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History of the Creation and Development of Linux Until Now


history of linux

History of the Creation of Linux

With the condition of computer technology that was limited at that time because it was a computer system not long discovered and still in the research and development stage, Linux was not the first operating system to be made, there were predecessors such as Unix and Windows.

When the operating system was stuck to the hardware/computer itself and was only designed to run on that computer, there used to be no name to replace the operating system, which was to buy a new computer with a new operating system as well.

Some groups do research to find operating systems that can be used on all computers, these groups are AT&T which makes Unix and Microsoft which makes MS.DOS then windows.

Unfortunately, these operating systems are all paid and licensed so it is very difficult for developers to develop an application that must run on their platform due to lack of documentation on the OS.

From this problem emerged the GNU community as a place for developers to share program code and develop it together to create free and open-source applications and even free and open-source operating systems.

Starting from GNU as a Pioneer and Opensource Container

Without GNU maybe Linux would not exist, GNU holds an important war in the creation and development of Linux, because it is in GNU that the opensource community gathers and works together to create free and open-source applications.

In 1983, Richard Stallman made a GNU project with the goal of making a free operating system that was similar and compatible with UNIX.



GNU is short for "GNU's Not Unix" and GNU is not a profitable company but a forum for a community that upholds Free and Opensource software.

Free here does not mean free but is interpreted as "freedom" because the application which is licensed by the GPL (GNU General Public License) gives 3 freedom for its users to be free to:
  • use
  • distribute
  • and change for development,
The freedom is not owned by proprietary software (commercial software)

The GNU project began in 1984 with the creation of software, compilers, editors, text for matters, GUIs, libraries, modules, and many more. In the process of opening, it was designed to be compatible with existing operating systems, namely UNIX, this choice was based on UNIX having proven the design superior and portable.

The manufacturing process involved a lot of personalities from the GNU community itself.

Before Linux, UNIX OSes Existed

Linux history begins after the appearance of the UNIX operating system which was introduced to the public around the 1970s that was developed and released by AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Unix became the motivation of all parties to compete in developing an operating system similar to UNIX (Unix like operating system).

OS BSD was born from the development of UNIX

In 1977, the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of UC Berkeley, developed the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) operating system and used the 6th edition of UNIX code owned by AT&T.

AT&T was not accepted because the code was used to make the BSD and file a lawsuit after the lawsuit for developing an operating system that took the basis of the BSD code became stalled.

Linus Torvalds, Creator of the Linux Kernel


In 1990 GNU had made all the components to make an operating system from compilers, libraries, applications, user interfaces, and so on, and only one of which had not been finished, the kernel was the core of an operating system.
In 1991 Linus Torvalds, a student majoring in Computer science from the University of Helsinki (University of Helsinki) wrote an independent operating system to be able to run on his new PC that uses an 80386 processor.

The process of making this operating system kernel (which will be called the Linux kernel) is finished using MINIX and compiled using the GNU C compiler.

Linux is not UNIX

That means Linus Torvalds was the first to design, build, and develop a Linux kernel. In the manufacture of Linux does not use Unix code at all. Unix is ​​only used as inspiration by Linus when creating the Linux kernel.

History of Linux Development Until Now

The kernel which is the core of an operating system has indeed been created by Linux Torvalds, a student from Helsinki Finland University, but Linux has a long way to go until it becomes a sophisticated and popular operating system that you can use for free now.

The First Version of the Linux Kernel Is Published

The kernel created by Linus is then published to a wide range of people (opensource) and everyone can use and develop it "free".

On August 25, 1991, at the age of 21, he published his first Linux kernel via " Usenet " (a kind of internet in those days) in a newsgroup forum "comp.os.minix."


Linux Writing Notes For Kernels That Are Published                                                          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 (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)
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 :-(.
— Linus Torvalds
With the help of the community, the first version of the Linux kernel was published

This kernel will later become the Linux kernel that we use today as a result of the development of the opensource community from time to time.

The Origin of the Linux Name

The name Linux does not appear and is used just for the kernel made in Linus, had used several names that sound strange to us now.

Linus Torvalds wants to call his findings by the name of Freax which is a combination of free freak and X which refers to Unix.

when he was working on writing the kernel he kept it in a file and was named Freax for almost half a year.

Linus actually has crossed his mind to name his findings with the name of Linux, but he considers it too selfish (because it contains his own name).

To facilitate the development process, the file was uploaded to the FTP server (ftp.funet.fi) in September 1991.

Ari Lemmke from Helsinki University who was a volunteer FTP administrator at the time thought that the name Freax for a kernel was not good to hear, so without Linus's approval, he changed the kernel name to Linux.

But Linus did not mind the name and also used it.

History of Penguin the Linux Mascot



In 1996 Linus Torvalds officially announced the Linux mascot, a Penguin with the named Tux.

Linus explained that he chose penguins because he had experienced bad memories with the animal, which had been bitten by a small penguin while visiting a zoo in Australia.

Linux held a Linux logo design (penguin) and was won by Larry Ewing with a picture of a penguin sitting named Tux, Tux refers to Torvalds' UNIX and also means tuxedo, a kind of suit similar in color to the penguin.

