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Today, in 1991, Linus Torvalds sent that ‘famous’ email

It was August 25, 1991 when some Linus Benedict Torvalds sent an email introducing the world to some ‘tiny’ project he was working on. It’s been 22 years and what Torvalds created back then is now the world’s most popular and widely user operating systems.

Here is the mail that Linus wrote in 1991.

From: mailto: [email protected] (Linus Benedict Torvalds)

To: Newsgroups: comp.os.inix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small poll for my new operating system
Message-ID: <mailto: [email protected]

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 (mailto: [email protected])

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 :-(.

How does he feel after 22 years? This is what Linus says:

It’s been 22 years since (one of) the original announcement(s) so I wanted to try to come up with some interesting numbers…

But in the end, it’s just that single number: 22 years. More than half my life, and things have certainly changed since then.

Now to be fair, today isn’t the only birthday: Aug 25, 1991 was the date for that original pre-announcement, but there’s a few other relevant dates that may be even more relevant as “birthdays of Linux”.

The actual 0.01 code release was September 17. But while it was uploaded to a public site, there was no public announcement of it. So in that sense Oct 5 might be the true “coming out” date – that is when 0.02 was done, announcement and all.

But you know what? You can have cake on any of those three days (or eat it continuously for the whole range). Go wild.

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Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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