Chris' Linux / Unix Page

Chud's Linux Page




Hi, my name is Chris, aka Chud, and I'm Registered Linux User # 290240 (click here to join the Linux Counter)

Linux History

In 1991 the main operating systems available in the PC world were DOS and Apple. Unix existed, but was too expensive for PC users. However, college professor Andrew Tanenbaum wrote a book called 'Operating Systems' which gave the source code for a Unix-like operating system called Minix.

Meanwhile at the University of Helsinki in Finland, a Computer Science student named Linus Torvalds was tinkering. He wanted a Unix-like operating system; Minix was good but was designed primarily as a teaching tool.

Back track for a moment to the early 1980's. At that time a famous programmer named Richard Stallman, who had created the emacs text editor, had grown tired of the restrictions of proprietary software and operating systems. Stallman felt that software should be shared openly in order to make it better and more efficient. He had created the GNU project back in 1983 to work towards this goal (by the way, the name GNU is a recursive acronym which actually stands for 'GNU is Not Unix'). Then in 1984 Stallman began writing GCC (the GNU C Compiler). Soon GNU had developed many tools, but still needed a kernel for the operating system; enter Linus Torvalds.

On August 25, 1991 this historic post was sent to the Minux news group by Linus:

From: [email protected] (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: <[email protected]>
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 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, andI'd like to know what features most people would want. Any
suggestions are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)
Linus ([email protected])
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 :-(.

Linus did not believe at that time that his operating system would be anything bigger than a hobby project. Linux version 0.01 was released in September 1991 and posted on the internet. Interest in it grew, and many people began to pitch in and contribute to the project. Version 0.02 came out on October 5th, along with this message from Linus:

From: [email protected] (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: Free minix-like kernel sources for 386-AT
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 5 Oct 91 05:41:06 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki
Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? Are you
without a nice project and just dying to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your
needs? Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on minix? No more all-nighters to get a nifty program
working? Then this post might be just for you :-)
As I mentioned a month(?) ago, I'm working on a free version of a minix-lookalike for AT-386 computers. It has
finally reached the stage where it's even usable (though may not be depending on
what you want), and I am willing to put out the sources for wider distribution. It is  just version 0.02 (+1 (very
small) patch already), but I've successfully run bash/gcc/gnu-make/gnu-sed/compress etc under it.
Sources for this pet project of mine can be found at nic.funet.fi (128.214.6.100) in the directory /pub/OS/Linux.
The directory also contains some README-file and a couple of binaries to work under linux
(bash, update and gcc, what more can you ask for :-). Full kernel source is provided, as no minix code has been
used. Library sources are only partially free, so that cannot be distributed currently. The system is able to compile
"as-is" and has been known to work. Heh. Sources to the binaries (bash and gcc) can be found at the
same place in /pub/gnu.

Soon version 0.10 came out in December. Not long after, version numbers went directly to 0.12, then 0.95, 0.96, and so on. Eventually the code was on ftp sites worldwide, and growing day by day.
All this development brought attention to Linus and his Linux project. Finally, Andrew Tanenbaum, the professor who had developed Linux, made a public comment that Linux was "obsolete" and added this:

" I still maintain the point that designing a monolithic kernel in 1991 is a fundamental error.  Be thankful you are not my
student.  You would not get a high grade for such a design :-)"
(Andrew Tanenbaum to Linus Torvalds)

It was a blow, but with the backing of the Linux community behind him, Linus replied with this:

Your job is being a professor and researcher: That's one hell of a good excuse for some of the brain-damages of minix.
(Linus Torvalds to Andrew Tanenbaum)

Before long, more than a hundred people had joined the Linux community. This number grew to thousands, and then hundreds of thousands. Since Linux was now powered by many programs from the GNU project, it soon became licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which insured that the source code would be free for others to copy and change.

With the creation of commercial companies such as RedHat and major Linux distributions such as Debian and Slackware, Linux became even more established.



Humorous Quotes

"I was using Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in 1969, but we did not call it that at the time. We called it 'software' ". (John MadDog Hall)

"In other Microsoft news, the company agreed to allow ISPs to let their customers know that there are other browsers besides Internet Explorer." (CNET)

"The idea of advertising is to lie without getting caught. Most companies, when they run an advertising campaign, simply take the most unfortunate truth about their company, turn it upside down ("lie"), and drill that lie home." (joelonsoftware.com)

Here are some local links (more to come):

How to configure printing


Here are some other links:

SATLUG - San Antonio, Texas Linux Users Group

A brief history of Linux

Server Beach - self managed hosting

Rackspace - managed hosting

A nice Linux user's page


Slackware links:

The Ultimate SlackWare HOWTO thread, located in the Slackware discussion forums

Official Slackware Site

Official Slackware Book

SlackCare.com

Unofficial Slackware Book

LinuxPackages.net

SlackWare config guide

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