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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.
1994: Marc Ewing creates Red Hat Linux. Bob Young buys Ewing's company, merges it with his own, and forms Red Hat, the most successful Linux company to date.