Reminiscing about distro history

Continuing from Introduce yourself! (2023 Q1) - #66 by afarrag

Guess that makes me quite the nerd.
I have been using linux beginning with redhat about 1992. :nerd_face: :sunglasses:


I’m curious about that - I thought Red Hat was a fork of Slackware and came out ~1994/1995. I got my first DOS machine in 1992. It was an Osborne One before that (which I still have!).

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We have some Red Hat Linux history on the wiki — History of Red Hat Linux - Fedora Project Wiki. It was never a Slackware fork, always its own thing.

It’s possible that Slackware was used to create it… that was probably the most popular distro at the time. But I have no actual knowledge…

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I didn’t remember exactly when RH was created. My first linux machine was RH, and installed from either floppies or CD. I bought RH and used to have the original box it came in but have moved enough times that those items have disappeared. When Fedora Core was created in 2003 I of course switched to fedora.

According to wikipedia the first release of RH was in 1994 so I must have remembered the dates wrong. Widioedia also shows RHEL was released in 2004.

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Interesting, TIL! It was my (incorrect) understanding that both Red Hat Linux and SuSE were derived from Slackware (since that and Debian were the only two main ones at the time), but I’m struggling to find a non-forum/blog source for that for RHL where the SuSE’s Slackware roots are clear. Closest I could find was multiple sites referencing that Bob Young started off his business selling Slackware CDs before rebranding ACC Bookstore as Red Hat with Marc Ewing.

That said, I found the original mailing list archive where Marc Ewing described Red Hat Software (RHS) Linux as “Built from scratch, RHS Linux represents a quantum leap in Linux usability.” (Red Hat Software Linux on CD-ROM now shipping)

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The distributions trees/timelines as a graphic:

Linux Distributions Timeline


This is a really nice resource! Thank you!

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I got my first RH from a CD in the back of Red Hat Unleashed. That what got me started on this journey and I’m still here :grin:

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Not Linux, but my first alternative OS was BeOS. I think I first tried it in 1997 or so running it on a Power Macintosh 7300. Later I ran the Intel version on an HP machine. Loved BeOS back in the day. I also loved OpenSolaris in the 2000’s. I ran that on a ThinkPad.

Around the mid/late 1990s, I wanted to see what all the noise over Linux was all about, so I tried several distros unsuccessfully, until I found Mandrake Linux. It was the first one that I could get to work on the PC I had at the time, right out of the box, and the community was very helpful explaining how to get Networking sorted out despite the fact that I used Windows to post my questions. I stuck with it until the company (then Mandriva Linux) stopped development. Then I switched to Mageia (because many of the Mandriva dev team members forked it over), until I had issues with version 8. At that point I distro-surfed for a while (KDE Neon, LMDE, and a few others) until I tried out FEDORA 37. I liked it, but not the Gnome desktop, so I tried the Cinnamon spin and finally settled on Fedora-KDE. The thing I like best about Fedora is how solid and stable it feels, no matter which desktop environment you prefer, not to mention that the various dev teams ask for testing help from the user community. That experience is a first for me :).




I was late to the Linux game. I went from CP/M to DOS and then was an early NT adopter, so I didn’t install Linux until 2005. I got a ThinkPad in college and put Windows on it and then failed the “Windows Genuine Advantage” for Microsoft Update, so I was annoyed enough to try Linux. A friend suggested Fedora, so I spent hours downloading and burning Fedora Core 4 isos to CDs only to find that they wouldn’t boot. Back then, the SRPM (source) images were in the same FTP folder as the RPM (installer) ones and I had grabbed the SRPM isos, so I had burned the source code but couldn’t install it. I then tried Debian, which only required one CD. I got it installed, but only got a command line. I tried every DOS cmd command I could think of (dir and echo at least worked) and but couldn’t figure out how to get to a GUI or install anything, so I decided to try Fedora again. I got it installed, but wifi didn’t work, so I literally stayed up all night and into the dawn before I finally got ndiswrapper compiled and loaded. I remember relabeling the Gnome 2 icons to match Windows for familiarity (My Computer, My Documents, etc.), but became more and more impressed with it over the next week or two and decided to keep it. I eventually joined IRC to get support for it (I was still a Windows person entering into a Linux world at that point) and that was my introduction to the Fedora community from there.

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Sometimes I like to run good old Bell Labs UNIX v9 on TME just for nostalgia.

It has Warren Montgomery’s emacs 4.9.

But as Rob Pike wrote, you’d think it never existed.

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I think my first Linux experience at home was Suse, I think this was 9 but could be wrong about that, It was a CD provided with a book on Linux. and got its own machine. I had previously installed Red Hat from floppies at work but, we weren’t in a place to pursue it at the time. I also spent a lot of time in Mepis.

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Just installed Fedora Core 1 under qemu-KVM.

Here are some screenshots.

Edited: Two more shots: “Mozilla from past browsing today”; “One true editor”.

Still have to find RH7 from SAMS publishing (that was my first contact with Linux).

:tux: :fedora: