Linux Timeline

 
September 1994

Linux is first mentioned in the mainstream press. Wired magazine features an article titled ``Kernel Kid'', by Seth Rosenthal. He writes: ``So, is Linus going to become the Bill Gates of Finland? Maybe not. He claims to be 'by no means a good student' and is in no hurry to graduate since 'Linux has taken a lot of time from my studies, and I like the work I have at the University which keeps me alive.'''

Randolph Bentson reports on the world's first vendor-supported Linux device driver in Linux Journal. Cyclades gave him a multiport serial card in exchange for developing a Linux driver for it.

December 1994

A major tradeshow and conference take notice of Linux. Open Systems World features a Linux track, hosted by Linux Journal. Two days of seminars include Eric Youngdale, Donald Becker, Dirk Hohndel, Phil Hughes, Michael K. Johnson and David Wexelblat as speakers.

April 1995

Linux Expo, the first Linux-specific tradeshow and conference series, launches, thanks to the folks at North Carolina State University and in particular, Donnie Barnes. Speakers include Marc Ewing, Rik Faith and Michael K. Johnson, among others. Linux Expo snowballs and becomes the most popular and well-attended annual Linux show for the next several years (after three years Red Hat takes over organization and becomes the major sponsor). The price for entry into the exhibit hall and a pass to the conferences? $4.

January 1997

First ``Linux virus'' discovered. Called Bliss, it actually works on any UNIX-like OS and offers a helpful--``bliss-uninfect-files-please'' command-line option. Alan Cox points out that Bliss ``does not circumvent the security of the system, it relies on people with privilege to do something dumb'' and reminds users to install digitally signed software from trustworthy sites only and to check signatures before installing.

``In fact it's probably easier to write a virus for Linux because it's open source and the code is available. So we will be seeing more Linux viruses as the OS becomes more common and popular.''--Wishful thinking from McAfee

January 1998

Linux Weekly News begins publication with Jonathan Corbet and Elizabeth Coolbaugh as founders. The very first issue, dated January 22, was just a tiny hint of what LWN was to become.

Netscape announces that they will release the source to their browser under a free software license. This almost certainly remains one of the most important events of the year; it opened a lot of eyes to what Linux and free software could provide.

Red Hat Advanced Development Labs (RHAD) is founded. It has since become one of the higher-profile places where people are paid to develop free software and an important component of the GNOME Project. RHAD is able to attract developers like ``Rasterman'' (although only for a short time) and Federico Mena-Quintero.

February 1998

The Cobalt Qube is announced and immediately becomes a favorite in the trade press due to its high performance, low price and cute form factor. Cobalt's Linux engineering is done by none other than David Miller, the source of much that is good in the Linux kernel.

The Linux user community wins InfoWorld's technical support award; Red Hat 5.0 also won their Operating System award. But it was the tech support award that truly opened some eyes; everybody had been saying that Linux had no support. This was the beginning of the end of the ``no support'' argument.

Eric Raymond and friends come up with the term ``open source''. They apply for trademark status and put up the opensource.org web site. Thus begins the formal effort to push Linux for corporate use.

March 1998

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader asks the large PC vendors (Dell, Gateway, Micron, etc.) to offer non-Microsoft systems, including systems with Linux installed.

April 1998

Linux is covered by the US National Public Radio news, marking one of its first appearances in the mainstream, nontechnical press.

O'Reilly holds the ``first ever'' Free Software Summit, featuring Larry Wall, Brian Behlendorf, Linus Torvalds, Guido van Rossum, Eric Allman, Phil Zimmermann, Eric Raymond and Paul Vixie.

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Have you released the compiled list ?

Thorsten's picture

The 150th issue is still released, but I can´t find the compiled list with all Linux events from 2002. Will we the the list next time?

Can you make a continuation? like Linux Timeline II

Sprik2323's picture

I think the continuation would very interesting.
Like SCO's Unix and Linux copyright claims, etc.

MCC Interim Linux

Anonymous's picture

MCC Interim Linux distribution, was made available to the public for download on the ftp server of University of Manchester in February, 1992.

Re that Microsoft print ad,

Lawrence D'Oliveiro's picture

Re that Microsoft print ad, another, larger version is here: <http://www.ao.com/~regan/penguins/>, along with a parody rejoinder.

