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When Linus Torvalds Was Wrong About Linux (And I am Happy He Was Wrong)

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux kernel and Git, needs no introduction.

A shy geek who does not talk much in public but prefers mailing lists. Loves codes and gadgets more than other things. Prefers working from home than spending time in shiny offices.

Torvalds expresses his opinion on Linux related things quite vocally. We can’t forget the ‘finger to Nvidia’ moment that forced Nvidia to improve Linux support (it was way worse back in 2012).

Generally, I agree with his opinion and most often his views have turned out to be correct. Except in this one case (and that’s a good thing).

Torvalds’ “incorrect prediction” on Linux

30 years ago, Torvalds announced the Linux project. He was a university student at that time and wanted to create a UNIX-like operating system because UNIX itself was too costly.

While announcing the project, Torvalds mentioned that the project was just a hobby and it won’t be big and professional like GNU.

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.

Linus Torvalds while announcing the Linux project

Little did Torvalds knew that his ‘hobby’ will become the backbone of today’s IT world and the face of a successful open source project.

Here’s the complete message he sent:

Hello everybody out there using minix –

I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them 🙂

Linus (torv…

PS. Yes – it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.

That was on 25th August 1991. Torvalds announced the Linux project and then on 5th October 1991, he released the first Linux kernel. The interesting fact about Linux is that it was not open source initially. It was released under GPL license a year later.

The Linux Kernel is 30 years old today. Happy 30th to this amazing open source project.

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