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February 24, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Within days of Unix Systems Group and the University of California at Berkeley settling their cross-lawsuits (CI No 2,358) Unix Systems Group also settled its 18-month-old legal dispute with Berkeley Software Design Inc, withdrawing its charges of copyright infringement, trade secret violations, inducing breech of contract and unfair competition against the little University spin-out. The Unix Systems Group-Berkeley Software clash represented something of a cultural crisis for the industry and was seen by some to pit the tecchie against Big Business. The terms of the settlement require Berkeley Software to substitute a version of the new 4.4 BSD-Lite code that the University is supposed to create as a result of its settlement with Unix Systems Group, for the BSD/386 software it has been selling. Most importantly, this new 4.4 BSD-Lite will not require a Unix Systems Group licence or royalty payment, yet it is understood it will retain virtually all the functionality of the University’s old Net2 code that kicked off the original rumpus. Net2 files that supposedly infringe on Unix Systems Group’s copyright will be dropped from 4.4 BSD-Lite and rewritten, and the school will add a number of new enhancements. BSD-Lite may be available within a month. Meanwhile, according to the Berkeley Software settlement, the little Colorado Springs, Colorado company can continue to distribute its original BSD/386 code for a limited period of time although certain portions of it can only be sold as binary code. All other terms of the Berkeley Software settlement have been labelled confidential, suggesting that the spin-out did not walk away from its run-in with Unix Systems Group scott-free. Rob Kolstad, recently appointed president of Berkeley Software, said last week he was feeling like David after his bout with Goliath, and explained the anticipated changes in Berkeley Software code as merely upgrading 16 source files out of thousands. Berkeley Software now intends to try to do some serious business and has mounted a search for a vice-president of marketing, something it has never had. Last week it also said it would immediately begin distributing BSD/386 1.1, an update that includes new drivers, new video drivers, enhanced networking and the ability to access MS-DOS files with Unix commands. BSD/386 source code, for 80386, 80486 and Pentium architectures, currently sells for $1,045 and binary for $545 for the first licence, with added ones at $200 apiece. Berkeley Software says it is now working on a Santa Cruz Operation Inc Unix binary emulation mode for the current version of its software and has a Sparc implementation in hand.

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