Unix to Linux timeline

How Linux born? Is it coming from Unix? A brief timeline of Unix to Linux.

Unix to Linux

unix to linux timeline

E.W. Dijkstra develops MULTICS (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service), a time-sharing operating system in the Netherlands.

Bell Telephone (AT&T) lab researcher Ken Thompson developed a new system using MULTICS. His co-worker Brian Kernigham dubbed it UNICS(Uniplexed Information and Computing Service).

UNICS later changed to UNIX.

The UNIX operating system was born.

1969 – 1973
Bell Telephone researcher Dennis Ritchie develops the C language as a systems programming language for UNIX.

UNIX versions 6 and 7 were developed, first in B and Assembly then C. At first UNIX built for academic purpose only. But later it was sold to vendors.

Richard Stallman announced about the development of GNU Project(GNU’s Not Unix!).

Andrew S. Tanenbaum develops MINIX, a unix like system based on a microkernel architecture. MINIX first developed for the educational purpose, later the development focuses on building a highly reliable microkernel OS.

1980s – 1990s
The “Unix Wars” occur. Vendors struggle to standardize UNIX.

GNU’s own kernel, The Hurd, was developed.

Linus Torvalds while studying at the University of Helsinki, started development of the Linux kernal based on MINIX, applications on MINIX also used in linux.

Linux matured. Developers decided to continue development of Linux kernal on Linux systems. Also all MINIX applications get replaced by GNU components.

A fully functional and free operating system developed using GNU software and the Linux kernel.


Linux was born.

Some people call it “GNU/Linux” or simply “Linux”. There is a controversy with the name.

1990s – Today

Various UNIX like operating systems or Linux distributions are released, such as; OSX, Debian and Ubuntu.