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Happy 15th Birthday Linux 117

An anonymous reader writes "It's 15 years already! On August 25th, 1991 Linus Torvalds submitted the famous message to comp.os.minix: 'Hello everybody out there using minix — I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things)' Happy Birthday Linux!"
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Happy 15th Birthday Linux

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  • by chriso11 ( 254041 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:31PM (#15980250) Journal
    Is it just 15 years? Amazing what Windows hasn't done in all that time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by soliptic ( 665417 )
      Er. Windows 3.1 (arguably the first usable version) didn't come out til 1992. So I'd say it HAS come quite a long way in the last 15 years. Still, enjoy your cheap laugh :)
      • by krell ( 896769 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @02:08PM (#15980593) Journal
        "arguably the first usable version"

        I don't expect the first usable version of Windows until 2022.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by soliptic ( 665417 )
          :sigh: oh well, keep it up. Over here on XP I've had no crashes in 5 years and support for all the software and hardware I actually want to use. Whereas linux... well, it wouldn't even load X at any resolution, which makes it pretty comprehensively unusable as far as I'm concerned.
          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by krell ( 896769 )
            " Over here on XP I've had no crashes in 5 years and support for all the software and hardware I actually want to use."

            I get nasty bluescreens once or twice a week. Not only that, they are the type of bluescreen that automatically tries to fill all available disk space with a memory dump unless I hit the "power off" button real quick. Hardware support? Not bad, but I did recently get a printer that had drivers for 98 but did not work with XP. I find those every once in a while.
            • by fotbr ( 855184 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @02:53PM (#15981006) Journal
              Arguing by example is stupid.

              For every example you can throw out about Linux/Mac/Windows/etc being better, someone else can throw out a counter example thats every bit as valid.

              Use whats best for you, and drop the fanatical fanboyism. Windows/Linux/Mac/PS3/360/Wii/whatever -- whats best for YOU isn't going to be best for EVERYONE and claiming it is just makes you look petty.
              • by krell ( 896769 )
                "Arguing by example is stupid."

                If you are making a case for a certain situation, and the examples directly depict that situation, then the only "stupid" thing would be NOT to argue such examples.

                "For every example you can throw out about Linux/Mac/Windows/etc being better, someone else can throw out a counter example thats every bit as valid."

                Straw man. Where did I compare Windows' usability to anything else? I didn't. Feel free to go off on some unrelated tangent about fanboy wars. Oh wait.... you
                • by fotbr ( 855184 )
                  Not a straw man argument, since I was careful not to specifically say you said anything.

                  Example/counter-example arguments based on personal experiences an opinions almost always end up with "my opinion is more valid than your opinion because I think more of myself than you."

                  Its petty and stupid REGARDLESS of what you're arguing, it just shows up more often with the windows/mac/linux and Wii/PS3/360 topics.
              • Dammit your right. Everything fscking sucks about everything. I don't need examples because I fscking know it sucks and I know examples suck. Fsck me I suck.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by alienw ( 585907 )
              You either have a failing piece of hardware (memory/HDD) or a bad driver. I have never seen XP crash. Now, viruses are a different story...
              • Creative's drivers in particular are very bad. My Audigy 2 refuses to work in Windows
                unless I use the kX Project open source drivers. Creative drivers make games bluescreen
                shortly after starting.

