Seems like everyone's having 10 year anniversaries in the Linux community; I've seen a bunch of notices recently on Slashdot: the Linux Documentation Project, Debian, Slackware, etc . It's really hard to say just when in Linux's history it really "took off", but certainly back in the early '90s it was popping up in dorm rooms and labs everywhere, people were beginning to build bigger projects and more complex organizations around it, and it was generally making the change from something only serious hackers could run to something the general geekdom could play with.
Looking back somewhat nostalgically, I too got involved with Linux during that time: 10
years ago in November of '93, with Linux version .99 patch level 11. As a sophomore in
college and still fairly new to Unix, everything in Linux seemed so wild, untamed, and
exciting. With the included GNU C compiler, vi, Emacs, etc, etc, working on my speedy 486
quickly became a far superior choice over heading to the campus Sun/HP labs. But what
really made Linux cool to me was TCP/IP--and the fact that, with Linux, now my PC could
speak it. At the time, DOS/Windows 3.1 (all I knew before) had no TCP/IP stack, but here
was this thing made my PC a fully fledged member of the Internet, and from it I could
telnet, ftp, and finger to anywhere I wanted. Simply amazing .
It's been fun to be part of a phenomenon after all these years. It's hard to imagine what
the state of the industry would be like without Linux and the open source community it's
fostered. Even so, it's probably worth reminding ourselves periodically of the
opportunities they both have given us: tools to be hackers and to tinker with really cool
stuff, and the power to enhance our own professional skills to help us excel in the
 So Slackware and Debian claim they were around 10 years ago, but if
they were they certainly weren't very high on the radar. Everyone I knew was using
primitive distros like SLS, and Slackware didn't hit mainstream until summer or fall of
 Little, then, did I imagine ten years later I would be writing a
web-based journal entry on a blog system I wrote, sitting downstairs using my Apple
PowerBook (running a hybrid commercial/open-source operating system), accessing everything
over my private, WPA-protected 802.11g wireless network, tunnelled in securely to my
systems over SSH :-).