Linux won’t be big and professional like gnu – Linus Torvalds


A Finnish software engineer born in 1969, December 28, Linus Torvalds who developed the first version of Linux that he called minix of Mini Unix. Although the current Linux Kernel only has 2% of codes that was written by him, credit of Linux development lies mainly with him.

In April 1991, Linus Torvalds, then 21 years old, started working on some simple ideas for an operating system. He started with a task switcher in Intel 80386 assembly and a terminal driver. Then, on 25 August 1991, Torvalds posted to comp.os.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).

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

[…] 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). […] Some of my “C”-files (specifically mm.c) are almost as much assembler as C. […] Unlike minix, I also happen to LIKE interrupts, so interrupts are handled without trying to hide the reason behind them.”