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1992: Andrew Tannenbaum, operating system guru and creator of Minix, an educational operating system version of Unix, declares “LINUX is obsolete” and Linux's first operating system war is on. In the resulting discussion, Torvalds makes a very telling comment about his vision for Linux which remains true today, “If the GNU kernel [another attempt to create a free Unix-like operating system] had been ready last spring, I'd not have bothered to even start my project: the fact is that it wasn't and still isn't. Linux wins heavily on points of being available now."
1993: There were earlier Linux distributions, such as MCC and Yggdrasil Linux but Patrick Volkerding's Slackware was the first broadly successful Linux distro and it's still being updated and used today.
1993: Debian Linux, the popular community Linux, gets its start. Today, it's the ur-source for MEPIS, Mint, Ubuntu, and many other popular Linux distributions.