Linux is under the GNU GPL license

When the Linux kernel was published, it used its own license and there was a prohibition / should not be used for commercial purposes because it made the kernel dedicated to the opensource community.

The software used to make Linux all use applications licensed under the GNU GPL (license for free software) and so that Linux can be used as a whole operating system Linux requires components such as shells, compilers, libraries, etc. all of which are under the GNU GPL license.


Finally in 1992 Linux version 2 was released to the public in December under the GNU GPL license so that Linux was called by the name GNU / LINUX.

At the launch of the first version of Linux, Linus only wrote in its documentation that to be able to use Linux fully, it requires software provided by GNU.

Community and Linux distributions

The biggest contribution of linux development work comes from the linux user community itself which consists of thousands of programmers spread all over the world, they use linux and give suggestions to make linux much better every day to linux developers.

Some companies that provide linux services also take part in the development of linux, not only the kernel but supporting applications that are included in Linux distributions such as auxilary software.

Organized companies / projects develop their own linux and keep distributing it for free, because all linux is GPL licensed.

To make money to cover company operational costs / projects that are organized only provide consulting services and services for linux enterprise users.

community belonging and legal entities (companies / projects organized) or what we call today with Linux distributions (Linux distribution) to develop and distribute their own versions of Linux with the beginning of the project Slackware, Debian, Redhat, SUSE.

Although using the same base kernel, but for applications and utilities that are provided by the distro differ, this difference is not significant only a part of the command and hierarchy that is different from other distributions.

Timeline Development of the Linux Kernel

The history of Linux that is exposed above is a summary and an outline of history that I took from the Wikipedia reference and the official GNU project website.

The timeline of the history and development of Linux can be summarized in the following chronology:

  • 1991: The Linux kernel is published for the community for development purposes on 25 August
  • 1992: The Linux kernel license was changed to the GNU GPL and for the first time Linux became a complete and straightforward operating system that could be used without the need to install supporting GNU applications separately.
  • 1993: More than 100 developers participated in the process of developing the Linux kernel, with their help the kernel was adapted to the GNU environment. Slackware became the oldest distro that still stands today (2020) followed by Debian which is the largest distribution today (2020)
  • 1994: Linus Torvalds decides that all components of the kernel are fully ripe and then he releases Linux version 1.0, the XFree86 project contributes to making the Linux GUI. Commercial versions of Linux distributions also release Linux with version 1.0
  • 1995: Linux is adjusted to run on the new processor platform, the Alpha DEC and the Sun SPARC processor. Both processors are the most modern processors at the time.
  • 1996: Linux kernel version 2.0 was released with a new feature that is the Linux kernel can run on various processor platforms using symmetric multiprocessing (SMP). This method is an alternative choice used by many companies.
  • 1998: Many large companies such as IBM, Compaq, and Oracle announced support for Linux products.The Cathedral and the Bazaar (which later became a book) whose contents tell the author's experience of the method when the process of developing the Linux kernel on the OpenSource project has a tremendous influence on the OpenSource project after it is published. Because of this writing, Netscape decided to join the opensource community by publishing the source code of the Netscape Communicator Web browser suite. On the other hand, a group of programmers began to create a graphical user interface (GUI) KDE.
  • 1999: A group of application developers works together on a GNOME Graphical environment project designed to replace KDE. The same year IBM also announced additional projects to support Linux.
  • 2000: Dell announces that he is now the number 2 provider in the world that uses Linux in all of its products
  • 2002: Short story Microsoft killed Dell Linux, not only Dell, but Microsoft also threatened other hardware vendor companies that campaigned for Linux.
  • 2004: the Xfree86 project team splits and joins the standard X project which later becomes the X.Org Foundation which works faster in developing X servers for Linux
  • 2005: the openSUSE project starts free distribution for Novell's community, as well as the Openoffice.org project which introduces version 2.0 with the standard support of the OASISOpenDocument document format
  • 2006: Oracle releases its own Linux distribution system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), while Novell and Microsoft work together to protect the use of patents.
  • 2007: Dell begins marketing the laptop with the default Ubuntu distro Linux operating system.
  • 2009: The development of the RedHat market is on par with Sun, which is interpreted as a symbolic moment for the "Linux-based economy".
  • 2011: Linux kernel version 3.0 is realized
  • 2012: The Linux market exceeds the Unix market in the Server class market type
  • 2013: Mobile phones on the market 75% use Linux-based operating systems (Android)
  • 2014: Ubuntu claims to have 22 million users
  • 2015: Linux kernel version 4.0 is released to the public
  • 2019: Linux kernel version 5.0 is released to the public
The Cathedral and the Bazaar are writings made by Eric S. Raymond in the form of essays that explain 2 striking differences during the development process (development) of free applications (Free software)

  • The Cathedral model, where source code is included when the release of software but during the development process (sourcecode development) may not be shared/shared with other application developer groups.
  • The Bazaar model, where code is developed through the internet and anyone can see minor changes to the application code, Raymond gives credit to Linus Torvalds, the leader of the Linux kernel project as the inventor of this process.

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Aliif Arief
Aliif Arief web and app enthusiast

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