This article presents a timeline of events related to popular
free/ open-source software. For a narrative explaining the overall development, see the related history of free and open-source software.
The Achievements column documents achievements a project attained at some point in time (not necessarily when it was first released).
The original EMACS was a set of Editor MACroS for the TECO editor written in 1976 by
Richard Stallman, initially together with Guy L. Steele Jr. Later in 1984 the GNU Emacs was released under a GNU General Public License.
 Longest continuously-developed GNU project
Originally written by
Donald Knuth in 1978, the new version of TeX was rewritten from scratch and was published in 1982.
 One of the longest continuously-developed open source projects
Announced by Richard Stallman on
Usenet as a project to create a "Free Unix"
 Became the standard userland for
Linux (c. 1991); USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)
X Window System
X originated at
MIT in 1984. The current protocol version, X11, appeared in September 1987. The X.Org Foundation now leads the X project, with the current reference implementation, X.org Server, available as free software under the MIT License and similar permissive licenses.
Most popular windowing system implementation for desktop Linux and all Unix operating systems, excluding Mac OS X
Free Software Foundation
Founded by Richard Stallman to support Free Software projects and issue revisions to key software licenses, notably the GPL
Prix Ars Electronica (2005)
Richard Stallman with contributions from others as the C compiler for the GNU Project. Later the project would be known as the GNU Compiler Collection.
dynamic programming language was created by Larry Wall and first released in 1987.
Linus Torvalds, Since the initial release of its source code in 1991, it would grow from a small number of C files under a license prohibiting commercial distribution to its state in 2007 of about 290 megabytes of source under the GNU General Public License.
Many, including: Most popular kernel used by top 500 supercomputers. Most popular kernel in mobile devices sold in 2013.
First released by
Guido van Rossum in 1991.
386BSD was written mainly by Berkeley alumni
Lynne Jolitz and William Jolitz. The 386BSD releases made to the public beginning in 1992.
Andrew Tridgell developed the first version of Samba in 1992, at the Australian National University.
The project began as a result of frustration within the 386BSD developer community with the pace and direction of the operating system's development. The four founders of the NetBSD project were Chris Demetriou, Theo de Raadt, Adam Glass and Charles Hannum.
FreeBSD's development began in 1993 with a quickly growing, unofficial patchkit maintained by users of the 386BSD operating system. The first official release was FreeBSD 1.0 in December 1993.
Bob Amstadt (the initial project leader) and Eric Youngdale started the project in 1993 as a way to run
Windows applications on Linux.
Now able to run vast numbers of Windows applications and video games
First issue of the first
computer magazine dedicated to Linux.
Originally created by
Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, it was released publicly on June 1995.
Formed part of the most popular web development stack (
LAMP) in the 1990s and 2000s
Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, the project originally stood for General Image Manipulation Program.
Hollywood, in the forked form of CinePaint (formerly known as Film Gimp)
Yukihiro Matsumoto, the programming language drew greater attention in the 2000s due to the Ruby on Rails web development framework
Became extremely popular with
The first version of the Apache web server was created by
Robert McCool, who was heavily involved with the NCSA web server, known simply as NCSA HTTPd.
Most popular web server
KDE was founded in 1996 by
Matthias Ettrich, who was then a student at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen.
The initial project leaders for GNOME were
Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena.
Originally developed as the proprietary software application suite
StarOffice by the German company StarDivision, the code was purchased in 1999 by Sun Microsystems. The code was made available free of charge in August 1999. On July 19, 2000, Sun Microsystems announced that it was making the source code of StarOffice available for download under both the LGPL and the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL)
Compiler toolkit, started at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Initially a research project and known as "Low-Level Virtual Machine".
Apple as their primary compilation platform for Mac OS X
Free Software Foundation Europe
Founded to support free software and oppose
software patents in Europe
Theodor Heuss Medal (2010)
proprietary software, released as open source in 2002 after a crowdfunding campaign
There was no name for the project, until the Wikimedia Foundation was announced in June 2003, when name MediaWiki was coined by a Wikipedia contributor.
Integral to the development of
New Zealand Open Source Society
New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS), a non-profit organization and incorporated society began with a suggestive letter by David Lane to the government, along with 400 supporters signatures to begin the advancement of open software in New Zealand.
Descended from the
Mozilla Application Suite, the project started as an experimental branch of the Mozilla Project. Originally titled Phoenix, then renamed as Firebird, the project was finally named Mozilla Firefox. The version 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004.
Second most popular web browser in the world
Created by Linux founder Linus Torvalds
World's most popular
distributed revision control system
Released by Google
Forms the majority of the code in
Google Chrome, the most popular web browser in the world
Released by Google
Most popular mobile platform in the world
Released by Google
Has since enjoyed popular use in types of devices known as
Chromebooks and Chromeboxes
By the 2000s the number of open source software packages in wide use was so large that it would be infeasible to make a definitive list.
LibreOffice is released; a free open office suite including applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, drawing and database.
Available in over 100 languages.
Becomes most popular
smartphone operating system (OS), later became most popular general purpose OS overall.
Microsoft survey of 1,000 software developers reveals that Git is the most popular revision control system among developers
Becomes most popular repository on
Google Chrome, based on Chromium
Internet Explorer to become most widely used web browser, according to StatCounter
Mobile phone operating system, released by
iOS to become most popular tablet operating system
Valve Corporation's new Linux-based operating system for its Steambox consoles, intended to promote Linux gaming and spread Linux adoption in the high-end video game sector
Yu-wei, Lin (June 2005),
"Epistemologically Multiple Actor-Centred System: or EMACS at Work!" (PDF), System Design Frontier, 2 (6), pp. 25–35 , retrieved . April 21, 2013
Beebe, Nelson H. F. (2003),
"25 Years of TEX and METAFONT: Looking Back and Looking Forward" (PDF), TUGboat, 25 (1), pp. 7–30 , retrieved . April 21, 2013
"new Unix implementation".
Hachman, Mark (October 5, 2010).
"Nielsen: Android Is Most Popular Smartphone OS | News & Opinion". PCMag.com . Retrieved . August 12, 2013
Ravi Mandalia (July 20, 2011).
"Microsoft Survey Reveals GitHub, Git Most Popular among Developers". IT Pro Portal . Retrieved . September 28, 2013
Devin Coldewey (September 27, 2013).
"Android overtakes iPad in tablet race". NBC News . Retrieved . September 28, 2013