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1 23 years of linux_logo development (2020)
4 It's hard to believe this is still around.
6 Originally I'd announce things on the comp.os.linux.announce newsgroup
7 and make sure the .lsm file was up to date for uploading to sunsite.unc.edu
8 (later, ibiblio).
10 Later on instead you made sure to update the release on freshmeat.net
12 Now I suppose I just need to tag it on github.
14 Thanks to everyone still using this, I should do a better job of keeping
15 things maintained.
19 13 years of Linux_Logo development (2010)
21 Excruciating detail that no one really wanted to know.
23 Boring Backstory on the Author's Computer Skills
26 My father was a computer teacher at the local high school, so I had access
27 to computers at an early age. While I did get to do some obscure things
28 because of that, such as use an IBM keypunch machine before I was in
29 elementary school, I didn't start actual programming until a bit later.
30 I started out typing BASIC games out of books into our Apple IIe,
31 and gradually picked up enough to make kilobytes of very inane programs.
32 I also did some LOGO programming in elementary school. By middle school I
33 had moved on to GWBASIC and then QBASIC, and then finally onto Turbo Pascal
34 and assembly language on the 386/33 my family acquired in 1991.
36 My first intro to UNIX was a summer job I had in high school, in 1995.
37 I got to use SGI Irix on a 36MHz Personal Iris with a MIPS R3000-class chip.
38 I always distrusted GUIs, I always preferred the command line. I liked
39 UNIX pretty much from the start.
41 My first job on the IRIX machine was making an X11 frontend to an ancient
42 Fortran 77 program. This was not a good way to learn C or Fortran.
43 It took me a while to figure out F77 is column-sensitive, and X programming
44 gave you a brutal introduction to pointers (puzzling out how double-pointer
45 indirection worked took a while). This was 1995 so the web was still young
46 (netscape 1.x for Irix!). It was a different experience; when downloading
47 from the internet one had to make sure you weren't leaving the continent
48 (downloading Samba from Australia could take days).
50 My friend and co-worker John had discovered Linux that summer, and he
51 showed me it running on his 386/25. It was a far cry from the
52 SGI Indigo2 at work ( OpenGL graphics, 100MHz 64-bit processor, 128MB of RAM,
53 16-bit sound... it was nearly 5 years before I had a computer that could
54 match those specs). Anyway, he had slowly downloaded Slackware over a
55 14.4 modem connection onto a big pile of 3 1/2" floppies. I was excited when
56 he showed me that he could recompile the Linux kernel locally!
57 The 1.2.13 kernel didn't support his CD-ROM drive, so he compiled up a late
58 1.3.xx devel kernel and had to patch the driver to have the proper settings.
59 It took a long time to compile, but then we rebooted... and the drive went
60 crazy, continuously ejecting and unejecting. Despite the setback, I was
61 impressed. The interface was just twm and some X-terminals, but that was
62 enough for me. I skipped straight from DOS to Linux, never using Windows
63 in any significant manner.
65 The next year I went off to college, and made sure to request an ethernet
66 equipped dorm room (that wasn't a given yet). I convinced my family I
67 needed my own computer, so they bought me a second-hand 486/66.
68 Finally, a Linux box all of my own!
70 Linux Logo
73 The linux_logo story starts up now, in 1997. I had been following the GGI
74 project, which was trying to get graphics drivers for Linux into the kernel
75 (Linus strongly rejected the idea, it took over 10 years before he would
76 change his mind).
78 There was a big flame war on the linux-kernel list. Somehow the topic
79 came up on whether the kernel should put a Linux penguin on text consoles,
80 as the fb drivers did on graphics consoles. Despite being pro-GGI, I felt
81 that something like that belonged in user space, not in the kernel (though
82 in the end I did post a patch that did it in the kernel).
84 I had experience with ANSI/ASCII art from my days using BBSs. So
85 I converted the official logo.xpm file to ANSI using Rasterman's ppm2ansi
86 tool, and touched up the image using THEDRAW under Dosemu 0.66.7.
87 This is the current "classic" logo. It was barely more than a hack, but I
88 released version 0.1 on 9 July 1997.
90 There was more interest than I expected, so I cleaned up the code and
91 released a 1.0 version on 18 July 1997.
93 Version 2.0 had some code cleanups but was mostly a separation of the
94 cpuinfo code into a library-like structure. Released 13 March 1998.
96 Version 3.0 was released 2 April 1999 after a long string of beta versions.
97 This was a large re-write of the codebase.
99 Version 4.0 was released 13 February 2002 after a long string of betas.
100 It was a complete overhaul of the code, to sort out a lot of issues
101 where my C coding had gotten better, and to also fix a lot of stupid
102 decisions made earlier.
104 linux_logo was in maintenence mode for a long time, but eventually
105 made some changes to fix logo selection, and to make it easier
106 to configure from the command line (that is, make it a more UNIX-like
107 tool). I initially wasn't planning on a new major number, but in the
108 end the changes were large enough that I did. 5 July 2007 (10 year
109 anniversary pretty much).
115 linux_logo is probably my most widely used tool, which still surprises me
116 after all of these years. It is available for most distributions, though
117 it almost never is in the default install of a mainstream distro
118 (the exception was Mandrake Linux which for a while showed the output
119 on every boot). The utility is very polarizing, some people love it, others
120 hate it. The same with the logos available. Some want nothing but
121 classic style, others like the "new" banner style. I prefer the latter
122 but am outnumbered by the former.
125 The Future
128 I plan on maintaining linux_logo for as long as I continue to use Linux,
129 which hopefully is pretty much indefinitely.