Tux - the Linux kernel mascotThe operating system based on the Linux kernel (sometimes also called GNU/Linux. Ed.), in all its myriad forms, is 23 years old today.

It all began with an email by a young Helsinki University student called Linus Torvalds to the comp.os.minix newsgroup.

Linus’ original email is reproduced below.

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 :-(.

I love Linus’ modest assertion that his creation wouldn’t be big and professional like GNU! 🙂