MCC Interim Linux

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MCC Interim Linux
Developer Owen Le Blanc
OS family Unix-like
Working state Historic
Source model Free and open source software
Initial release February 1992
Latest release 1.2+[citation needed] / 23 April 1996
Available in Various
Update method None (manual)
Package manager None
Platforms Intel 386
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Userland GNU
Default user interface Command line interface
License Various

MCC Interim Linux was a Linux distribution first released in February 1992 by Owen Le Blanc of the Manchester Computing Centre (MCC), part of the University of Manchester. It was the first Linux distribution created for computer users who were not Unix experts[1] and featured a menu-driven installer that installed both the kernel and a set of end-user and programming tools.

The MCC first made Linux available by anonymous FTP in November 1991.[2] Le Blanc's irritations with his early experiments with Linux, such as the lack of a working fdisk (he would later write one), the need to use multiple FTP repositories to acquire all the essential software, and library version problems, inspired the creation of this distribution.[3]

Le Blanc claimed he referred to the distributions as "interim" because "...they are not intended to be final or official. They are small, harmonious, and moderately tested. They do not conform to everyone's taste -- what release does? -- but they should provide a stable base to which other software can be added."[2]

History[edit]

Prior to its first release, the closest approximation to a Linux distribution had been H J Lu's "Boot-root" floppy disk images. These were two 5¼" diskette images containing the Linux kernel and the minimum tools required to get started. So minimal were these tools that to be able to boot from a hard drive required editing its master boot record with a hex editor.[4]

The first release of MCC Interim Linux was based on Linux 0.12 and made use of Theodore Ts'o's ramdisk code to copy a small root image to memory, freeing the floppy drive for additional utilities diskettes.[2]

He also stated his distributions were "unofficial experiments", describing the goals of his releases as being:

  • To provide a simple installation procedure.[3]
  • To provide a more complete installation procedure.
  • To provide a backup/recovery service.
  • To back up his (then) current system.
  • To compile, link, and test every binary file under the current versions of the kernel, gcc, and libraries.[2]
  • To provide a stable base system, which can be installed in a short time, and to which other software can be added with relatively little effort.

Indeed, no attempt was ever made to distribute it with a wide range of software or even the X386 windowing system.

Successors[edit]

Soon after the first release came other distributions such as TAMU, created by individuals at Texas A&M University, Martin Junius's MJ[citation needed], Softlanding Linux System and H J Lu's small base system. These in turn were quickly superseded by Debian and Slackware, the oldest surviving distributions.

The 1.0 distribution of MCC Interim pointed out that Debian was "five times the size of MCC, and quite comprehensive",[2] and the final distribution encouraged users to switch to Debian by providing transitional support.[5]

Included software[edit]

Version 0.95c+[edit]

As discussed in an email dated 23 April 1992, the boot and utilities disk pair included:[3]

An optional pair of disks contained gcc and g++ 2.1, kermit and shoelace.

Version 0.99.p8[edit]

Released on the 14th April 1993.[6] Added to version 0.95c+ were bison, flex, gdb, gprof, groff, gzip[7] and man.[8]

Version 0.99.p8+[edit]

Released on the 26th April 1993.[9] Added to version 0.99.p8 were emacs and info.[10]

Version 1.0+[edit]

Added to version 0.99.p8+ were elm,[11] lp, mail, progman, timezone and words[12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]