16 of 20: Personal Artifacts from the Early Years of Linux

May 30 11

16 of 20: Personal Artifacts from the Early Years of Linux

Paul Weinstein

As the story goes, in 1991 Linus Torvalds, then a student at the University of Helsinki, began work on the core component, the kernel, of his own operating system based off of Andrew S. Tanenbaum‘s teaching operating system MINIX.

Since releasing the source code 20 years ago, and under his guidance ever since, the Linux kernel has become central to the development of devices from smartphones to super computers.

But for most people, when they think of Linux, they think of Linux distributions, software that includes the Linux kernel and supporting resources that complete the basic requirements of an operating system.

A few weeks ago the Linux.com Editorial Staff posted an article on one of the earliest distributions of Linux, Slackware. That in turn got me thinking about some of my early exposure to Linux in the late 90s, and what media I might still have from that time.

Linux by pdweinstein, on Flickr

My personal copy of Andrew S. Tanenbaum’s Modern Operating Systems from my Computer Science days along with Daniel A. Tauber’s The Complete Linux Kit and Randy Hootman’s Linux – Installation and Beyond </a=””>

A quick scan of my bookshelf revealed a couple of interesting artifacts. One is a copy of a book, “The Complete Linux Kit“, a 1995 title that included a CD-ROM with the Slackware Linux distribution1 that was compiled by Daniel A. Tauber and printed by Sybex.

The second is a video, “Linux – Installation and Beyond” which is described as a “three hour seminar showing installation of Red Hat Linux, Slackware Linux, Yggdrasil Plug-and-Play Linux” featuring Randy Hootman and was distributed by Yggdrasil Computing. Alas while Red Hat and Slackware still exist, in one form or another, the Yggdrasil distribution is no longer maintained and the company no longer exists.

In a small effort to share what Slackware was like, “back in the day” I offer this copy of Randy Hootman’s tutorial on installing and using Slackware Linux version 2.3:

As a small bonus, and because I personally worked for Red Hat, once upon a time, here is Randy on Red Hat Linux v2.0:

GNOME Linux Desktop v1
Speaking of Red Hat, a screenshot of my Linux Workstation in 2000, running GNOME v1

[1] Where the CD has since gone to, I’m note sure . Probably in a book of CD-ROMs in the storage.