Daily Archives: August 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Linux!

I remember one day when Richard Stallman, a nobody, was featured on a local news story. Since I was living in Cambridge, some local news stories were about work being done by Harvard or MIT researchers, and in this case, Stallman was an MIT Hacker who had just started to talk about this strange idea: Writing computer programs for free.

Here’s the thing: At the time, I was looking at the idea of working as a computer programmer to make money in order to fund a career of studying evolution and teaching and stuff. Then this Stallman guy gets on the TV and says, essentially, that writing computer programs should be done for free, and that he personally picks up the occasional teaching gig to cover his expenses.

What a jerk, I thought. You’re doin’ it rong!!!

And the rest is history. Mainly his history. And GNU history.

Anyway, a few years after that, in 1991, somebody tweeted this:

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).

I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and 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 would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them 🙂

Linus (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

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

–Linus Torvalds

I'll be celebrating 20 years of Linux with The Linux Foundation!

Looking back it is rather funny that Linux Torvalds was sad because he only had AT harddisks. Last I heard from him he was finishing his dive certification in some tropical place while 8 gazilibilion lines of the latest Linux kernel were being compiled on a computer with more power than all NASA computers that ever existed prior to Apollo 13 combined. Linus and Linux have come a long long way!

Anyway, that “tweet” (and yes, I’m only joking about it being a tweet) was sent out on this day 20 years ago. Happy birthday Linux!!!!

Here’s a little video from the Linux Foundation for you to enjoy.

Continue reading Happy Birthday Linux!

Irene May Be Extreme

Category Three Hurricane Irene has just passed over Abaco Islands in the Northern Bahamas, and is generally affecting the northern Bahamas. Widespread damage is reported. Over the weekend Irene promises to be a very significant weather event in the US. In order to understand the events that will take place between today and early next week, it will be necessary to revisit the concept of “landfall,” which we have discussed here in the past.

Here’s the deal. “Landfall” is the moment in time when the eye of a hurricane contacts the land, including any barrier island or mainland. “Landfall” is NOT the arrival of a hurricane. Think of it this way. If you are standing in the middle of the street and a semi truck’s path intersects with your position, and we measure the location of the truck from its center, some 25 feet or so back from the front bumper, and the truck stops too that this reference point falls short of reaching you by three feet, you are still very much squished by the semi truck. The eye of the hurricane can be thought of at its “center” (even though it is not always in the middle) but a hurricane can be hundreds of miles wide. If hurricane force winds are arbitrarily set at 70 mph and above, then the part of the hurricane that is analogous to the semi truck’s front bumper can hit you on land, mess you all up, and move on up the coast without landfall ever happening. In the case of Irene, this zone of 70 mph or greater winds is shown as the darker color on this map, and the tropical storm force winds as the lighter color:
Continue reading Irene May Be Extreme