                I have seen XP crash randomly outside of those problems, though. You can't always pin
                down the fault. Sometimes it's bad hardware, sometimes Windows responds badly to me
                switching off both my firewire and USB external drives (BSOD, even if I haven't been
                writing to those drives for hours). WinXP still needs nurturing t
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by alienw ( 585907 )
                  Doesn't sound like either of those is a Microsoft problem. You should probably take the issue up with the firewire card manufacturer. Linux has much more serious problems with some of its drivers. Try unplugging a mounted USB drive and see what happens. Last time I tried it, it permanently locked up the USB subsystem, which nothing would cure short of a reboot. Not to mention hibernation support, which is still horrible and usually doesn't work. I like Linux myself, but I am of the firm belief that pe
            • I have an HP printer that won't pick up the Windows drivers on any machine I put it on. Works perfectly with Linux. :)
            • Well I bought a printer that needed drivers installed to work in XP, whereas ubuntu had a compatible driver pre-installed. hmmm..., BTW: this was an HP printer, not some silly off brand.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Directrix1 ( 157787 )
            XP (Pro at least) is a fine operating system. So is Linux. Just because you've learned to drive a car doesn't mean you know how to drive a tank. If you couldn't get X to load at any resolution then you obviously didn't even try (as in put forth effort). Furthermore, you fail to declare what distro and version of Linux you are using. What are you "learning the computer" or something?
            • by soliptic ( 665417 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @03:42PM (#15981469) Journal
              Actually, I did try, thank you very much: I spent about a week on it IIRC. I also asked for help on the interwebs, although I didn't get anything more helpful than "RTFM n00b" type remarks. Well, anyway, after a week of not getting beyond a command prompt, I gave up. What, should I have given it two weeks?

              FWIW, it was Slackware, and whatever the latest version was in about 98. I await the "well try a n00b distro like Ubuntu" - well, sorry, I can't be bothered any more. I use Ubuntu a bit at work, and it's very nice, but at home I'm passed caring because XP does the job for me. Back in 98 I found it fun to use my computer pretty much for the sake of using my computer, which is why I wanted to try Linux, but now I just want to use some apps and get things done, and Windows suits me just fine in that regard.

              Anyway you're (all) missing my point, which wasn't to bash Linux exactly, but just to that this "OMG ROFL Winblowz Sux0rz!" attitude is really not +5 funny because it's quite obviously wrong. You guys saw 98 bluescreen seven years ago. That's great. But I failed to get X to load seven years ago. Now, when I come along and offer that silly (and admittedly completely trivial one-data-point) anecdote, you're falling over yourselves to dismiss it. (With cheap personal attacks on my level of computer competence no less. No, I'm not "learning the computer", I've been programming since I was 6.) But when you come along and harp on the same old judgements based on 7 year old Windows, it's +5 moderation all the way.

              That was my essential point. Not a "this OS is better than yours" thing - just saying ungrounded MS-bashing as a quick route to popularity around here is pretty lame.

              Like you say - both Windows and Linux are decent OSes these days. Why is that? Because both have come a long way since 1998, or, to get back to where we started - since 1991.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by soliptic ( 665417 )
                Bad form to reply to myself, but I realised I forgot something I meant to say.

                Basically, there are things to justifiably bash MS for. Biggest on my horizon is the creeping DRM, which may well be the factor that does eventually persuade me to bother switching to Linux. So, focus on those genuine issues, and you might persuade people. But come out with nonsense, like suggesting Windows has made no improvement between v3.0 and XP, and it just undermines your credibility.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Directrix1 ( 157787 )
                  As I said before. Microsoft makes good software. Linux is good software. They are both tools, and should be treated as such. It just happens that when you insult a tool made by a lot of the ones using it, you end up insulting a lot of people, and will get a lot of hot headed responses. I apologize on behalf of all geeks who would have genuinely helped you had you seeked help in the appropriate channels. But you insult Linux because you were not familiar with it, not because of any short comings of the
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Waltre ( 523056 ) *

                "Actually, I did try, thank you very much: I spent about a week on it IIRC. I also asked for help on the interwebs, although I didn't get anything more helpful than "RTFM n00b" type remarks."

                This is definitely an area where general linux has improved considerably since '98. It's rare to see 'RTFM N00b' on a forum/mailing list nowadays.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                Slackware. Eight years ago.

