Linux History: 24 Years Step by Step


Linux success would not be possible without C programming language and GNU Project – Environment of Linux.


Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie

Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie was created the Unix Operation System in 1969-1970. Later was released the new C programming language – high-level and portable PL. Linux kernel written in C with some assembly code.

Richard Matthew Stallman

Richard Matthew Stallman

Richard Matthew Stallman started in 1984 the GNU Project. One of biggest goals — free Unix-like operation system and totally

1991 – The Beginning

Linus Torvalds, 1991

Linus Torvalds, 1991

Linus Torvalds begin Linux kernel development in Helsinki, Finland – witten programm for hes hardware – Intel 80386 CPU. Hi also use Minix and GNU C compiler. Here is historical message from Linus Torvalds to Minix newsgroup:

From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (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
  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, 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 (

After this Linux has supported by worldwide volunteers and professional specialists. Name “Linux” was defined by Linus coworker Ari Lemmke – just named directory of project on University Server.



Version 0.12 of Linux Kernel released under GPLv2.


Slackware 1.0 First release of Slackware – the oldest Linux Distro with the same leader – Patrick Volkerding. Linux kernel have ~100 Developers.



Debian – one of largest Linux-community also created in 1991.


Linux 1.0 released and first GUI is available – thanks to XFree86 project.

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Linux

Released Red Hat Linux 1.0

S.u.S.E Linux
S.u.S.E Linux

and S.u.S.E. Linux 1.0.


Red Hat Inc.

Red Hat Inc.

Bob Young and Marc Ewing merged their local business to Red Hat Software. Linux ported to many of hardware platforms.





Tux Penguin – official mascot of Linux. Idea of Linus Torvalds – after visit to National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra. Linux 2.0 released and support symmetric multiprocessing. Begin of KDE development.


Miguel de Icaza

Miguel de Icaza

Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena begin development of GNOME – free desktop environment with application. Linus Torvalds win in Linux’s Trademark conflict and Linux becomes the registered trademark of Linus.


The Cathedral and the Bazaar

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

The Cathedral and the Bazaar essay by Eric S. Raymond is published – highly recommend to read. Linux support from big companies: IBM, Oracle, Compaq.

Mandrake Linux

Mandrake Linux

First release of Mandrake Linux – Red Hat Linux-based distro with K Desktop Environment.



First major KDE  release.


Dell support Linux

Dell support Linux – first big hardware vendor


Revolution OS

Revolution OS

Documentary film “Revolution OS” – 20 years of GNU, Linux, Open Source, Free Software history with iterview of best hackers of Linux and Open Source World.




Linux now use BitKeeper – proprietary software for distributed version control.




Novell buy SuSE Linux AG for $210M. Since 2003 also started epic battle SCO Group vs IBM and Linux community for the Unix copyrights.



First Release of Fedora Linux from Red Hat and Linux Community.


X.ORG Foundation

X.ORG Foundation

The XFree86 team is dropped and join to X.Org Foundation, development of X be faster.

Ubuntu 4.10 - First Release

Ubuntu 4.10 – First Release




Beginning of openSUSE – free version of enterprise Novell’s OS. started support of OpenDocument standards.


Oracle Linux
New Linux distribution – Oracle Linux based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Microsoft and Novell begin cooperation in IT and both patents protection.


Dell Linux Laptop
Dell Linux Laptop

First laptops with preinstalled Linux from Dell.


KDE 4.0
KDE 4.0

KDE 4 released in non-stable condition and many users migrate to GNOME.


Red Hat

Red Hat

Red Hat’s Linux-based success – $2.62 billion market capitalization.

In 2009 Microsoft sumbitted first patch to Linux kernel under GPLv2 license.


Novell -> Attachmate

Novell -> Attachmate

Novell was sold to The Attachmate Group, Inc. for $2.2 billion. SUSE and Novell – two independs products in new company.

First release of systemd and begin of Linux system revolution.


Unity in 2011

Unity Desktop in 2011

Ubuntu Unity released – a lot of criticizm from users.

GNOME 3.0, 2011

GNOME 3.0, 2011

GNOME 3.0 release – “unholy mess” by Linus Torvalds and also a lot of negative critics. Linux kernel 3.0 released.


15 million lines of code

15 million lines of code

Linux kernel have a 15 million lines of code. Microsoft is one of top Linux contributors.


Kali Linux

Kali Linux 1.0 released – Debian-based Linux distro for penetration testing and digital forensics. Also in 2014 Centos with code developers joined to Red Hat Inc.


LLennart Poettering and Kay Sievers
Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers

systemd – default in Ubuntu and all top Linux distribution. Ubuntu have 22 000 000 users. Big Android progress – 75% of all mobile devices.


Linux Kernel 4.0

Linux kernel 4.0 released. Mandriva was liquidated, but have a lot of forks – Mageia is most popular.

Written from Linux with love.

Read more:

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