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Linux Bible® 2010 Edition: Boot Up to Ubuntu®, Fedora®, KNOPPIX, Debian®, openSUSE®, and 13 Other Distributions by Christopher Negus

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Appendix B. Linux History and Background

Now that you have tried out a few Linux distributions and learned some things to do with them, are you wondering how Linux came about? How can a computer operating system and thousands of applications be free? Well, the truth is that the path to the Linux systems of today was not a straight line.

This appendix describes the history of UNIX, BSD, and free software development that has led to the Linux systems of today. After that, you can read some of the most common myths associated with Linux.

Exploring Linux History

Some histories of Linux begin with this message posted by Linus Torvalds to the comp.os.minix newsgroup on August 25, 1991:

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) ...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 protable[sic] (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(.

Reprinted from Linux International Web site

Minix was a UNIX-like operating system that ran ...

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