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Linux Turns 20

  • August 30, 2011
  • By Sean Kerner

The Linux era began 20 years ago last week with a simple message sent by a Finnish developer by the name of Linus Torvalds. The Linux Planet and everything on it all evolved from that moment when it all began.

This past week, the Linux Planet continued the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Linux. The platform that began with that simple message 20 years ago expanded this past week with multiple updates from Linux vendors large and small.

1. Fedora 16 Hits Alpha.

The next generation of Red Hat's community Linux distribution debuted the first milestone of its next-generation release this past week.

Fedora 16 includes the GRUB2 boot-loader and better integration of Systemd. From a security perspective, Fedora has improved on the SELinux security system with pre-built policies that are faster to deploy.

The new Fedora release also includes multiple updates for the cloud, including support for the GlusterFS filesystem and an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) project called Condor Cloud.

The alpha release for Fedora is the first step in a process that will take the next three months to complete. General availability for Fedora 16 is currently scheduled for November 1.

2. Mandriva 2011 released

The distribution that was once known as Mandrake has faced multiple challenges over the years. Yet despite those challenges, new releases keep on coming.

The latest release, Mandriva 2011 is now out providing users with a new look installer that aims to make it easier to get started with the Linux distribution.

Mandriva 2011 also debuts the Mandriva Package Manager (MPM) system as a way to handle application packages.

On the desktop, Mandriva 2011 gives users a taste of the RocketBar panel, which is a fork of the standard KDE 4.x panel. No, it's not as dramatic an issue as, say, Ubuntu Unity and Gnome Shell, but it's still an interesting twist on the default KDE panel.

3. Arch Linux 2011.5.19

Arch Linux isn't like Fedora or Mandriva in a number of ways. One of the differences is that Arch doesn't really do releases. Arch Linux, unlike Fedora or Mandriva, has a rolling release such that packages are regularly updated and there isn't a firm new release data for a new distribution.

From time to time, however, Arch updates its installation media for new users and installations. That's the case with the Arch Linux 2011.8.19 media update.

The update is actually the first update to the Arch installation media since May 2010.

The Arch Linux 2011.8.19 media is based on the new Linux 3 kernel and also includes experimental support for the btrfs filesystem.

4. Network Manager 0.9

For those who use GNOME as their desktop, NetworkManager is a critical piece of infrastructure. This past week NetworkManager was updated to version 0.9.

The new release provides support for fast user switching.

"As a result of the simplified 0.9 architecture, each user gets their own network applet and each applet can control networking independently, provided that user has permissions to do so," GNOME developer Dan Williams blogged.

5.) Linux at 20

August 19, 1991 is the day that Linus Torvalds first announced Linux to the world. It's a project that he thought would be just a hobby. Twenty years later, Linux runs the world, from the core infrastructure of the Internet to stock exchanges and Android phones.

All that started with a simple message to a mailing list, which has now become one of the the most famous posting in Internet history.

From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small poll for my new operating system
Message-ID: <1991Aug25.205708.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki

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 onthings 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 (torvalds@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 :-(

Happy 20th Birthday, Linux and thank you, Linus, for making that post 20 years ago. Your hobby makes the Linux Planet go around.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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