Linux Turns 20 Years Old, Now Has Some Game

Paul Lilly

Birthdays tend to make a person feel old, and not just the person celebrating them, but those who remember when it all began. And since we mentioned that Windows XP turned 10 years old earlier this week, it's only fair that we pay homage to Linux, the open source ideal Linus Torvald first shared on the UseNet newsgroup "comp.os.minix" 20 years ago yesterday.

Narrowing down a specific day on when Linux was created is no easy task and up for debate, but August 25, 1991 seems like as good a day as any to celebrate the beginning of Torvald's hobby operating system, as he described it at the time. Here's what he wrote 20 years ago :

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 (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

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

—Linus Torvalds

The rest is history, though it's funny to think that at the time, Torvalds was really just interested in creating a terminal emulator to connect to Unix machines. Now the Linux kernel is found all over the place where Windows isn't, and Linux distros are even capable of playing some games, if not natively, through software layers like Wine .

Party-hearty Linux lovers, and here's to 20+ more.

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