LinuxFr.org : If you could return in the past to change the MINIX original proprietary licence to the GPL licence, do you think your system might have become the dominant free OS today?
Andrew Tanenbaum : Never. The reason MINIX 3 didn’t dominate the world has to do with one mistake I made about 1992. At that time I thought BSD was going to take over the world. It was a mature and stable system. I didn’t see any point in competing with it, so I focused MINIX on education. Four of the BSD guys had just formed a company to sell BSD commercially. They even had a nice phone number: 1-800-ITS-UNIX. That phone number did them and me in. AT&T sued them over the phone number and the lawsuit took 3 years to settle. That was precisely the period Linux was launched and BSD was frozen due to the lawsuit. By the time it was settled, Linux had taken off. My mistake was not to realize the lawsuit would take so long and cripple BSD. If AT&T had not brought suit (or better yet, bought BSDI), Linux would never have become popular at all and BSD would dominate the world.
Read the whole interview with the author of MINIX at Linuxfr.org.