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20 years ago Linux was born

20 years ago, this message was sent to UseNet newsgroup ‘comp.os.minix‘:

What would you like to see most in minix?

Linus Benedict Torvalds Aug 26 1991, 08:12

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 (torva…

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 :-(.

Today, 82,6% of the Top500 list of supercomputer is running Linux.
(06/2011 data)

A large amount of web-servers is Linux powered. But the Linux kernel is running on many small devices too, such as automotive navigation systems, routers and mobile phones. If you are using an Android phone, you are running an operating system with a Linux kernel.

Started on personal computers, oddly Linux gained more market-share elsewhere. Anyway desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, XFCE and others) are getting more and more mature and user friendly out of the box. Or you can build your OS as you like, you are free to choose.
Linus Torvalds is now using XFCE as he dislikes Gnome 3. He is not alone and Unity caused a lot of controversy as well. But Torvalds wasn’t so happy with Gnome 2 too. In 2005 he wrote:

I’ve talked to people, often your “fixes” are actually removing capabilities that you had, because they were “too confusing to the user”.

That’s _not_ like any other open source project I know about. Gnome seems to be developed by interface nazis, where consistently the excuse for not doign something is not “it’s too complicated to do”, but “it would confuse users”.
If this was a one-off, I’d buy it. But I’ve heard it too damn many times.
And only ever from Gnome.

The reason I don’t use Gnome: every single other window manager I know of
is very powerfully extensible, where you can switch actions to different
mouse buttons. Guess which one is not, because it might confuse the poor
users? Here’s a hint: it’s not the small and fast one.[…]

He used KDE 3. Anyway in 2009 he ditched KDE 4.0 for Gnome. I tried it and KDE 4 was quite a disaster. It became more stable and complete only various releases after. The current KDE 4.6 is pretty good IMHO.

Everyone has different tastes, but the good news are that you aren’t be compelled to accept others ideas: there is often an alternative, and someone can also do a “fork”. Anyway you are free.

A good amount of software has been ported or developed on Linux, so I almost stopped to use Windows.


2011/08/26 Posted by | Computers and IT | , , | Leave a comment