Home > Linus Torvalds, linux, Linux > The e-mail that changed computing

The e-mail that changed computing

Yes, I know LinuxCon has come and gone, and I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the 20-year thing and with Linus being there and all. The buzz is still going, and that’s good. But if you’re going to a Linux show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting, so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!)

Twenty years ago today, this e-mail was sent out on the comp.os.minix newsgroup:

“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 (torva…@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

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

That operating system “that won’t be big and professional like GNU” became Linux, which celebrates 20 years today. Jim Zemlin at the Linux Foundation gives us a pretty good look at what we know for sure in these past two decades.

So thank you, Linus, for getting the ball rolling 20 years ago.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

[FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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  1. Bob McKeand
    August 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Loose the dogs of technology.

    Linus did his little effort 20 years in the past and now
    some guy from the SF Bay area is heading to Kenya?
    There is something about the disruption made by the
    butterfly when it flaps it’s wings?

    Peace, Bob

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