March of the Penguin: Ars looks back at 20 years of LinuxThe Linux kernel was originally created by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish computer science student, and first announced to the world on August 25, 1991—exactly 20 years ago today. At the time, Torvalds described his work as a "hobby" and contended that it would not be "big and professional" like the GNU project. But the Linux kernel turned out to be one of the most significant pieces of open source software ever developed. From Freax to Linux While it's easy now to take the name "Linux" for granted, Torvalds had modestly rejected the idea of naming the new kernel after himself, instead calling it Freax. The original 0.01 release of Linux could not actually run. The earliest versions of the Linux kernel source code were published under licensing terms that made the software free to use and to redistribute for non-commercial purposes. The UNIX landscape at the birth of Linux At the start of 1991, GNU was waiting for CMU to determine if it could release Mach under a suitable software license.
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