Linux Operating System

  • January 1984

    Work begins on the GNU operating system.
  • October 1985

    Free Software Foundation established as a non-profit organization to promote the development of Free Software. Sponsors the GNU Project.
  • January 1987

    Computer science professor Andrew Tannenbaum publishes the textbook Operating Systems: Design and Implementation which includes a copy of a teaching version of Unix called Minix.
  • December 1987

    Larry Wall releases version 1.0 of Perl
  • February 1989

    Version 1 of the GNU General Public License (GPL) is released.
  • June 1991

    Version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPL) is released.
  • August 1991

    Linus Torvalds announces that he's working on an operating system similar to Minix.
  • September 1991

    Version 0.01 of Torvald's project is made available via Ari Lemmke, the systems administrator, gives the directory the name Linux.
  • October 1991

    Richard Stallman expresses interest in having the Free Software Foundation distribute a GNU system with the Linux kernel.
  • December 1991

    Robert Blum posts the first Linux FAQ
  • January 1992

    Minix creator Andrew Tannenbaum claims "Linux is obsolete" in a posting to comp.os.minix and starts a public discussion on the merits of Linux in which Linus Torvalds participates. alt.os.linux newsgroup created.
  • February 1992

    What could be described as the first Linux "distribution", called MCC Interim Linux is released by the University of Manchester, England.
  • March 1992

    Version 0.95 of the Linux kernel released. First version to be able to support X-Window.
  • September 1992

    A Linux distribution called Softlanding Linux System (SLS) is released. Early users include Patrick Volkerding and Ian Murdock.
  • November 1992

    Software und System Entwicklung GmbH (SuSE) founded in Nuremberg, Germany. Distributes a German version of SLS with corresponding manuals.
  • March 1993

    Matt Welsh issues the Linux Documentation Project Manifesto. He states that the goal of the LDP is to "collaborate in taking care of all of the issues of Linux documentation".
  • August 1993

    Version 1.0 of Slackware released by Patrick Volkerding. It is based on the SLS distribution. Ian Murdock creates the Debian distribution.
  • September 1993

    Richard M. Stallman announces the GNU Project, an attempt at creating a completely free operating system.
  • March 1994

    First issue of Linux Journal published, Linux kernel version 1.0 released.
  • April 1994

    Version 1.0 of SuSE Linux released. It is based on SLS.
  • May 1994

    Michael McLagan registers the domain.
  • June 1994

    Rasmus Lerdorf releases the first version of the PHP scripting language. Jon 'maddog' Hall founds Linux International.
  • September 1994

    William R. Della Croce, Jr. of Boston, Massachusetts registers the Linux trademark. He begins, shortly thereafter, to ask for compensation for the use of the word Linux.
  • October 1994

    Linux distributor Caldera founded by Ray Noorda of Novell and Ransom Love. Marc Ewing releases the first version of Red Hat Linux.
  • March 1995

    Apache web server project started as a series of patches to the NCSA HTTPd server (a patchy server). Bob Young partners with Marc Ewing and forms Red Hat Software.
  • March 1996

    Linux kernel version 2.0 released.
  • May 1996

    Linus Torvalds suggests that a "slightly overweight penguin" would be the best mascot for Linux. He recommends Larry Ewing's "Tux" penguin images.
  • August 1997

    The Linux trademark dispute between William Della Croce and Linus Torvalds is settled, with Della Croce re-assigning the trademark to Torvalds. Miguel de Icaza starts the GNOME project.
  • February 1998

    Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond found the Open Source Initiative, an organization to promote the use of open source software and establish guidelines for open source licenses.
  • May 1998

    Google search engine appears using servers running Linux.
  • July 1998

    Sam Ockman founds Penguin Computing. It is the first hardware company to produce Linux-only systems. Version 1.0 of the K Desktop Environment (KDE) released. Gael Duval creates Mandrake Linux.
  • August 1998

    Forbes magazine devotes its cover story to Linus Torvalds.
  • November 1998

    Eric S. Raymond releases internal Microsoft memos, known as the "Halloween Documents", that show that the company is formulating plans to deal with the increasing use of Linux.
  • December 1998

    Corel releases Word Perfect 8 for Linux as a free download.
  • January 1999

    Linux kernel version 2.2 released.
  • March 1999

    The Burlington Coat Factory announces that it is using Linux in its stores. GNOME 1.0 desktop released.
  • May 1999

    Dell pre-installs Red Hat Linux on some servers and workstations.
  • August 1999

    Red Hat has its initial public offering (IPO) and becomes a publicly traded company.
  • October 1999

    VA Linux systems stock reaches $320 US after starting its initial public offering (IPO) at $30. Ending the day at $239.25, it is the largest first-day gain in history to date.
  • November 1999

    Corel releases Linux distribution. Matthew Szulik replaces Bob Young as CEO of Red Hat.
  • march 2000

    A Netcraft survey reveals that Apache webserver powers 60% of the World Wide Web. Linux distributor Caldera Systems Inc has its initial public offering (IPO).
  • May 2000

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls Linux "a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • August 2000

    Caldera Systems acquires the Santa Cruz Operation's (SCO) Unix server division.
  • September 2000

    Trolltech releases the QT libraries, used by KDE, under the GPL.
  • October 2000

