Life of Linux

Doghouse – Linux History

Article from Issue 215/2018

"maddog" takes us on a brief tour of Linux history.

I am writing this article in Montevideo, Uruguay, on the 68th anniversary of my birthday in 2018. It also happens to be the month that this magazine offers all 200+ issues on a DVD, dating back to October 2000, which brings back lots of memories for me.

These issues do not reach back to the beginning of the Linux kernel. No magazine does, because when Linus started the kernel project in 1991, it was "just for fun." Few (if any) people imagined that this fledgling project would significantly affect computing.

After all, in 1991, Microsoft ruled the desktop (with a relatively few "apples" thrown in) and proprietary systems (MVS, VMS, Unix, and others) ruled the data center. The idea that a university student would someday challenge these proprietary operating systems created by companies like IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, Sun Microsystems, and others with a kernel written by a gang of "amateurs" was absurd. Microsoft was busy trying to advance their wunderkind WNT (Windows NT), and even the publisher O'Reilly seemed to have given up on Unix systems, producing more and more books about programming with Microsoft.


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