I found this on the wall outside someone's office on a visit to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus circa 1993. It was xerox'd from a magazine called OST.

(This is a bit dated now (ca. 2002) -- it refers to the time when Sun Microsystems changed the basis of their Unix operating system from BSD 4.3 to System V.4, which I was violently opposed to at the time....)

And The Sun We Admired Most Took The Last Train For The Coast

Anyone who reads net news regularly will come across little gems of humor on a regular basis. But when two members of OST's staff take the trouble to E-mail the same jocular jottings into our Etc. page editor, it's time for us to bring it to our readers' attention.

This edited song parody, ``The Day SunOS Died,'' is sung to the tune ``American Pie,'' and is reprinted with the permission of the lyricist, N.R. ``Norm'' Lunde, with his apologies offered to Don McLean:

Remember when those guys out West
With their longish hair and paisley vests
Were starting up, straight out of UCB?
They used those Motorola chips
Which at the time were really hip
And looked upon the world through VME.
Their first attempt ran like a pig
But it was the start of something big.
They called the next one the Sun2
And though they only sold a few,
It soon gave birth unto the new
Sun3, which was their pride.
And now they're singing,

Bye, bye, SunOS 4.1.3!
ATT System V has replaced BSD.
You can cling to the standards of the industry
But only if you pay the right fee---
Only if you pay the right fee . . .

The hardware wasn't all was sold.
Their Berkeley port was solid gold;
It interfaced with System V, no less!
They implemented all the stuff
That Berkeley thought would be enough
Then added RPC and NFS.
It was a lot of code to cram
Into just 4 Megs of RAM.
The later revs were really cool,
With added values like SunTools.
But then they took us all for fools
By peddling Solaris . . .
And they were singing,


They took a RISC and kindled SPARC.
The difference was like light and dark.
The Sun4s were the fastest and the best.
The user base was having fun
Installing SunOS 4.1.
But what was coming no one could have guessed.
The installed base was sound
And software did abound.
While all the hackers laughed and played
Already plans were being made
To make the dubious ``upgrade''
To Sun's new Solaris . . .
And Sun was singing,


The cartridge tapes were first to go---
The CD-ROM's a must, you know.
And floppy drives will soon go out the door.
I tried to call and ask them why
But the took away my TTY
And left my modem lying on the floor.
While they were on a roll
They moved the damned Control.
The Ethernet's now twisted pair
Which no one uses anywhere.
ISDN is still more rare---
The bandwidth's even less!
But still they're singing,


But worst of all is what they've done
To software that we used to run,
Like DBX and even /bin/cc.
Compilers now have license locks
Wrapped up in OpenWindows crocks---
We even have to pay for GCC!
The applications broke;
/usr/local went up in smoke.
The features we've depended on
Before too long will all be gone.
But Sun, I'm sure, will carry on
By peddling Solaris,
Forever singing,


Eric D. Hendrickson
Last modified: Tue Feb 19 22:42:49 CST 2002