"When I actually read some of these birthday pieces, it turned
out that they were celebrating the release of version 1.0 of Linux,
which took place at 22.38 on 13 March, 1994. Fortunately, it seemed
like I would not need to live through the last three years again.
But then I was left with the perplexing question why people were
marking this arbitrary event.
"Just how arbitrary it was can be seen from the consolidated
Linux kernel history. This shows that on 16 January 1992 the kernel
was at version 0.12, but became version 0.95 a couple of months
later. Version 0.99 was released in December 1993, and there then
followed the most extraordinary series of incremental updates,
passing through 0.99.1, 0.99.12, 0.99.12a, 0.99.12z, 0.99.15a,
0.99.15j and finally Pre-1.0. Towards the end of this odyssey,
there were updates every few days -- sometimes even several on one
"Clearly what was going on over these months was an almost
obsessive honing of the Linux kernel. But the difference between
version 0.99.14z, say, and version 1.0 is slight: it's not that the
former was unusable, and the latter sheer perfection. Indeed, there
is nothing extraordinarily special about version 1.0 compared to
its immediate forebears, except for its numbering."