ozguru at August 20, 2005 06:00 AM