    Microsoft buys a large stake in Corel. IBM CEO Louis Gerstner announces that the company will invest $1 billion in Linux development.
  • January 2001

    Linux kernel version 2.4 released. Corel announces that it is selling its Linux unit.
  • May 2001

    Linus Torvalds publishes his autobiography entitled Just for Fun with the help of journalist David Diamond.
  • August 2001 founder Michael Robertson starts development on Lindows, a Debian-based distribution which promises to be a Linux distribution that can be used by anybody.
  • October 2001 reveals in a SEC filing that switching to Linux has saved them over $20 million.
  • November 2001

    18 year-old Brazilian developer Marcelo Tosatti becomes the maintainer of the 2.4 kernel. Microsoft files a trademark infringement suit against Lindows, claiming the similarity to the name Windows "confuses the public".
  • January 2002

    Credit Suisse First Boston fined $100 million for fraud in connection with the VA Linux IPO.
  • February 2002

    Linus Torvalds begins using BitMover's BitKeeper to manage kernel development. Bitkeeper is proprietary software and many, including Richard Stallman, criticize the decision.
  • May 2002

    Linux distributors Caldera, SuSE, Turbolinux and Conectiva sign an agreement to form UnitedLinux and jointly develop a Linux distribution for servers.
  • June 2002

    Ransom Love is ousted as CEO of Caldera and is replaced by Darl McBride.
  • July 2002

    Walmart begins selling Microtel PCs through their online store with Lindows and Mandrake Linux pre-installed. Version 1.0 of the free sound codec Ogg Vorbis is released.
  • August 2002

    Caldera announces that they are changing their name to The SCO Group and are going to concentrate on Unix development. Free office suite 1.0 is released. Shares of VA Linux stock reach an history low $0.64 US. Having been the highest climber in IPO history, VA Linux becomes the poster child for the dot-com bust.
  • January 2003

    Maureen O'Gara of LinuxGram posts a story that SCO is planning on suing Linux vendors for using proprietary Unix intellectual property. The SCO Controversy begins.(see separate SCO timeline).
  • May 2003

    The city of Munich, Germany announces that it's switching 14,000 PCs from Windows to Linux.
  • June 2003

    La Junta de Extremadura (Spain) announces that 80,000 computers in their schools are running a distribution called GNU/LinEx. Linus Torvalds announces that he's leaving Transmeta to work full time on the kernel for the Open Source Development Labs. The Torvalds family moves to Oregon.
  • July 2003

    Red Hat announces that they will no longer sell boxed sets of their Linux distribution for retail customers. Instead, they will distribute Linux to end users via a development distribution called Fedora Core.
  • August 2003

    Novell buys Linux desktop software company Ximian.
  • November 2003

    Novell acquires German Linux distributor SuSE.
  • December 2003

    Linux kernel version 2.6 is released.
  • July 2004

    Microsoft settles its trademark dispute with Lindows. Lindows changes its name to Linspire and assigns Microsoft the rights to the Lindows name. Microsoft pays $20 million and grants Linspire licenses to use certain Windows media libraries.
  • October 2004

    Microsoft settles its trademark dispute with Lindows. Lindows changes its name to Linspire and assigns Microsoft the rights to the Lindows name. Microsoft pays $20 million and grants Linspire licenses to use certain Windows media libraries.
  • April 2005

    Larry McVoy, creator of BitKeeper, discontinues support for the free BitKeeper client after complaining about attempts to reverse engineer it. Linus Torvalds announces that he will no longer use BitKeeper for kernel development. Torvalds starts work on a replacement he calls Git.
  • December 2005

    In strongly worded emails to the GNOME mailing list, Linus Torvalds reveals that he prefers KDE to GNOME, starting a small controversy. "Gnome seems to be developed by interface nazis...", claims Torvalds.
  • Januray 2006

    Linus Torvalds reveals that he doesn't like the anti-DRM provisions in the draft for version 3 of the GNU General Public License and as it stands, he won't convert the Linux kernel to it.
  • April 2006

    Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announces that the company may develop their own Linux distribution. " makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux.", states Ellison.
  • May 2006

    Nicolas Negroponte displays the first working prototype of a $100 laptop computer running Linux and designed for children in the third world. Bill Gates ridicules the project.
  • November 2006

    Novell and Microsoft sign a controversial agreement in which Novell agrees to work on SUSE Linux/Windows interoperability while Microsoft pledges not to sue Novell's customers for possible patent infringement. The agreement is poorly received by the Linux-user community. It also prompts a re-write of the upcoming version 3 of the GNU General Public License in order to insert clauses to prohibit distribution of GPL software under such patent agreements.
  • May 2007

    Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith states in a Fortune magazine interview that his company believes that Linux and related projects infringe on over 230 Microsoft patents. There are fears that a patent war between Microsoft and the Free Software/Open Source developers. might break out. Dell announces that it will pre-load Ubuntu Linux on selected desktop and laptop models of their computers.
  • June 2007

    Linux distributors Xandros and Linspire sign patent agreements with Microsoft similar to the pact previously signed between Novell and Microsoft. Ubuntu Linux maintainer Mark Shuttleworth and Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon publicly rule out making such agreements. It is also revealed that Red Hat had been negotiating a pact with Microsoft though finally no agreement was reached.