                Now, I'm a linux-user myself, but I can see how trying to get X running on Slackware could be a daunting task NOW, not to mention 8 years ago. Incidentally, I tried Slackware first myself, and was extremely annoyed with it. I was ready to give up on Linux and go back to WinME (See why I wanted Linux?) when a friend suggested I try Debian. I did, and it was MUCH easier. As a matter of fact, it's my main system today.
          • My 20 month-old daughter bluescreened XP after only 2 minutes of un-attended use. And no, it did not involve pouring juice into the box. Only using a standard keyboard and mouse.
            • "My 20 month-old daughter bluescreened"

              Don't tell me. You let her put that cheap off-brand USB drive in her mouth again, didn't you? The one without the proper drivers?
              • Actually, she was happily banging away at the keyboard. No idea what key combination she hit...
                • by Arrgh ( 9406 )
                  Does your keyboard have a Sleep button? That one will bluescreen my WinXP box every time.
          • I built a computer to attend a lan party I went to last weekend and I still have not managed to get XP to install, but so far all of the linux distributions I have tried seem to work. Ubuntu 6.06 32 bit as a live cd, Kubuntu 6.06 64 bit both live and installed, I think I have installed gentoo compiled for 64 bit (I was able to ssh in to the box to see that it had finished compiling but on rebbot sshd was not running so I will know when I get home if it works.).

            I prefer linux to windows but every year or so
            • First Happy Birthday Linux, and thanks! In the 22 hours I've been using Ubuntu 6.06 (dual booting with Windows) it's worked unbelievably! I even figured out how to get my wireless working! And, as far as your Windows problems, I had the same problem with Ubuntu until I tried the server install (at the recommendation of the Ubuntu forum users), which pretty much sums up the 2 things I love about Linux: the community and the options!
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Kazymyr ( 190114 )
        Damn. 14 years and it's still barely usable.
      • by Phillup ( 317168 )
        I'd say it HAS come quite a long way in the last 15 years

        I just have to wonder how those advances compare against Linux when compared on a dollars to develop per feature basis...

        I personally think that when you compare the advances each OS has made over the years vs. the amount of $$ paid to create the product... MS starts looking like a bunch of amateurs. (Ironically, they are the one being paid... the "professionals")

        MS may be great at generating a profit, but they suck at efficient software production.
    • Indeed, at the pace that Linux has advanced it is on-pace to pass up Windows in desktop usability. Some distros are a lot more easier to install and get all of your hardware running than Windows 98/Me were not too long ago!!!
      • Some distros are a lot more easier to install and get all of your hardware running than Windows 98/Me were not too long ago!!!

        I'm still looking forward to a day when I can tell my parents it's finally reasonable to make the switch to Linux. Now, however, I have to point them to pages and pages of instructions on how to download ndis wrapper and recompile the kernel just to be able to use their wireless card, or tell them to purchase a new wireless card that is compatible. It's simply not a reasonable o
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 ( 468275 )
          I think that day will come when you can get a consumer PC from a major manufacturer pre-installed with a Linux distro. That will take care of a lot of the hardware issues, and might cause more 3rd party manufacturers to list Linux compatibility. The problem isn't the amount of hardware that's compatible with Linux, it's determining if "Widget X" is going to work or not. Mac users probably have a similar or less amount of compatible hardware, but it's not a problem because you can go into most stores and imm
          • by Marcion ( 876801 )
            Yeah I agree, I personally have had very few problems with hardware support in my last five years of having a Linux only house (well an Apple Mac in the corner somewhere).

            If you plan on buying something for Linux then you have very little problems. You just google for something that works on Linux then order it.

            However, if you expect to be able to buy any strange peripheral (USB powered hamster washer) on a whim and then expect it to work at home, then you may be out of luck.

            The only exception to this rule
        • I'm still looking forward to a day when I can tell my parents it's finally reasonable to make the switch to Linux. Now, however, I have to point them to pages and pages of instructions on how to download ndis wrapper and recompile the kernel just to be able to use their wireless card

          That day is nigh...errr passed I mean. You don't have to recompile your kernel to get drivers working with Linux. This myth just won't quit.

