Linux in the Late 90s: A Look Back


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Oct 27, 2011
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The late 90s marked a significant time in the history of Linux. It was during this period that the open-source operating system started to gain mainstream popularity and attract the attention of a wider audience. The rise of Linux in the late 90s was marked by the growth of its user community, the development of new distributions, and the emergence of new technologies.

Before the widespread availability of the internet, Linux users had to rely on other means of support and information exchange. One of the most popular platforms for Linux users during this time was Usenet, a decentralized global bulletin board system. Usenet allowed Linux users to connect with each other, exchange ideas, and ask for help with various technical issues.

Some popular Usenet newsgroups for Linux users during this time period included:
  • comp.os.linux: This newsgroup was dedicated to general discussion about the Linux operating system, including topics such as installation, configuration, and software development.

  • comp.os.linux.announce: This newsgroup was a low-traffic mailing list for announcing new Linux-related software releases and updates.

  • comp.os.linux.hardware: This newsgroup was focused on discussion of hardware compatibility with Linux and the use of Linux on different types of hardware.

  • comp.os.linux.setup: This newsgroup was focused on helping new users set up and configure their Linux systems, as well as troubleshooting any issues that arose during the process.

  • comp.os.linux.admin: This newsgroup was focused on the administration and maintenance of Linux systems, including topics such as security, networking, and system performance.
Additionally, many Linux users also utilized Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels to communicate with others and seek assistance. These early forms of online communication helped to foster a sense of community among Linux users, which was essential in the early days of Linux when support and resources were limited.

The late 90s also saw the rise of several popular Linux websites, including, Linux Weekly News, and Linux Journal. These websites served as a central hub for information and resources for Linux users, providing articles, tutorials, and news updates on the latest developments in the Linux community., in particular, was one of the most popular Linux websites of the time, offering a wealth of information and resources for Linux users, including a comprehensive database of software and tools, as well as a user forum where users could ask questions and exchange information.

Another defining aspect of the Linux landscape in the late 90s was the emergence of new Linux distributions. At this time, the two most popular distributions were Red Hat and Debian. Both of these distributions were widely used by Linux users and offered a robust set of tools and resources for users, including software packages, documentations, and support forums. Red Hat, in particular, was known for its focus on enterprise users and its professional-grade tools and support services.

Despite the rapid growth of Linux in the late 90s, the operating system was still considered to be in its early stages of development. Many of the features and technologies that are now standard in modern Linux distributions, such as graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and the ability to run on a wide range of hardware, were still in their infancy. However, the Linux community continued to grow and evolve, and its users continued to push the limits of what was possible with the operating system.

In conclusion, the late 90s marked a pivotal time in the history of Linux. The growth of its user community, the rise of new technologies, and the emergence of new distributions helped to establish Linux as a powerful and versatile operating system. Looking back on the late 90s, it's clear to see how far Linux has come, and the impact it has had on the world of technology. Despite the challenges it faced in its early days, Linux has become one of the most widely-used and respected operating systems in the world, and its influence continues to grow.

See? Now I'm suspicious! That looks like it could have been written by AI.
Excellent stroll down memory lane.
I also didn't know had been around that long. You're old! haha
You can kinda get a grasp of these things with a check of 'whois' history. The first registration for was in 1994.
That's a good, rich history, having been there practically from the beginning. My first foray with Linux wasn't until 2003. RH
Actually a friend of mine ran it back then.

That's a good thing. I suspect you're well aware of how valuable the '' domain name is on the domain name market. It's probably for the best that it hasn't been sold on the open market.

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