This Day in Tech History - Linux was announced by Linus Torvalds [August 25, 1991]

PatentYogi_This Day in Tech History_Aug 25

Linus Torvalds, then a 21-year-old university student in Finland, announced his “little” project (which would become Linux) on user group “comp.os.minix”. His post was titled, “What would you like to see most in minix?“ He had built a simple kernel for a Unix-like operating system. In his announcement, he sought for feedback from the user group. 

Here is the post he shared on the user group:

From:torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Newsgroup: comp.os.minix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small poll for my new operating system
Message-ID: 1991Aug25, 20578.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI
Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki.

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-sytem
due to practical reasons)among other things.

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

Linus Torvalds

Linux, was eventually released in 1994 and distributed over the internet for free.

Not surprisingly, Linus Torvalds is against software patents. This position by many open-source developers has led to a situation where companies like Microsoft have made more money from Linux than any other Linux player. Microsoft makes as much as $3 billion from patents alone. That’s more than what Red Hat makes in a year. Most Linux players have signed patent licensing agreements with Microsoft.

The license agreements do not allow companies to disclose the patents covered by the agreements. But some time ago the Chinese government made a list of the patents available. List can be found here.

Here is one such patent.

Patent Information
Publication number: US5634192 A
Patent Title: Mobile-assisted handoff technique
Publication date: 27 May 1997
Filing date: 23 Feb 1995
Priority date: 23 Feb 1995
Inventors: Paul S. Meche, Donald V. Hanley, Larry D. Chrisman, Michael J. McCarthy
Original Assignee: Northern Telecom Limited