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Thread: 10/91 Torvalds' Linux announcement

  1. #1

    Post 10/91 Torvalds' Linux announcement

    This article is from the fine folks at Google. This is a post made by Linus Torvalds. Founder of the Linux Operateing System. This is one of the many post that is now available is the 20 year archive at Google This message was originally posted
    by: Linus Tovald.

    Viewing message <1991Oct5.054106.4647@klaava.Helsinki.FI>

    From: Linus Benedict Torvalds (torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI)
    Subject: Free minix-like kernel sources for 386-AT
    Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
    View: (This is the only article in this thread) | Original Format
    Date: 1991-10-05 08:53:28 PST

    Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? Are you without a nice project and just dying
    to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your needs? Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on minix? No more all-nighters to get a nifty program working? Then this post might be just
    for you :-)

    As I mentioned a month(?) ago, I'm working on a free version of a
    minix-lookalike for AT-386 computers. It has finally reached the stage where it's even usable (though may not be depending on what you want),
    and I am willing to put out the sources for wider distribution. It is
    just version 0.02 (+1 (very small) patch already), but I've successfully run bash/gcc/gnu-make/gnu-sed/compress etc under it.

    Sources for this pet project of mine can be found at
    ( in the directory /pub/OS/Linux. The directory also
    contains some README-file and a couple of binaries to work under linux (bash, update and gcc, what more can you ask for :-). Full kernel source is provided, as no minix code has been used. Library sources are only partially free, so that cannot be distributed currently. The system is able to compile "as-is" and has been known to work. Heh.
    Sources to the binaries (bash and gcc) can be found at the same place in

    ALERT! WARNING! NOTE! These sources still need minix-386 to be compiled
    (and gcc-1.40, possibly 1.37.1, haven't tested), and you need minix to set it up if you want to run it, so it is not yet a standalone system for those of you without minix. I'm working on it. You also need to be something of a hacker to set it up (?), so for those hoping for an alternative to minix-386, please ignore me. It is currently meant for hackers interested in operating systems and 386's with access to minix.

    The system needs an AT-compatible harddisk (IDE is fine) and EGA/VGA. If
    you are still interested, please ftp the README/RELNOTES, and/or mail me
    for additional info.

    I can (well, almost) hear you asking yourselves "why?". Hurd will be out in a year (or two, or next month, who knows), and I've already got minix. This is a program for hackers by a hacker. I've enjouyed doing
    it, and somebody might enjoy looking at it and even modifying it for their own needs. It is still small enough to understand, use and modify, and I'm looking forward to any comments you might have.

    I'm also interested in hearing from anybody who has written any of the utilities/library functions for minix. If your efforts are freely
    distributable (under copyright or even public domain), I'd like to hear from you, so I can add them to the system. I'm using Earl Chews estdio
    right now (thanks for a nice and working system Earl), and similar works will be very wellcome. Your (C)'s will of course be left intact. Drop me a line if you are willing to let me use your code.


    PS. to PHIL NELSON! I'm unable to get through to you, and keep getting "forward error - strawberry unknown domain" or something.

    Good day,

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    Id really like to get a hold of the original code for his project. Id also like to know what happened to minix.
    Wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
    --Ecclesiastes 10:19

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Cool post!!

    I love Unix hacker nostalgia, this email just may go in my favorite papers folder. Very good job RA.

    ThePreacher, minix is still around, you can find it on many University servers still. It is considered to be the role model for writing an OS from scratch. For whatever reason, I really don't know why, Linux took off as the pet project of everyone, and minix faded into `example exisitence'. It would be fun to read the usenet post from Patrick Volkerding when he released Slackware. (I believe it was the first packaged Linux Disto, please correct me if I am wrong.)

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