Fun Facts About Linux


Linux banner

Below are 26 questions that detail fun and obscure facts about the Linux operating system. Regardless of how much you’ve used Linux in the past, there’s likely a few or more that you probably didn’t know. Try answering each one from memory (or give it a good guess!) and then expand the Show me the answer! section to see if you are correct. PERFECT SCORES WIN A PRIZE!!! If you knew the correct answer to all 26 of these questions off the top of your head, send me an email and I’ll send you a link to download a free (yes FREE!) copy of Fedora Linux ;-)


1. When did Linus Torvalds announce his free operating system that would later be called Linux?

Show me the answer!

The official USENET Linux annoucement took place on the 25th of August, 1991:  

Linux announcement email


2. How big was the first Linux kernel?

Show me the answer!

The first Linux kernel was only 65 KB in size. While this may seem small by today’s standards, it was larger than all the memory in a Commodore 64.  



3. There have been >1000 distributions of Linux created over the years. Roughly how many actively-maintained Linux distributions are available at any one time?

Show me the answer!

According to, at any one time there are over 250 actively-maintained Linux distributions. This also means that there will always be some Linux distribution being used out there that you’ve never heard of before.  



4. What percentage of the top 500 supercomputers run Linux?

Show me the answer!

According to the TOP500 index (, 100% of all top 500 supercomputers run Linux, and have for quite some time now:  



5. What is the oldest Linux distribution?

Show me the answer!

Slackware (released July 17, 1993) is the oldest distribution of Linux.  



6. How many lines of code did the Linux kernel have in 2020?

Show me the answer!

In 2020, the Linux kernel had approximately 27.8 million lines of code. Today it has over 30 million.  



7. What was the first non-x86 port of Linux?

Show me the answer!

The first port of Linux (developed for i386) to a new architecture was to the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Alpha. It was started in 1993 and took approximately one year. It was officially completed in 1995.  



8. What was the Linux desktop (NOT server/cloud/IoT/phone/etc.) marketshare at the end of 2021?

Show me the answer!

According to Gartner, Linux had a desktop marketshare of 2.4% by the end of 2021. While this may seem small, it’s the highest it has ever been for desktops.  



9. Approximately what percentage of Linux contributions come from developers paid by large enterprises such as Intel, Huawei, AMD, NVIDIA, Red Hat, Google, Samsung, SUSE, Meta and Microsoft?

Show me the answer!

Approximately 80% of all Linux contributions come from developers who are employed or otherwise sponsored by large enterprises that have a vested interest in the development of Linux.  



10. What name did Linus Torvalds originally want to use for Linux?

Show me the answer!

Freax (Free + UNIX) was Linus’ original recommended name for what later became known as Linux.  



11. When was the first Red Hat Linux distribution released?

Show me the answer!

It’s fitting that one of the most iconic Linux distributions (Red Hat) was released on a holiday: Halloween, 1994.  



12. What version of the Linux kernel started using the GNU General Public License (GPL)?

Show me the answer!

Linux version 0.99 (1992) used GPLv2. Prior versions just had a generic license forbidding commercial use or redistribution.  



13. What did Steve Ballmer from Microsoft accuse Linux of being at one point?

Show me the answer!

Steve Ballmer accused Linux of being “a cancer” (in all fairness, given its rapid adoption rate he wasn’t entirely wrong with this analogy).  



14. In 2001, Linux became the first operating to support what?

Show me the answer!

In 2001, Linux was the first operating sytem to support the 64-bit Intel architecture used everywhere today. AMD64 (also called x86_64) was first introduced by AMD in 1999.  



15. Outside of Linux, what is Linus Torvalds most famous for?

Show me the answer!

Creating the git version control system that is used by nearly all software developers worldwide. It was arguably the biggest thing that happened to open source developers since, well, Linux.  



16. Versions of the Linux kernel started before long before 1.0. When was version 1.0 of the Linux kernel released?

Show me the answer!

Version 1.0 of Linux dropped on March 14, 1994. Just before the movie Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.  



17. Who offered Linus Torvalds a job in 2000 on the condition that he stop development on Linux?

Show me the answer!

Steve Jobs offered Linus a job in 2000 on the condition he stop developing Linux. It’s a good thing Linus turned it down.  



18. What language is used to write most of the Linux kernel?

Show me the answer!

Most of the Linux kernel is written in the C programming language (although Profanity would be equally correct).  



19. When was the first book about Linux written?

Show me the answer!

The first Linux book was published in 1993. It was Matt Welsh’s Linux Installation and Getting Started.  



20. When was the first Linux magazine (Linux Journal) published?

Show me the answer!

The first issue of Linux Journal was released in March 1994, and it included an interview with Linus Torvalds.  



21. What was the first Hollywood blockbuster that was developed entirely on Linux using Free and Open Source (FOSS) software?

Show me the answer!

Titanic (1997) was the first movie developed on Linux (SuSE on DEC Alpha) using customized open source software tools.  



22. Who was Tux (the Linux mascot) named after in 1996?

Show me the answer!

Tux was named after Linus Torvalds (Tux stands for “Torvalds UniX”).  



23. Which Free and Open Source (FOSS) software led most Linux adoption during the 1990s?

Show me the answer!

The Apache web server. The rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s was made possible by this free web server that could run on a free operating system such as Linux or BSD UNIX. If only commercial web servers and operating systems were available, the cost of hosting a Web server would be too high for most enthusiasts, and the Web would not have had the explosive growth it had in the 1990s.  



Show me the answer!

Linux is a popular laundry detergent in Switzerland. This must be incredibly confusing for tech workers over there…  

Linux laundry detergent


25. Which Linux distribution does Linus Torvalds install on all of his home computers?

Show me the answer!

Linus uses Fedora Linux on all the computers in his household. Even after purchasing an Apple M2-based MacBook in 2022 to run Asahi Linux, Linus chose to use the Asahi drivers and boot software only and load Fedora for ARM on it.  



26. How much does The Linux Foundation pay Linus Torvalds each year for his contributions to Linux?

Show me the answer!

The Linux Foundation gives Linus Torvalds $1.5 million dollars USD per year for his hard work directing the development of Linux.  

1.5 million