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Linux Turns 23

  • August 25, 2014
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

It was 23 years ago today that the great social and technological experiment we know today as Linux began. On August 25 1991, University of Helsinki student Linus Torvalds wrote what is now likely the most famous  usenet message ever written:

Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT

Organization: University of Helsinki

Lines: 20

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 (torv...@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 :-(.

From such humble beginning has emerged one of the most transformative forces in all of technology history. Linux today is everywhere, from the smallest embedded devices to powering nearly 100 percent of world's supercomputers.

At the LinuxCon conference last week in Chicago, Torvalds was asked where Linux has left to go.

"I still want the desktop," Torvalds said.

Considering that the original design was to never,"…support anything other than AT-harddisks," Linux sure has come a long way. The desktop dream isn't what it might have been in the 1990's either, given that the desktop in 2014 isn't quite the same thing. Web server based apps, mobile devices and even the rise of the Chromebook have all in some way already delivered a Linux-based desktop today.

In any event, Happy 23rd Linux - our world, the Linux Planet would not exist without you and neither would the modern world.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at LinuxPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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