Show Sidebar Log in

It was twenty years ago today…

Tux - the mascot of the Linux kernelWhat happened on 25th August 1991? Well, it wasn’t when Sgt Pepper taught the band to play! :D

Nope. definitely not. However, something very significant in the world of computing occurred on this very day 20 years ago. A young student in Helsinki named Linus Torvalds sent the following email to the Minix newsgroup:

Hello everybody out there using minix –

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).

I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)

Linus (torva…@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

PS. Yes – it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.

And the rest – as they say – is history. Since Linus’ original release his free operating system has grown and grown as is now better known to the world as GNU/Linux (by purists) or simply Linux (by the rest of world + dog). Linux itself is a contraction of “Linus’ Unix”.

If you haven’t tried the accumulated efforts of Linus, the GNU Project and the vast community around the world, we suggest you do.

Linux 20th birthday timeline
Image courtesy of The Linux Foundation

Happy birthday (GNU)Linux from all at Bristol Wireless – one of your countless beneficiaries both large and small around the world.