Linux is 20 Years Old Today

I can’t believe Linux has been around for 20 years. And it started out as a hobby, and it grew into what it is today. It’s quite an amazing transformation of something that’s being offered for free. You can read more about the history of Linux from Ars Technica’s article entitled March of the Penguin: Ars looks back at 20 years of Linux. Here’s the original message from Linus Torvalds when he posted his first message about Linux to the minix newsgroup back in August 25, 1991. The archive is courtesy of Carnegie Mellon.

From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small poll for my new operating system
Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki

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 ­čÖé

Linus (

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 :-(.

Linux 3.0 Faster Than Linux 2.6

Linus Torvalds wrote:

Well, so far I haven’t really seen any suggestions on how to improve
it much further.

3.0 will still be noticeably faster than 2.6.39 due to the other
changes made (ie the read-ahead), so yes, the regression itself is

But performance on that particular benchmark with that particular
machine is clearly not optimal, in that there are known setups that
would be faster still.

Of course, the reason for the mutex conversion was _other_ loads,
where the spinlocks had bad behavior. So it’s a balancing act. And I
suspect we’ve reached a reasonable point in that balancing, yes.


Here’s the original thread.

Linux Kernel Big Jump to 3.0.0

If you’ve been a fan of Linux, you probably have seen the miniscule version changes from one Linux kernel to another. As an example, there was a recent version change from to The current stable version of the Linux kernel is version 2.6.39 . So, what’s the reason for the big jump to version 3.0.0?

Well, nothing. It’s just the the Linus Torvalds and his kernel development team decided to jump to 3.0.0 to coincide with the 20 year anniversary of Linux. That is all.┬áThere has been big discussions about versioning within the kernel development team. Linus Torvalds finally decided to go with version 3.0.0. Here’s an excerpt from his email.

I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can no longer comfortably count as high as 40.

The whole renumbering was discussed at last years Kernel Summit, and there was a plan to take it up this year too. But let’s face it – what’s the point of being in charge if you can’t pick the bike shed color without holding a referendum on it? So I’m just going all alpha-male, and just renumbering it. You’ll like it.

Now, my alpha-maleness sadly does not actually extend to all the scripts and Makefile rules, so the kernel is fighting back, and is calling itself 3.0.0-rc1. We’ll have the usual 6-7 weeks to wrestle it into submission, and get scripts etc cleaned up, and the final release should be just “3.0”. The -stable team can use the third number for their versioning.

So what are the big changes?

NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. Sure, we have the usual two thirds driver changes, and a lot of random fixes, but the point is that 3.0 is *just* about renumbering, we are very much *not* doing a KDE-4 or a Gnome-3 here. No breakage, no special scary new features, nothing at all like that. We’ve been doing time-based releases for many years now, this is in no way about features. If you want an excuse for the renumbering, you really should look at the time-based one (“20 years”) instead.

Read the rest of Linus Torvalds message here.