Linux Turns 22 Today, Read the Email That Started It All

Linux Torvalds send a very important email on August 21, 1991

Linus Torlvalds send an email 22 years ago, to the day, which inadvertently started the Linux phenomenon.

Reading the email written by Torvalds more than 20 years ago gives only a glimpse of the state of the open world community at that time.

“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 :-)” stated Linus Torvalds in a mail to the University of Helsinki.

It’s also interesting to see that Linus Torvalds didn’t actually saw the potential in his code and wasn’t rather lax about its success. The postscriptum to this email says as much.

“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 never0 will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have:-(“ also said Linus.

Who would have guessed that Linux would become a project that needs hundreds of people constantly work on it and a lot of maintainers pushing multiple updates on a regular basis?

As it stands right now, the latest development version of Linux kernel is 3.11 RC6, but a seventh version is probably on its way.

A few other stable versions are also available, 3.10.9, 3.4.59, 3.2.50, 3.0.93,, and

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