When and Why was Linux Created?

I pretty much answered this question in my article on the difference between Unix and Linux about a year ago so you might already have a hint if you’ve been following our posts for over a year. However, it wasn’t the subject of discussion so it doesn’t harm to make it one now.

It was 1991 and Linus Torvalds, a young computer science student at the time, started a project during which he created a program that will allow him to use the functions of his new PC the way he wanted.

He developed his program on a MINIX system using the GNU C Compiler for 386 (486) AT clones and after a while decided to share his accomplishment with interested colleagues.

According to the testimony in his book, Just for Fun, Linus ended up creating a kernel about which he made an announcement in a MINIX newsgroup on 25 August 1991.

He wrote:

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 ([email protected])

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

Thereafter, Linux began to gain traction in the following year when it was relicensed under the GNU GPL and the first Linux distros were created. By the time 1993 came along there were over 100 developers contributing to its code and as you must know by now, the rest is history.

So, to recap, when was Linux created? Prior to its official announcement in 1991, Linus was working on it for a while so only him can answer that question. What I am sure of, is that the Linux kernel was announced on August 25, 1993, and first released on September 17, 1991.

Why was Linux created? So that the young Linus Torvalds could use his computer hardware better and with fewer restrictions. Fast forward to 2018 and the Linux kernel (together with GNU,) is the most popular Operating System used on servers and by data administrators, among other clientele.

You can breeze through Wikipedia’s record of Linux’s history for details on how events unfolded as well as milestones in the project’s development over the years.

Are there any details you know that I shouldn’t have left out? Feel free to drop your two cents in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

Each tutorial at GeeksMint is created by a team of experienced writers so that it meets our high-quality writing standards.

2 thoughts on “When and Why was Linux Created?”

  1. Very cool. I went and found your previous article as well. What started so small and seemingly insignificant has become one of the most important. The Internet itself runs on Linux.


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