          or tell them to purchase a new wireless card that is compatible. It's simply not

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      Well Microsoft went from DOS to Windows XP. Seems like a good amount of progress. Windows versions before 95 where not operating systems but shells. Kind of like Gnome and KDE are.
      While funny it is far from truthful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jugalator ( 259273 )
      Hey, it went from being a 16-bit OS, to a bugged 16/32-bit hybrid, to a 32-bit OS with severe security flaws, to being an OS sued by courts on an international scale, to having a pretty glass theme on a DRM foundation. I'd say it has achieved quite a lot! Sure, with Vista, you have around 600 MB RAM consumption directly after start up in its Release Candidate, but I'd say this is a small price to pay for all amazing things it can do to you.
      • "to having a pretty glass theme on a DRM foundation"

        Glass? Are you referring to how the OS is easily broken, or how the DRM schemes are easily shattered?
      • by ID10T5 ( 797857 )
        ...all amazing things it can do to you.
        Dude, you need to find yourself a girlfriend!
      • Tell me, do Windows programmers still need to decide if they're going to make a small, medium, compact, large, or huge model program?
    • I love how the Linux community is so obsessed with Windows that, in a post about Linux's 15th anniversary, the very first comment is a random off-topic dig at Windows.
    • Sweet, just three more years till she's legal! *puts on his robe and Slackware hat*
    • Amazing. Look how far Linux has come in 15 years. From a hobby project to one of the main server Operating Systems in the world. Can you imagine what the next 15 years will bring us?
  • Second try (Score:5, Informative)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:32PM (#15980255) Homepage Journal
    We went over this last year. Linux was released on September 17th, not in August.
  • by anti-drew ( 72068 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:32PM (#15980260) Homepage
    Happy, uh, zeroth birthday to the Hurd.

    Good thing Linus didn't decide to just wait for GNU to finish their OS instead...
    • by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:35PM (#15980287)
      I don't think zero has come yet. -1 or -2 or less ?

      And while I am here, let me just reiterate that "hurd" is a poor choice of name for a kernel.
    • Other than the complicated ("advanced"*cough*) micro kernel layout causing a hold-up, I'd assume (while acknowledging the word's divisional properties) that the major slack in HURD development was at least partially the result of the proliferation of the GNU/Linux system. I would think that had Linus not come along, Stallman et al would have wraped up the HURD by now.
      • Re:to be fair (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @02:22PM (#15980710)
        GNU/Hurd developers are commited to create THE best possible kernel. They don't have any time pressure so they can freely make experiments in the true spirit of Open Source.

        Right now, there is an ongoing effort to use Coyotos ( http://coyotos.org/ [coyotos.org] ) to create the first operating system with the proved correctness of its kernel.

        Besides, message-passing interfaces (the core feature of microkernels) can be potentially very efficiently implemented on multicore processors. For example, ARM Fast Address Space Switching (FASS) can potentially make microkernels FASTER than common monolythic ones.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kenshin ( 43036 )
      Hmm... The fact that Hurd hasn't been born yet may be the reason that RMS is so fat.
  • by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:33PM (#15980270) Homepage Journal
    Wow, and just one more year and it will certainly break into mainstream desktop usage

    (recycled from last year ... disclaimer, I like a good number of you use linux on the desktop)
    • "Wow, and just one more year and it will certainly break into mainstream desktop usage"

      Only if entertainment centers count as desks, and then DVRs can count as Linux desktops.
    • I helped switch 3x more people (voluntarily, they sought me out) to Linux on the Desktop this year than last year. Last year, I switch infinitely more people than I did the year before. Does that mean the growth rate is rising or slowing? :)

      This year - 3 people.
      Last year - 1 person.
      2 years ago - 0

      I really don't know why that is, I used to "preach" more about Linux pre-2000 and just sort of gave up. No one switched and really, I didn't feel like forcing the issue and Win2000 was pretty good. I really don
      • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
        I feel it's important to note that it's only '1 more' between last year and the year before, but it's 'inifintely times as many'.
      • by Badfysh ( 761833 )
        >I really don't know why some people suddenly decide to switch now.....

