Salon: The unknown hackers

Not many Linux-come-latelies know this, but Linux was
actually the second open-source Unix-based operating system for
personal computers to be distributed over the Internet.
first was 386BSD, which was put together by an extraordinary couple
named Bill and Lynne Jolitz. In a 1993 interview with Meta
magazine, Linus Torvalds himself name-checked their O.S. “If 386BSD
had been available when I started on Linux,” he said, “Linux would
probably never have happened.”

“Linux obviously did happen. Why? Eric Raymond, the open-source
evangelist, believes it came down to a question of personal style.
In his A Brief History of Hackerdom he praises 386BSD at the
expense of the “crude” versions of Linux that were around at the

“The deciding factor, argues Raymond, was not technological but
social. Torvalds, even while practicing rigorous quality control in
determining what goes into the Linux kernel and what stays out,
nevertheless welcomes contributions and is remarkably generous in
sharing credit.”

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