My first job was with a small company in 1989. They'd gone with SCO Xenix on a 286 machine (IIRC the 386 was still on the horizon at that point.) I looked briefly at BSD as a potentially less expensive and more feature rich alternative to that, but at the time the only options was to order tapes of the distribution and I didn't even know if it would work on our hardware. Even if that'd have been guaranteed, I'd still have to convince the boss to buy a tape drive to try it out. Given the fact that our immediate solution wasn't broke (even if it had cost $1200 for the base OS,) that would have been a tough sell.
Over the next couple years I worked there we looked onto potentially OS/2 and... I want to say DRM DOS? as a potentially cheaper multitasking alternative to Xenix on our systems. Even though I was nominally aware of BSD, the amount of tinkering to even try to get it working was intimidating, and we didn't have the immediate need for it.
By the mid 90's people were really starting to talk about Linux in exactly the sort of way they were NOT talking about BSD. I looked at the procedure to install it -- download a bunch of slakware install floppies off the newfangled internets (24 install floppies as I recall, which took for-fucking-ever! And I accidentally FTPed the first two in text mode. Shit!) and boot that shit up. I specifically remember finding the installer to be far less sucktastic than either the OS/2 installer or the Windows 3.1 installer that you ran shortly after pirating MS DOS (Which you typically would do even if you had a legitimate MS DOS install on your system.)
In short order, I had a working Linux system with a working C compiler, no fuss, no muss. Well some fuss -- couldn't run X11 very well on the VGA controller I had, but I was fine with a text console until I bought a computer that wasn't made out of duct tape and baling wire, that being the custom of the time. I almost immediately set up a TCP/IP network between the real computer and the baling wire computer, too, experimented with NFS, all that fun stuff. Got my system pwned several times, you know, all the usual stuff you go through to learn how to become a halfway decent Linux admin.
So yeah, for me at least it was all about accessibility. Minix was just a toy and BSD required a wizard hat and robe.