Linux Turns 26

Last Edited: August 26, 2017 | Published: August 26, 2017 by

Linux Turns 26

Happy Birthday Linux!

Yesterday, the open-source operating system, Linux, celebrated what is commonly referred to as its birthday. Congratulations on a great 26 years and let’s all raise our glasses to another 26 years and even more of free, open-source, operating system and software goodness.

It’s was August 25, 1991 when Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, first sent out his now iconic email that would go on to change the world. Have a look at his original email:

From:torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroup: comp.os.minix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small poll for my new operating system
Message-ID: 1991Aug25, 20578.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI
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-sytem
due to practical reasons)among other things.

I’ve currently ported bash (1.08) an 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 want. Any suggestions are welcome,
but I won’t promise I’ll implement them 🙂

Linus Torvalds

And thus, Linux was born. Now it should be noted that the first version of the source really wasn’t ready until September 17, 1991, and he didn’t seek out contributors until October 5, 1991 when he sent this email:

From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: Free minix-like kernel sources for 386-AT
Message-ID: <1991Oct5.054106.4647@klaava.Helsinki.FI>
Date: 5 Oct 91 05:41:06 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki

Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote
their own device drivers? Are you without a nice project and just dying
to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your needs? Are you
finding it frustrating when everything works on minix? No more all-
nighters to get a nifty program working? Then this post might be just
for you 🙂

As I mentioned a month(?) ago, I’m working on a free version of a
minix-lookalike for AT-386 computers. It has finally reached the stage
where it’s even usable (though may not be depending on what you want),
and I am willing to put out the sources for wider distribution. It is
just version 0.02 (+1 (very small) patch already), but I’ve successfully
run bash/gcc/gnu-make/gnu-sed/compress etc under it.

Still, you can only have one birthday, and the Linux world largely recognizes the 25th of August as the birthday of Linux. Oh and here’s a bit of trivia, Linux didn’t want to call it Linux, it was actually named by Ari Lemke, who chose it over Linus’ preferred name for the OS when he created the subdirectory for the source code on If Linux had his way, the project wouldn’t be Linux today, it would have been “Freax.”

No matter what, Linux has changed the world today, and powers so much of the Internet and our devices it’s truly staggering. So Happy Birthday Linux. Let’s hope you have many, many more.

About the author

Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.

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