History of Early Linux Distros
If you haven’t noticed, if you’re looking for a Linux distribution, you’re spoiled for choice. Sites like DistroWatch
list hundreds of different Linux distros on the site. But where did they all come from?
Since Linux is just a kernel, as Richard Stallman is fond of pointing out
, it’s not really that useful by itself, and regardless of how you feel about the GNU/Linux naming controversy, it really is a misnomer to call Linux an operating system. As a kernel, it just does basic things like storing files on a hard drive or accessing a network. It requires utilities to make it useful.
In the early ’90s, some people had the bright idea to start packaging utilities with the Linux kernel to create distributions that essentially allowed programmers to run Unix, which was an operating system that they were familiar with on expensive computers from DEC and Sun, on cheap PCs.
The earliest known distribution was by HJ Lu in early 1992. It consisted of two floppies: a “boot” disk to boot the system and a “root” disk that contained the filesystem, and from which it actually ran. The concept was similar to today’s “live” distros that run off a CD or a thumb drive.
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