By Maddy Reddy
Tux is 10 years old this month. In March 1994, 26-year old Finnish student Linus Torvalds released the first official version 1.0 of Linux for the public. It’s been a decade of growth for the operating system and the open source community since its humble beginnings.
Tux is 10 years old, this month. In March 1994, 26-year old Finnish student Linus Torvalds released the first official version 1.0 of Linux for the public. It’s been a decade of growth for the operating system and the open source community, since the fledgling operating running into a few hundred kilobytes was made available.
While Linux 1.0 was posted on the internet a decade ago, Linus started work in early 1991 and over a period of three years worked and developed the Linux kernel which was a hybrid based on Unix, Minix and inspired by the open source development model.
The first kernel (version 0.01) was put up on the University of Helsinki FTP site on 17 September 1991. After nearly three years of working and improving on it and several phases of alpha and beta versions, by several volunteers the first stable version of Linux or technically version 0.99, patch level 157 was released on March 12 1994.
The creator initially wanted to call it Freax derived from the words free, freak and X but finally settled in for a more conservative name, Linux (Linus and Unix). With the nomenclature settled, the phonetics of Linux is still an ongoing debate. According to Linus Torvalds, ‘Lih-nucks’ is the right way.
And the playful Penguin mascot for Linux, Tux derived from (T)orvolds (U)ni(X) was created by designer Larry Ewing in the mid 90’s. Using GIMP 0.54 sometimes referred to as the Photoshop of Linux, majority of the drawing was done on 486 DX2/50 running Linux.
“Some people have told me they don’t think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen a angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had,” said Linus Torvalds on the choice of the cuddly mascot.
Ten years ago, few hundred users largely students and Unix enthusiasts were the early adopters of Linux. Today with more than 80 Linux distribution companies led by Red Hat, SuSe, Mandrake, Debian and a who’s who of the IT vendors such as IBM, Sun, Novell, Intel and HP endorsing Linux (except Microsoft of course) Linux is the fastest growing operating system in the world. Fuelled by the open source community it is affecting just about every market segment from servers, desktops, databases and application servers. Linux is now a multibillion dollar juggernaut from what started as a hobbyist project.
The world may still be divided on how to pronounce Linux, but there seems to be no debate that Linux is here to stay. Happy Birthday Tux.