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Linux Development Timeline

written by: Jesma•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/12/2008

Timeline of the major factors involved in the production and development of the Linux operating system as we know it today, as well as major events in Linux history.

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    1983 - GNU Project announced.

    1984 - GNU operating system development begins. To be perfectly clear as to their intent, GNU is a redundant acronym which stands for: GNU is Not UNIX.

    1985 - Free Software Foundation established.

    1987 - Andrew Tannenbaum publishes Operating Systems: Design and Implementation which includes a copy of Minix.

    1989 - First version of GNU's GPL (General Public License) is released.

    1991 - Linus Torvalds announces his operating system project in August. Version 0.01 is released in September. Version 2 of the GPL is released. The first Linux FAQ is posted by Robert Plum. Richard Stallman publicly expresses a desire to have the FSF and Linux collaborate to distribute GNU's sytem with the Linux kernel.

    1992 - First Linux newsgroup is created. Linux kernel v0.95 is released, which supports the X-Window system. The first distribution of Linux, MCC Interim Linux is released, followed by Softlanding Linux System (SLS).

    1993 - Version 1.0 of Slackware is released, based on SLS. Debian Linux distribution is released.

    1994 - Linux kernel v1.0 is released. First issue of Linux Journal is published. V1.0 of SuSE Linux is released. Caldera Linux distributor is founded. First version of Red Hat Linux is released.

    1995 - Apache web server project is started. Red Hat Software is formed.

    1996 - Linux v2.0 is released. Kool Desktop Environment (KDE) project announced.

    1997 - Eric S. Raymond outlines the principles of the "open source" method at a conference. Work starts on the GNOME desktop project.

    1998 - The Open Source Initiative is founded, establishing guidelines for open source licensing. Google search engine is launched, using servers running Linux. Penguin Computing is founded, the first hardware company to produce only Linux systems. Mandrake Linux is created. KDE is released.

    1999 - Linux kernel v.2.2 released. GNOME 1.0 desktop released. Corel releases a Linux distribution.

    2000 - Survey reveals Apache web servers power the majority of the Web. IBM invests $1 billion in Linux development.

    2001 - Linux kernel v2.4 released. Development of Debian-based Lindows begins.

    2002 - Caldera, SuSE, Turbolinux and Conective agree to jointly develop a Linux distribution for servers. Free office productivity suite 1.0 is released.

    2003 - Torvalds announces he will be working full time on the Linux Kernel and shortly after releases v2.6. Red Hat announces Fedora Core.

    2004 - First version of Ubuntu Linux released.

    2006 - A working prototype of a $100 laptop computer running Linux designed for children in third-world countries is demonstrated. Linus Torvalds refuses to convert the Linux kernel to version 3 of the GPL.

    2007 - Dell announces intension to offer desktop and laptop computer models running Ubuntu Linux. Novel/SuSE, Xandros, and Linspire negotiate agreements with Microsoft to offer interoperability and avoid law suits, as Microsoft claims that Linux projects infringe on 230 Microsoft patents. (The "double-click" is one such example). It is rumored that Red Hat will follow suit.

The Development History of Linux

Dozens of companies worked tirelessly to lay the foundation on which Linux was based. In this series we discuss the contributions of Multics, Unix, Minix, the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project, as well as provide a timeline of Linux's development since its first release.
  1. Major Players in Linux Development
  2. Linux Development Timeline