Bell Labs transfers copyright of influential ‘Plan 9’ OS to new foundation

Unix creators’ sequel-of-sorts seeks simpler licensing, fewer forks of OS that offered precursors to Linux, microservices, etc

Bell Labs has decided the time is right to transfer copyright of Plan 9, the not-Unix OS it created in the 1980s.

Now a unit of Nokia, Bell Labs’ announcement of the shift offers a brief history of the OS.

“Starting in the late 1980s, a group led by Rob Pike and UNIX co-creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie developed Plan 9,” wrote Marcus Weldon, corporate CTO and president at Nokia Bell Labs. “Their motivation was two-fold: to build an operating system that would fit an increasingly distributed world, and to do so in a clean and elegant manner. The plan was not to build directly on the Unix foundation but to implement a new design from scratch.”