Although Linux 0.1 got released on August 26th 1991, Mashable already ran an anniversary-story yesterday. According to Wikipedia’s entry on the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds did start coding in April 1991, so one could argue today is as good a day as any to celebrate our favorite kernel’s conception!
My first memories of Linux date from 1995, when a friend introduced me to mp3’s, the Internet and Linux in one session of what seemed ûber-geekiness at that time. Although I bought the Infomagic 5-CD Linux Developer Resource some time after that, I didn’t do a lot of Linux (probably because I was too busy discovering the Internet) until 1996. That year, while working at a PC shop, I started co-administrating the belgonet.be Linux-server for the ISP-service the owner offered his customers. I learned a lot on that box, especially when “rm -rf”-ing /bin instead of ~/bin and later when the server got hacked because it was running an old vulnerable version of sshd. Good times!
In the late nineties I switched to Linux-based distributions for my personal desktop-pleasure, running Knoppix at first and installing Suse and Red Hat later on. When the Belgonet-server got decommissioned, I installed Gentoo on a spare desktop-machine at work and hooked it onto the internet as srv-ict-lxfgo.reference.be, hosting a couple of personal sites.
Nowadays I use Ubuntu on my netbook and Debian on my VPS-server. I’m not a hardcore sysadmin by any measure, but I know my way around a Linux-based system well enough to keep it up to date, secure and stable. And although Linux for the masses did not become a reality on the desktop (yet), Linux is a part of almost everyone’s life, with smartphones, wifi-routers and televisions running on the Linux kernel. So I guess 20 years of Linux does call for a celebration, even if “it is just a kernel“, no?