Linux turns 30: ​Linus Torvalds on his “just a hobby” operating system

Emotional, Burning, Unlimited Tuned Laboratory

It’s been 30 years since Finnish graduate student Linus Torvalds drafted a brief note saying he was starting a hobby operating system. The world would never be the same.

In 1991, Unix was an important but secondary x86 operating system. That year, on August 25, a mild-mannered Finnish graduate student named Linus Benedict Torvalds announced on the Usenet group comp.os.minix that he was working on “a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.” No one knew it, not even Torvalds, but the technology world was about change forever.

Thirty years later, Linux rules IT. Almost all major websites — including Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia — run on Linux. It’s the same with the clouds. Even on Microsoft’s own Azure, the most popular operating system is Linux. As for supercomputers, all 500 of the world’s fastest 500 supercomputers run Linux. Thanks to Android, Linux is also the most popular end-user operating system. Not bad for a hobby operating system!