16 of 20: Personal Artifacts from the Early Years of Linux

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As the story goes, in 1991 Linus Torvalds, then a student at the University of Helsinki, began work on the core component, the kernel, of his own operating system based off of Andrew S. Tanenbaum's teaching operating system MINIX.

Since releasing the source code 20 years ago, and under his guidance ever since, the Linux kernel has become central to the development of devices from smartphones to super computers.

But for most people, when they think of Linux, they think of Linux distributions, software that includes the Linux kernel and supporting resources that complete the basic requirements of an operating system.

A few weeks ago the Linux.com Editorial Staff posted an article on one of the earliest distributions of Linux, Slackware. That in turn got me thinking about some of my early exposure to Linux in the late 90s, and what media I might still have from that time.

My personal copy of Andrew S. Tanenbaum's Modern Operating Systems from my Computer Science days along with Daniel A. Tauber's The Complete Linux Kit and Randy Hootman's Linux - Installation and Beyond 

A quick scan of my bookshelf revealed a couple of interesting artifacts. One is a copy of a book, "The Complete Linux Kit", a 1995 title that included a CD-ROM with the Slackware Linux distribution1 that was compiled by Daniel A. Tauber and printed by Sybex.

The second is a video, "Linux - Installation and Beyond" which is described as a "three hour seminar showing installation of Red Hat Linux, Slackware Linux, Yggdrasil Plug-and-Play Linux" featuring Randy Hootman and was distributed by Yggdrasil Computing. Alas while Red Hat and Slackware still exist, in one form or another, the Yggdrasil distribution is no longer maintained and the company no longer exists.

In a small effort to share what Slackware was like, "back in the day" I offer this copy of Randy Hootman's tutorial on installing and using Slackware Linux version 2.3:

As a small bonus, and because I personally worked for Red Hat, once upon a time, here is Randy on Red Hat Linux v2.0:

GNOME Linux Desktop v1
Speaking of Red Hat, a screenshot of my Linux Workstation in 2000, running GNOME v1

[1] Where the CD has since gone to, I'm note sure . Probably in a book of CD-ROMs in the storage.


Both of these videos now show "no longer available". Is there an alternate location for these videos?

It appears Viddler has disabled my account for some reason. I have contacted them to determine what the issue maybe. Unfortunately, the videos run around 45 minutes apiece so reposting them elsewhere, such as YouTube, isn't an option.

Hopefully, this is only temporary and the videos will be back shortly. My apologies.

As a computer history nut, I'm really interested in seeing these videos. Can you please just split these videos into three 15 minute segments and post them on Youtube? Maybe it's possible to upload them to Archive.org? Videos like these can get be lost in the sands of time if we don't preserve them online.

Well it looks like the issue with Viddler has been sorted. Hopefully everyone can enjoy the Linux Installation videos from 1995 I posted once again.

I am thinking of posting them else, just in case. If anything has a suggestions, such as the Internet Archive, I’ll all ears.

Oh and as a small bonus, I've added a screenshot I found of my Linux workstation from 2000, running GNOME v1

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About the Author

Paul is a technologist and all around nice guy for technology oriented organizations and parties. Besides maintaining this blog and website you can follow Paul's particular pontifications on the Life Universe and Everything on Twitter.


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