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Linus on Linux's 25th Birthday (zdnet.com) 110

The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, posted his famous message announcing Linux on August 25, 1991, claiming that it was "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu." ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols caught up with Linus Torvalds and talked about Linux's origins in a series of interviews: "SJVN: What's Linux real birthday? You're the proud papa, when do you think it was? When you sent out the newsgroup post to the Minix newsgroup on August 25, 1991? When you sent out the 0.01 release to a few friends?

LT: I think both of them are valid birthdays. The first newsgroup post is more public (August 25), and you can find it with headers giving date and time and everything. In contrast, I don't think the 0.01 release was ever announced in any public setting (only in private to a few people who had shown interest, and I don't think any of those emails survived). These days the way to find the 0.01 date (September 17) is to go and look at the dates of the files in the tar-file that still remains. So, both of them work for me. Or either. And, by the way, some people will argue for yet other days. For example, the earliest public semi-mention of Linux was July 3: that was the first time I asked for some POSIX docs publicly on the minix newsgroup and mentioned I was working on a project (but didn't name it). And at the other end, October 5 was the first time I actually publicly announced a Linux version: 'version 0.02 (+1 (very small) patch already).' So you might have to buy four cakes if you want to cover all the eventualities."
Vaughan-Nichols goes on to pick Linus' brain about what he was doing when he created Linux. In honor of Linux's 25th birthday today, let's all sing happy birthday... 1... 2... 3...
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Linus on Linux's 25th Birthday

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  • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Thursday August 25, 2016 @11:49PM (#52773217) Journal

    Just wanted to say "thank you" to both Linus and GNU for giving me a system that I can appreciate, grow with, and live with. And slashdot too, for a forum to celebrate it on (I remember when they created the logins, the moderation, and the meta.....)

    • Just wanted to say "thank you" to both Linus and GNU for giving me a system that I can appreciate, grow with, and live with.

      Hear! Hear! A fine alternative to the update tyranny of an OS that shall not be named!

  • *ahem*

    "Feliz, feliz en tu dia,
    Amiguito que dios te bendiga,
    Que te pase un camion por encima,
    Y QUE CUMPLAS MUCHOS MAS!!!"

    It's Puerto Rican for Happy Birthday. We kinda have a gallows humor down there ;o)

    But seriously, yes, Happy Birthday, Linux, it was you who sent me down the professional IT path. Before that, it was just tinkering. Oh who am I kidding I'm still tinkering XD

  • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:07AM (#52773267)
    (sung in a monotone dirge)
    Happy Birthday
    Happy Birthday
    Now you've reached the age you are
    your demise can not be far
    Happy Birthday
    Happy Birthday
    Doom and Gloom and dark despair
    Death and dying everywhere
    Happy Birthday
    Happy Birthday
    cities burning in your wake
    burn like candles on your cake
    Happy Birthday
    Happy Birthday
    ...
    • (sung in a monotone dirge) Happy Birthday

      Happy Birthday
      Now you've reached the age you are
      your demise can not be far
      Happy Birthday
      Happy Birthday
      Doom and Gloom and dark despair
      Death and dying everywhere
      Happy Birthday
      Happy Birthday
      cities burning in your wake
      burn like candles on your cake
      Happy Birthday
      Happy Birthday ...

      Jeez, I'll pay the copyright to Warner/Chappell for the other song... even though I don't have to...
      On the up side you could use the song above to end the practice of food servers singing to people in restaurants!

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      And you run and you run to catch up with the sun
      But it's sinking
      Racing around, to come up behind you again

      The sun is the same in a relative way
      But you're older
      Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:10AM (#52773269)

    25 years and they couldn't even include some of the best quotes by Linus over the years?
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/... [wikiquote.org]

    * Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)
    * If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.
    * In short: just say NO TO DRUGS, and maybe you won't end up like the Hurd people.
    * My name is Linus Torvalds and I am your god.
    * Dijkstra probably hates me.
    * This is why we don't compile with "-W". Gcc is crap
    * GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken
    * (the spill is insane, btw, since it's spilling a constant value!)

    No mention of how Linux used to be stuck with gcc 2.7.2 for years until egcs became stable?

    Pfft, kids. :-)

    • "If Darl McBride was in charge, he'd probably make marriage
      unconstitutional too, since clearly it de-emphasizes the
      commercial nature of normal human interaction, and probably
      is a major impediment to the commercial growth of prostitution."

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        So why isn't Darl running for president? I would vote for legalizing prostitution.

        • So why isn't Darl running for president? I would vote for legalizing prostitution.

          Because everyone on slashdot hates him!
          Darl was the CEO of SCO. You should be old enough to remember the SCO vs IBM debacle (too old?).
          One of his more amusing claims was that the GPL is unconstitutional because communists or something
          like that, which led to Linus stating the above.

    • If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.

      Looks like he won [visualstudio.com].

    • soon after saying "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu," Linus also said "and 640K ought to be enough for this new OS".. or something like that.
  • We should be singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" considering the copyright status of "Happy Birthday" puts it off-message.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • See my slightly prior post of the birthday dirge.
      and I believe the copyright status of "Happy Birthday" was deemed invalid, due to prior art. free to use and abuse.

      doesn't it just suck when the old song you acquired rights to happens to be documentably older than the copyright date you have.
  • "DMCA Takedown Notice".

    • I'm thinking that a chorus of Slashdotters sounds like Vogon poetry:

      Happy Birthday to you,
      You live in a zoo,
      You look like a monkey,
      And you smell like one too!

      Personal Disclaimer: I sang in the church choir from when I was old enough to walk up until I went off to a university. I was not religious, but sang in the choir, because that was a requirement to be in the Whitechapel Handbell choir. Now, handbells are a hoot and a half, and if you have never tried it, put it on your bucket list!

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      But it is public domain now: https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]"happy+birthday"+"public+domain"

  • Not like GNU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @02:32AM (#52773489) Homepage

    "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu"

    Which is funny, since there are likely more devices running Linux now than GNU/Linux, thanks to Android.

  • birthdayd (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2016 @07:05AM (#52773889)

    Birthdays are now handled by birthdayd and candles on celebration cakes must be arranged in binary.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @07:07AM (#52773891)
    https://groups.google.com/foru... [google.com]

    For me I didn't start in 1991. I hopped on NeXt in college in 1993, then threw slackware on a couple boxes in 1994/95. I hate being late to the party... almost as much as I hated downloading slack floppy sets of 56k ISDN

    • by Mjlner ( 609829 )

      ... I hate being late to the party... almost as much as I hated downloading slack floppy sets of 56k ISDN

      56k? Luxury! I had to download the download the entire distribution (source code included) on a 2400bps modem, write a utility to split the files into 720k chunks, because my family couldn't afford HD floppies and write everything to the floppies by hand.

      • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
        At the time the lab computers I was using to test on were shiny new 486dx2 (66mhz). They did not have enough drive space for OS (win 3.11) and the floppy sets so I had to FTp direct to floppy, I think this slowed it down. Later when I needed updated floppies I took my existing box and found an open NFS mirror (probably spent 2 hours probing nfs servers) and downloaded direct to floppy again. I think this was faster, and the back of my brain says it was sunsite, but maybe it was UIUC that I was downloadin
  • by lucm ( 889690 )

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, here's an advice for you. When you go over 3 initials, maybe it's time to take a cue from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints and pick the 3 most significant letters (LDS) as your usual initials.

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