¿Qué significa y cómo comenzó Linux?

A pesar de que todo el mundo interpreta que Linux es un sistema operativo, en verdad están muy equivocados. Linux es el núcleo del sistema, pero el sistema operativo complete tiene que llamarse GNU/Linux. Suele haber cierto desconocimiento respecto a la diferenciación entre Linux y GNU, pero esto lo dejaremos para otra entrada, ya que tiene su chicha. Nos centraremos en esta en hablar de lo que significa exclusivamente Linux. ¿Os habéis preguntado alguna vez por qué llamamos Linux a Linux? ¿De dónde viene dicha palabra?

Veamos primero los correos electrónicos que desembocaron en el inicio de Linux…

Allá por 1991, Linux…

Allá por 1991, Linux comenzó su andadura… hasta nuestros días. La historia de Linux, por tanto, comienza en 1991. Esto sorprende a muchos, ya que es 4 años más joven que el mundialmente conocido Windows 95. Pero así es.

Y comenzó de la mano de un estudiante de informática finlandés llamado Linus Torvalds. A continuación os transcribo los correos electrónicos que anunciaron e iniciaron el desarrollo de Linux…

3 de julio de 1991

En este email, Linus preguntaba en el foro de noticias comp.os.minix unas cuestiones acerca de su proyecto de carrera en MINIX, dejando entrever que estaba trabajando en algo nuevo…

From:torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroup: comp.os.minix
Subject: GCC-1.40 and a posix question
Message-ID: 1991Jul13, 100050.9886@klaava.Helsinki.FI
Date: 3 Jul 91 10:00:50 GMT

Hello netlanders,
Due a project I'm working on (in minix), I'm interested
in the posix standard definition. Could somebody please
point me to a (preferably) machine-readable format of the
latest posix rules? Ftp-sites would be nice.

Linux Torvalds torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi

25 de agosto de 1991

Poco tiempo después, Linus ya hablaba directamente de un sistema operativo libre…

From:torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroup: comp.os.minix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small poll for my new operating system
Message-ID: 1991Aug25, 20578.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI
Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki.

Hello everybody out there using minix-

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't
be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.
This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready.
I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix; as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-sytem due to practical reasons) among other things.
I've currently ported bash (1.08) an gcc (1.40), and things seem to work.
This implies that i'll get something practical within a few months, and I'd like to know what features most people want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)

Linux Torvalds torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi

5 de octubre de 1991

Este día puede considerarse como el inicio de Linux de un modo «extraoficial», gracias al siguiente email:

From: Linus Benedict Torvalds (torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI)
Subject: Free minix-like kernel sources for 386-AT
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
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 nic.funet.fi ( 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 /pub/gnu.

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.

Pero… ¿por qué se le llama Linux a Linux?


Pues la respuesta es muy sencilla. Viene de la unión de dos palabras: Linus y UNIX. Linus es obviamente el nombre de la persona que inició su desarrollo y UNIX es el proyecto base de desarrollo de Linux. Es decir…

Linus + UNIX = Linux



7 comentarios en «¿Qué significa y cómo comenzó Linux?»

  1. Hola, según creia, el nombre de Linux es un acronimo que significa Linux is not Unix, dado que el minix era un desarrollo basado en minix, sobre la base de una kernel que podia correr Unix minimizado en procesadores 286 y 386, de ahi el nombre de minix, simplemente por un asunto de licensia. Muchas gracias por tu comentario


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