        Possibly because nobody wants Vista. After playing with the beta 2, I have a feeling that a hell of a lot of people will be switching to either Linux or OS X.
    • Petty I know, but that sentence really should read "I, like a good number of you..". Commas are important. Please don't forget to use them.
    • It was fifteen years ago today
      Col. Torvalds let the source away.
      We've been going in and out of drives
      but we guarantee to raise uptimes.
      So may I introduce to you
      the hack you've known for all these years
      Col. Torvalds' Linux slash GNU Band!

      We're Col. Torvalds' Linux slash GNU Band,
      we hope you will enjoy the code.
      Col. Torvalds' Linux slash GNU Band,
      just hack and let the evening go!

      Col. Torvalds' Linux
      Col. Torvalds' Linux
      Col. Torvalds' Linux slash GNU Band!

      It's wonderful to post here,
      it's certainly no troll.

  • You gotta love /. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaronwormus ( 716976 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:40PM (#15980336)
    10 years of annoucing minor point Linux Kernel releases, and then Linux's 15th birthday doesn't even make it to the front page.
    • 10 years of announcing minor point Linux Kernel releases, and then Linux's 15th birthday doesn't even make it to the front page.

      Ah, but each point revision of Linux does more than five years of waiting for the next Windoze version. A birthday next to that is not a really big deal. You should try it some time.

      You know how I can tell you are not using free software? Because you misspelled announcing. Well, OK, you could be using dillo or similar on a pocket device but I don't think so. Have you tweak

      • Ah, but each point revision of Linux does more than five years of waiting for the next Windoze version.

        If you have some very esoteric hardware and a bug that needs fixing in kernelspace, perhaps.

        Now if you mentioned KDE's point releases, you would have a point.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:42PM (#15980347)
    Never trust guys (or girls) who use nested clauses. You just can't (as I've learned from past experience) know that what you've heard (or perhaps read) is really what they (or their source) really meant (or felt).
  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:50PM (#15980416)
    Honey, I think it's about time we give him the "talk."
  • by krell ( 896769 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:56PM (#15980480) Journal
    Next year, Linux drives a car.
  • Thanks to all the GNU/Linux community! It is amazing to live it, I find no words for expressing how much I enjoyed, shared, and learned. The future is *ours*!
  • HB (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Kazymyr ( 190114 )
    One more year and he'll be allowed to drive...

    Awwwwww
  • Linux is 15 and is getting set to screw that tramp from Redmond on the desktop!

    Ok ok, too much pr0n...
  • portable... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pe1chl ( 90186 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:39PM (#15981979)
    Simply, I'd say that porting is impossible. It's mostly in C, but most
    people wouldn't call what I write C. It uses every conceivable feature
    of the 386 I could find, as it was also a project to teach me about the
    386. As already mentioned, it uses a MMU, for both paging (not to disk
    yet) and segmentation. It's the segmentation that makes it REALLY 386
    dependent (every task has a 64Mb segment for code & data - max 64 tasks
    in 4Gb. Anybody who needs more than 64Mb/task - tough cookies).


    And now it is running on, what, 20 different architectures?
    With or without MMU, running hundreds...thousands of tasks of up to
    gigabytes in size. Of course, of that version nothing will have
    remained. Not even the name, because that came later.
  • I run Ubuntu and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what good command line games are available.Is nethack worth looking into these days? Is there anything I can telnet into that isn't some mud rpg? And why aren't there any overkill servers!
  • Thanks - made my decade (x1.5)
  • I started with a Slackware distro with kernel 1.2.13 in March 1995. Back then Linux was waaaaay better as an OS than DOS, but there were hardly any programs for it that made it worth using for work. Nowadays Linux is a better OS than XP, but sadly as long as ODF has not established itself it will still be a niche OS on the desktop. However, I'm convinced that will change in the next one or two years, with all these governments switching to Linux or ODF. The future looks bright! And it's about time, too. For
  • We at the Calgary Linux Users Group [clug.ca] had a pot luck dinner and movie [www.clug.ca] (March of the Penguins) to celebrate the day :-)
  • ... for screwing around with a 15 year old. For the last nine years.

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.

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