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Celebrating 22 years of Linux

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Linux

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It was 22 years ago, on 25 August 1991, that Linus Torvalds the father of Linux sent his famous message: “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.” Even he did not have any idea how popular and life changing his project would be. Today, Linux is everywhere from mobile devices to supercomputers in planes, in space, in cars and in big cities like Munich to the dusty little server I set up at an isolated estate I set up in Nyanga.

We have gotten to a point where even us, Linux Geek hardliners, realize that the year of the Linux desktop might never be. Despite our aspiration Windows has become so entrenched in the market through their smart supply chains it is unlikely the Linux is ever going to unseat it. The rise of Android, smartphones and tablets has made Windows’ dominance moot though. It was with this in mind that in May this year Ubuntu’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, closed the seriocomic Bug #1  and declared it fixed. Submitted in 2004, the bug lamented Windows’ dominance and hold on the market.

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Whatever your stand is when it comes to the Windows vs Linux debate, you simply cannot ignore the impact Linux has had in the ICT world. Linux is the staple of almost every geek and, thanks to Android, even novices. Directly or indirectly it has impacted on your life and mostly in a positive way. Most people in today’s markets do not know, or care, whether they are using Linux they simply want products that work but I think it is a good thing to pay homage to those people and things that have had a profound impact in our lives.

Everyone of us has a great, and often romanticized version of their first time.( First kiss anyone?) I still remember the day I booted my first Linux disk like it was yesterday. I had received the Feisty Fawn Live CD via the Post under Canonical’s then Shipit program. As the screen booted up I fell in love with that Orange interface; it was love at first sight. I did not have a computer of my own so I had to hide the installation on my aunt’s Windows XP and I was close to tears as I tried to learn the command line. I have booted and installed many distros of Linux then, I even compiled Linux from scratch but nothing is quite like the first time. Ah nostalgia.

Now is the time to  pause and take stock of the journey that you taken in the Linux Sphere. Do you still remember the first time?And what was it like? Please share with us as we commemorate the Linux revolution. If you have not yet tried Linux it is not too late to give it a try, just head to Distrowatch and choose a distro. I would recommend Linux Mint but the choice is yours; choice is another gift from Linux.

Picture from deviantART


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8 thoughts on “Celebrating 22 years of Linux

  1. Great post! my venture into linux started back in the year 2000 by playing around with Redhat Linux 5.0. it was recommended to me by a friend who was working at Mweb customer support at the time. i was still in high school, and had time to mess around with operating systems during the holidays. RHL5 was pretty terrible, and the GUI did not work properly at all…it required you to configure vsync refresh rates for your monitor manually and often was a pain to get 100% right (with nothing being plug & play capable)

    the alternative windows version was either windows 98, ME or windows 2000 professional at the time. while the windows 98 (then ME) desktop i used was mainly for games and email, i could see the potential of what a linux desktop would be for me. it was highly configurable, had ALOT of options that could let me customise the GUI exactly how i wanted it to be. it was very different from what was available at the time, and i liked that fact very much. movies like ‘hackers’ and ‘the matrix’ made me curious to check out BASH. Before that, my terminal experience was messing with autoexec.bat and config.sys files in DOS to get games working.

    From early redhat distro’s i moved onto fedora core which was geared to be more of a desktop OS and was a community driven distro headed by redhat… that in my opinion really started off the linux desktop. it was relatively stable and usable without too much hassle.

    after years of formatting, reinstalling and reconfiguring linux installations, i was then skilled enough to work with servers and progressed onto debian and freebsd. through working with debian servers, i found out about Ubuntu by accident while trying to troubleshoot a GUI problem. i’ve worked with KDE based distro’s for a long time, and Kubuntu really brought it home for me. Been stuck with it as my work desktop for about 8 years now 🙂

    1. +1 for fellow KDE user (and survivor of the great transition to 4.x).RH was the most polished desktop back in the day – especially for Gnome (before RHEL). I bailed to Suse when they split to Fedora/RHEL.

  2. Windows beats linux on the Desktop and will continue to do so, not because of “Smart Supply Chains”. Windows wins because: ease of installation and use, drivers are easy to find/install, a standard interface between apps, and easy/simple/standard app installation. It’s got nothing to do with supply chain. if supply chain were the main criteria, then linux would win as it has a totally open supply chain.

  3. Linux! what can I say? I met Linux back in 1995 – Slackware 1.0, which was included in a book, loved it since. I have used many different distributions. Over the years, I have burned so many discs. Since early part of 2000, I have been using VMware workstation to install and play with Linux or other OSes (Solaris, FreeBSD, etc).Later on, I switched over VirtualBox.
    Now a days the distros I use most of the time are : RedHat, CentOS, Scientific, debian, LinuxMint and SuSE.
    In 2002, I switched my day to day desktop at home from Windows to Linux. RedHat at first and later on Mandriva. Loved Mandriva/Mandrake until about 3 years ago.

  4. I got introduced to Linux at my first job,by way of Debian 2.2 (Potato) . It was much later (4 months into my traineeship) that the powers-that-be decided to tell us about the existence of ‘startx’. I had previously assumed that the CLI was the only way to use Linux! X was a blessing and a curse, getting XFree86 configured right was a hair-pulling exercise.

    Debian 2.2 -> Red Hat 6 -> OpenSuse 10 -> Ubuntu. I’ll be circling back to Debian very soon due to this Mir rubbish being proposed in Ubuntu (KDE > Unity or Gnome. Yes, I said it.)

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