by August 1, 2011 0 comments

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The GNU OS is announced by Richard Stallman. The GNU Project is a mass collaboration project for open and free software The GNU Project gave birth to the GNU General Public License (GPL), arguably the most popular open source license model out there. The OS required a kernel for its completion.

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The GNU manifesto, a statement by Richard Stallman advocating the cause of free software movement, is published in the March 1985 issue of Dr. Dobb’s Journal. The founding goal of the GNU project was, to develop “a sufficient body of free software […] to get along without any software that is not free.”

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MINIX was first released with its complete source code made available to universities for study in courses and research. MINIX is a Unix like  OS based on a microkernel architecture created by Andrew S. Tanenbaum for educational purposes; MINIX also inspired the creation of the Linux kernel.

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Linus Torvalds creates Linux. He built a simple kernel for a Unix-like OS that runs on an Intel 386 processor. The kernel eventually becomes Linux version 0.01 and is released and put on the Net. He initially wanted to call it “Freax”. The Linux kernel became the last piece of the puzzle for the GNU OS project, providing an entirely free and open source OS.

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  • Linus licences Linux under the GPL. When the Linux kernel arrived, GNU software made it possible to be turned into a complete OS as the kernel was the last piece of the jigsaw.
  • Adam Richter announces the release of the first Linux Distribution from his company: Yggdrasil.
  • Peter MacDonald announces SLS, the first standalone Linux install.
  • The first Linux newsgroup, comp.os.linux, is proposed and started by Ari Lemmke.


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  • Red Hat founded and releases its distro a year later.
  • Slackware becomes the first commercial standalone distribution.
  • The Debian linux distro was released. Debian can be used as a desktop as well as server OS.

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The first version of MySQL is released. Over the years, MySQL has become the open source database solution of choice and is used by a huge number of companies and websites like Facebook and Wikipeda. As of 2009, there were more than 11 million MySQL installations. MySQL has shown how open source can be big business.

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  • Apache web server is born.
  • Tux is born.
  • SUSE Linux, a German linux distro is released.
  • PCQLinux version 1 released. The move was the driving force in the popularisation of CD-ROMs and Linux in India.

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First “Linux virus” knows as Bliss discovered. It works on any UNIX-like OS and offers a helpful–”bliss-uninfect-files-please” command-line option. Bliss 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.

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  • The Open Source Initiative formed, an organization dedicated to the cause of promoting open source. 
  • Google is born, and runs on a custom designed version of Linux.
  • Mandriva Linux released.


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  • is born, and quickly becomes the largest download site for open source and Linux based software.
  • The GNOME project gave birth to the Gnome Desktop. GNOME is a desktop environment / GUI that runs on top of an OS. It provided the rich GUI to Linux which had been command line controlled earlier.

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Linux 2.4.0 kernel was released on January 4. The US National Security Agency (NSA) releases SELinux under the GPL. SELinux offers an additional layer of security checks in addition to the standard UNIX-like permissions system.

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The Gentoo foundation released the first verison of Gentoo Linux. This distro can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need using the portage system.

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  • Fedora OS, developed by the Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat came into being. Fedora Core 1 was based on Red Hat Linux 9 and shipped with version 2.4.19 of the Linux kernel.
  • Bill Reynods released PCLinuxOS. Meant for PCs, the distro makes it easy to use Linux at the desktop.


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  • Canonical released the Debian-based Ubuntu in 2004. Ubuntu quickly became the most widely used Linux distribution by far.
  • The CentOS project resulted in the CentOS OS, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

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Linux Mint distro was released in August. Linux Mint is Ubuntu based OS targeted at people with less or no prior Linux experience. It provides easy usability and ease of installation.

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The 1st smartphone based on Android, Google Nexus One was released in January 2010. Android is a software stack for mobile devices and its mobile OS is based on the Linux kernel.

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  • Linux turns 20. The current stable kernel version is 3.0.  The Linux kernel now has an estimated development value of $1.4 billion.
  • Linux kernel 3.0 released. Torvalds says the new version is largely about re-numbering. “No breakage, no special scary new features, nothing at all like that”, says Torvalds on the Linux kernel mailing list.
  • 200,000+ apps available for Google Android.

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