Three decades of Linux

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Linux, maddog charts his career in free and open source software.

Thirty years! The Linux Pro Magazine editorial staff told me that the focus of this issue was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Linus Torvald’s message to the world that he was going to start his “little project,” suggesting that I write something about it.

Of course, for me, 30 years is only three-fifths of my work career. I was very lucky to start in programming when computer systems were a lot simpler. Often they did not have an operating system. The device drivers were linked into your program, even on a mainframe machine that cost several million dollars, and had 1MB of memory.

I started at a time when computer security was locking the door at night (and of course you turned the computer off), networking was carrying a box of punch cards down the hall, and graphics were ASCII art printed out on the line printer. We did not have network architects or system administrators. We had operators, who would load the tapes, run the programs, and feed the printers with 132-column, green-and-white-striped, fan-fold paper

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