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Linux 20 years old

September 2, 2011

Tux -- the Linux penguinIn 1995 I took  a brown paper bag full of HD floppy disks to work with me, and over a few days spent my lunch hours downloading Linux, a young operating system kernel I’d recently heard about.  In all, the OS, the GNU programming environment and utilities,  the X-Windows system, and other odds and ends filled about 50 floppy disks.  After I’d finished I took it home and installed it on a spare 386 I had.   A co-worker asked to borrow the disks, and installed Linux on his home computer.  Our memories diverge about what distribution it was.  I think it was SLS, he thinks it was Slackware.  He’s probably correct, since I often have trouble remembering my own phone number.

I’ve been using GNU/Linux as my primary home computer since.

Linux is now 20 years old, and has evolved from a kernel for serious hobbyists into an amazing array of specialized distributions for workstations, enterprise web and database servers, clusters and high performance computing, embedded systems, mobile devices,  routers … just about any system  that needs an OS.

Ars Technica has an article about the history of Linux over the past 20 years.  It’s also fitting that the lawsuit by SCO which was widely seen as an attack on Linux was settled decisively this week.  The probable end of the seemingly interminable SCO suit is a great birthday present for millions of Linux users everywhere.

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