Infamous Microsoft print ad

Lawrence D&#039;Oliveiro's picture

I had a hunt around for that (in)famous Microsoft print ad you mentioned from October 2000. Here's a copy still online: <http://quartus.net/msad/>.

No mention of the switch

Allen Garvin's picture

No mention of the switch from a.out to ELF? The first port a non-intel system (it was DEC alpha, right?)? SMP support in the 1.2 kernel, when it started becoming more than just a hobby OS?

A bit weak on the early big events, I'd say.

-- Allen, linux user since November 1993

Small correction

Stephan's picture

Samba 2.0 is released. It contains a reverse-engineered implementation of the Microsoft domain controller protocols, allowing Linux servers to provide complete services to Windows networks.

I'd like to correct this statement. Samba was technically not developped via reverse engineering, but by sniffing the network traffic. To many the difference may seem irrelevant, but it is in fact of significant legal importance. The Samba team has never used reverse-engineering for their work. See e.g. http://chaosradio.ccc.de/cre025.html Sorry a german podcast only (Interview with Volker Lendecke)

Other events: HAL & Ubuntu

Nicolas Kassis's picture

The day HAL was released should be remembered. HAL allowed a lot of the Ease of use stuff to go forward.

Ubuntu.

Nic

VMware for Linux

John Calburn's picture

I think VMware support for Linux in 1998 is a great milestone too.

Linux TimeLine - Yggdrasil 1994

Anonymous's picture

Major point missed in article - Summer 1994 - Yggdrasil makes Linux available on crdom. This was the first offering (that I know of) that allowed the average Joe to get his hands on Linux. I've still got my cdrom, boot disk, and (rather good) instruction pamphlet from Yggdrasil and the white box 386sx that I ran it on. Working for (then) Western Electric which had close ties to Bell Labs I had been using Unix at work for years but it wasn't until the Yggdrasil cdrom that I had it running at home. mmmmmmmmmm virtual terminals and a Unix like environment -- great memories.

August 1994 Walnut Creek -2 CD set SlackWare

Anonymous's picture

Bought this 2 CD set in Europe in a computershop, january 1995.

It saved me a lot of money because I only had a 14.4 k modem, like most people in those day's, so the early CD distributions played a very important role in the adoption of oss.

Slackware 2.0 , Sunsite, rsx-11 and mail archives
And last but not least everything about X Windows.

May 2003

Anonymous's picture

Researchers at the University of Chicago turn Sony Playstations into a Linux based supercomputer.

January 2003

Anonymous's picture

Rumors of SCO's intellectual property lawsuit plans surface. Two months later they file suit against IBM claiming breach of contract and theft of trade secrets. More lawsuits are to come.

What happened since Feb. 2002?

Open Source Blogger's picture

I'm curious why the timeline stops at Feb. 2002...it's been 3 years, something *must* have happened worthy of writing about.

November 1991

Joe Klemmer's picture

One fateful day a young guy came over to my apartment to visit. We'd met on the local BBS scene and he wanted to show me something cool. That guy was the inimitable and unparalleled Erik "the" Ratcliffe. The cool thing he came to show me was, of course, Linux. He brought with him two 5.25" floppy disks, HJ Lu's boot/root disks. We fired it up and played for hours. OC, we didn't have much to play with back then but just being able to do crap on a *NIX shell prompt was way cool.

Shortly after that day I started using my shell account from a local ISP to ftp files from tsx-11 and sunsite to put up on my BBS (My UnKnown BBS). At that time I was one of, if not the largest, BBS's that had Linux available for download. I had callers from all over the world downloading everything from MCC Interim, TAMU, SLS and Slackware.

Over the years I've met a lot of the big names in the community. I've even been complimented on my efforts to bring Linux, and open source in general, to the US Army. The last 3 or 4 years I've been forced to step out of the grind due to health reasons. But I still use Linux and open source for everything I do on computers. There hasn't been anything that I needed to do that I can't do with Linux and open source.

So now I'm just an old, crippled user hardly anyone remembers. But it doesn't matter. The ride was wonderful and the road to the future is wide open.

--
Indie Game Dev and Linux User
Contact Info: http://about.me/joeklemmer
"Running Linux since 1991"

Comment to Joe.

Michael Steen's picture

Right on, Joe. That's the spirit.
We do what we can and make the world a little better.

All the best,
Michael

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