On this day in 1991, Linus Torvalds announced he was working on what would become Linux

More than three decades ago, Linus Torvalds sowed the seeds of Linux by sending an email outlining his plans to create a free OS.


  • Linux, a widely used operating system, offers security, flexibility, and low hardware usage, making it a top choice for both general users and developers.
  • Linux dates back to 1991 when Linus Torvalds created it as a free operating system, not knowing the success it would achieve over the next 32 years.
  • Linux emerged during the Unix Wars as an alternative to proprietary software, and with contributions from the GNU project, it became a well-functioning system and gained worldwide recognition.

Linux is one of the most popular operating systems along with Windows and MacOS. Its strong focus on security, flexibility, and portability, along with minimal hardware usage, make it highly versatile for both casual and creative users.

Linux wasn’t always a huge ecosystem with hundreds of distributions. Instead, the OS was created by 21-year-old Linus Benedict Torvalds as a kernel that emulated Unix, and on August 25, 1991, he publicly announced his intentions to make it free software. Little did he know that over the next 32 years, this exciting project of his would become one of the greatest inventions in the art world.

Unix wars

Our history lesson on Linux goes back to 1969, when Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie of AT&T Bell Lab, created the operating system called Unics, or Unix, as it was later known. The OS became very popular in academia, and soon many different versions of Unix began to appear. Unfortunately, this led several developers to seek to dominate the market with their own version of Unix, which led to licensing and patents from AT&T and plunged the OS industry into the so-called Unix Wars.

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The birth of the GNU project

Although the big names were fighting for control of the Unix market, Richard Stallman wanted to be free from proprietary software by starting the development of the GNU project in 1983. In his email from September 1983, Stallman called it “Free Unix”. ” and planned to make this OS more accessible to users than Unix.

By 1990, GNU had assembled almost all the major components needed to build a successful operating system. Well, approximately anything, because GNU didn’t have a kernel. Indeed, the Hurd microkernel began to be developed in 1990, but it remained unpopular among the GNU community, leaving the game open to another competitor, namely Linux.

Linux is Linux

In 1991, Linus bought an i386 PC that came with a DOS operating system and only used the OS for a few days to play. Prince of Persia before receiving 16 floppy disks containing MINIX. Back then, the MINIX license didn’t allow users to modify this working code, and Linus was no longer satisfied with the decisions made by Andrew S. Tanenbaum, the creator of MINIX. Linus loved the Unix OS that powered his university computers, but he couldn’t afford it and decided to create a free operating system that would provide similar functionality to Unix.

On August 25, 1991, he sent a historic email to comp.os.minix asking the community what they wanted to see in his OS. On September 17 of the same year, he uploaded version 0.01 of the Linux kernel to ftp.funet.fi. Unfortunately, the first release that would be known as Linux was empty and failed to perform well because it depended on MINIX for rendering.

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Later, Linus released v0.02 on October 5, 1991, which became the first version of his interesting work. This release was much better than v0.01 and added support for several GNU tools, including bash and GCC. Linus will spend the next few months releasing new versions of Linux, with each update bringing something new to the kernel. 1992 marked a turning point for Linux when Linus decided to release his kernel under the GNU GPL License. This allowed the GNU and Linux developers to create a version of the GNU/Linux OS, which Linus released as v0.99 in December 1992.

How Linux got its name

Interestingly, Linus never mentioned his Linux expertise because he thought the name sounded pretentious. Instead, they wanted to go with ‘Freax,’ a combination of the words free, freak, and x (from Unix). Instead, they kept the kernel files under the Freax moniker for about six months. Fortunately, Freax’s name did not exist.

When Linus uploaded Linux files to ftp.funet.fi in September 1991, the FTP server was managed by Ari Lemmke, who – bless his naming skills – didn’t like the idea of ​​calling it Freax and decided to move on. is the name of Linux without asking Linus.

Linux, 32 years later

And here we are, 32 years after Linus announced the development of his operating system. Since it underwent tons of changes and license changes, modern Linux has a large number of components that support its environment. It is safe to say that the creation of Linus took the world by the “free as in free” theory behind Linux. Although it has strong competition from Windows and MacOS, Linux has no limits in the server market, with many servers around the world running on Linux.

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Additionally, there are tons of laptops that run Linux out of the box, which is proof that the OS has a strong following in the PC community. With its open and community-driven nature, Linux continues to innovate one distro at a time.

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Source: thptvinhthang.edu.vn