Timeline of Computer History
 

1991  
Software & Languages
Linus Torvalds, 1991
Designed by Finnish university student Linus Torvalds, Linux was released to several Usenet newsgroups on September 17th, 1991.  Almost immediately, enthusiasts began developing and improving Linux, such as adding support for peripherals and improving its stability.  In February 1992, Linux became free software or (as its developers preferred to say after 1998) open source.  Linux typically incorporated elements of the GNU operating system and became widely used.
   Pretty Good Privacy is introduced.  Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, is an e-mail encryption program.  Its inventor, software engineer Phil Zimmermann, created it as a tool for people to protect themselves from intrusive governments around the world.  Zimmermann posted PGP on the Internet in 1991 where it was available as a free download.  The United States government, concerned about the strength of PGP, which rivaled some of the best secret codes in use at the time, prosecuted Zimmermann but dropped its investigation in 1996.  PGP is now the most widely used encryption system for e-mail in the world.

 


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