How Linux Got Its Name

I am otherwise engaged and I still want to get out an article every other day, so today I’m pretty much going to copy/paste a Wikipedia article and call it good.

If you’ve ever wondered where the Linux name came from, and how it got to be that way, then you’d have looked it up already! Well, if you haven’t and you’ve just made assumptions this entire time, you might be in for a surprise. Linux wasn’t originally called Linux – sorta.

Like I said, I’m just going to cheat and let Wikipedia do its thing. They wrote it better than I can, and I’m sorely lacking time today.

Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention “Freax”, a portmanteau of “free”, “freak”, and “x” (as an allusion to Unix). During the start of his work on the system, some of the project’s makefiles included the name “Freax” for about half a year. Torvalds had already considered the name “Linux”, but initially dismissed it as too egotistical.

In order to facilitate development, the files were uploaded to the FTP server ( of FUNET in September 1991. Ari Lemmke, Torvalds’ coworker at the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), who was one of the volunteer administrators for the FTP server at the time, did not think that “Freax” was a good name, so he named the project “Linux” on the server without consulting Torvalds.[52] Later, however, Torvalds consented to “Linux”.

According to a newsgroup post by Torvalds,[9] the word “Linux” should be pronounced (/ˈlɪnʊks/ (About this soundlisten) LIN-uuks) with a short ‘i’ as in ‘print’ and ‘u’ as in ‘put’. To further demonstrate how the word “Linux” should be pronounced, he included an audio guide (About this soundlisten (help·info)) with the kernel source code.[53] Contradictory, in this recording, he pronounces ‘Linux’ (/ˈlinʊks/ (About this soundlisten) LEEN-uuks with a short but close unrounded front vowel.

Source: Wikipedia

And, there you have it. That’s also the entirety of today’s article! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter! (Don’t worry, I’ll write better stuff. I’m just really short on time.)

Linux History: A Reminder!

I’ve nearly finished Wiley’s 10th Edition of the Linux Bible and it’s a wonderful book. In it, way back near the start, there’s this gem – and it really tells us how far Linux has come.

Some histories of Linux begin with the following message entitled “What would you like to
see most in minix?” posted by Linus Torvalds to the comp.os.minix newsgroup on August
25, 1991, at!msg/comp.os.minix/dlNtH7RRrGA/SwRavCzVE7gJ

Linus Benedict Torvalds

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-system (due to practical
reasons, among other things). . .Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise
I’ll implement them 🙂

Linus (torvalds@[redacted].fi)

PS. Yes — it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT
protable[sic] (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support
anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.

Anyone reading this site will not need elaboration. Man, how far has Linux come? How far will it go? Will there someday be a small project that takes off and supplants Linucus Rex?