Hacker's Dictionary: Unix conspiracy

Unix conspiracy: /n./  [ITS] According to a conspiracy theory
   long popular among {{ITS}} and {{TOPS-20}} fans, Unix's growth is
   the result of a plot, hatched during the 1970s at Bell Labs, whose
   intent was to hobble AT&T's competitors by making them dependent
   upon a system whose future evolution was to be under AT&T's
   control.  This would be accomplished by disseminating an operating
   system that is apparently inexpensive and easily portable, but also
   relatively unreliable and insecure (so as to require continuing
   upgrades from AT&T).  This theory was lent a substantial impetus in
   1984 by the paper referenced in the {back door} entry.

   In this view, Unix was designed to be one of the first computer
   viruses (see {virus}) -- but a virus spread to computers
   indirectly by people and market forces, rather than directly
   through disks and networks.  Adherents of this `Unix virus' theory
   like to cite the fact that the well-known quotation "Unix is snake
   oil" was uttered by DEC president Kenneth Olsen shortly before DEC
   began actively promoting its own family of Unix workstations.
   (Olsen now claims to have been misquoted.)

                          --- The Hacker's Dictionary v3.3.2

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