How old is your oldest Linux install disk?

Nearly everyone still has a few old install disks sitting around. How old are yours?
414 readers like this
414 readers like this
How old is your oldest Linux install disk?

Blude. CC BY 2.0.

Letting go of old installation media can be hard. No, chances are you're never going to install an old distribution with a 2.2 series kernel ever again (or maybe you are, who knows?). But there's a certain nostalgia attached to the physical relics of your early days with computing, particularly if you managed to save your first Linux boot disk.


So how long have you been holding on to your installers? Do you still have an install disk for which you no longer even have a computer that will read the disk? And if you do still have the appropriate disk reader, do you think your media aged gracefully enough to still work today?


For our purposes, we won't be picky about what we mean by disk. If you've got a floppy disk, CD-ROM, USB stick, or maybe something more exotic, it counts.

And if you've got an old install disk, manual, or other early Linux paraphernalia that you're particularly proud of, post a link to an image of it in the comments. We'd love to see what's in your collection.

Jason Baker
Former Red Hatter. Now a consultant and aspiring entrepreneur. Map nerd, maker, and enthusiastic installer of open source desktop and self-hosted software.


Redhat 7.1 aka Seawolf is the oldest I have. I still think is was an almost perfect distro.

Soft Landing Systems 1.02 contains Kernel 0.99 pl 12. I downloaded the files via ftp and wrote them onto 5 1/4 inch diskettes during the fall of '92. They folded their tent later that year, so in '93 I switched to Slackware, which I am still using. I only have a couple of boxen that still have diskette drives in them.

Yeah SLS .. who needs installers? LOL Downloaded back then with 9600 baud via long distance and had a fellow sysop walk me through the install, also via long distance. Most expensive Linux distro I've ever installed.

In reply to by Robert McConnell (not verified)

I didn't start collecting Linux distributions until about 2003 when I started with Red Hat 8.0 and printed out the ENTIRE installation manual. That thing was so thick it filled a 3-ring binder and I only read a portion of that.

But when it came time to install I did the proverbial toss-the-book-over-my-shoulder, damned the backups and just installed it with crossed fingers and bated breath.

Now I just do that when I am switching distributions!

The oldest installation media that I currently own is the Pop!_OS 17.10 flash drive I got at All Things Open. All of the installation media from my earliest forays into Linux are long gone. There are times where I wish I had kept my Red Hat Linux 5.x retail boxes and the discs from the "send me all the Linux and BSD distributions" collections from Cheap Bytes, but I have no idea where I would store dozens of discs that I would never use.

Red Hat 6.1 on a CD-ROM.

My first install was SLS-0.98p5 (Nov 1992). Like Robert, I downloaded everything and wrote it to 5.25" disks. Unfortunately, I reused the disks for later versions, so to my regret, my original install is long gone. I've found archives with the SLS-1.02 version that I can tinker around with in virtual machines, but I've never found an archive of my first version.

I paid someone $99 to send me the 1.44MB floppies needed to install SoftLanding Systems Linux 1.03. I don't remember how many floppies that was, but I'm sure it was over 30 or 40 for everything.

I've only been a Linux user since about 2014, but I have a TahrPup 32-bit PAE live DVD I made a couple of years ago for working without access to USB. Puppy is great.

The FIRST linux distro I *BOUGHT* was Lindows, but I have initial disks of things like IMPI linux etc on CD then things like Redhat Taroon on stiffy. BUT... I think my oldest must me Sinix-Z on floppy.

I started with Slackware around early 93, then migrated to Red Hat Linux, and eventually settled with Fedora.
My oldest distribution media I still have (at least archived) is Fedora 14, which was the first distribution installed on my oldest laptop still running, although the laptop is now running the latest Fedora 27 just fine.
I had been discarding older media as my older PCs were being replaced by new ones.

InfoMagic's June 1998 LINUX Developer's Resource boxset with Red Hat 5.1 (*not* the current Enterprise package...), SuSE 5.2, Debian 2.0, Slackware 3.5.0 and some other software.

Linux desktop user since 2015, so my oldest iso is a Korora 22 install iso from the fall of 2015. I've been a Linux admin since 2013.

A boxed Red Hat 5 (not "Enterprise 5") set, from 1997. I've also got a FreeBSD installer from that era, although I could never get it to install properly.

My oldest UNIX installer, however, is a CD with SunOS 4.1.4, dating to 1994. Still one of the best Unices I ever used.

I first dabbled in what was essentially hobby Linux in the late 90s, not very successfully I should add. My next go at installing and running desktop Linux took place in 2005 when my oldest son presented me with a brand new 2 disk set of Ubuntu 5.10, one disk for installation and the other to run the system live. Still have those early Ubuntu disks and the beautiful protective folder they came free of charge from Ubuntu in.

From that fist installation of Ubuntu 5.10 to the present day I've run desktop Linux on a variety of machines, and for the past 8 years Linux has been all I've run, thanks in large measure to those early Ubuntu disks my son gave me and the way they made desktop Linux come to life for me.

I bought RedHat 5.1 some time in 1999 and used it as a desktop for quite a while. I used assorted cover CDs before that and after switched to Mandrake Linux. I might have the CDs in storage.

Yggdrasil 0.98 from the "cd-rom archive in walnut creek" I got a command prompt and the install disk where faulty and didn't know. (no-internet) I fought with that SOB for 3 months trying to get a mouse going!!

Yggdrasil Linux floppys
Latter Red Hat 4.2 CD

I had heard of Linux, was curious, then saw a packaged Redhat 5.2 at a retail store in 1999. Once installed, I was hooked.

Back in 1998 I built myself my first PC from scratch, with RedHat, 5.3 I think.. do not remember exactly version numbers.. after that, I tried SuSE, Slackware, Corel, TurboLinux (which I really enjoyed for years), Ubuntu and lastly Fedora (10 years now).. I even had, at work, my workstation with Fedora 13 until 2016! I am with Fedora 24 by now, and I will for a few years on.. I have all the installations disk somewhere in my room at my parents home, except for that first RedHat..

I know I still have the Yggdrasil Plug'n Play CD I picked up at one of the original Fry's in 1993 and probably still have both Slackware and Red Hat distros from 1996-1998 time frame.

Although it's possible I may have an earlier one stashed somewhere, the oldest one I know of is my Slackware '96 disc set from Walnut Creek. For those of you who don't remember it (and those of you who do, for that matter), the disc art looked like this:

Earliest I remember was the Mothers Day edition of Redhat, 1992 maybe. I know I had a few before that mainly Slackware but all around 92

Yggdrasil 1994 Plug-and-Play Linux was my introduction to Linux.
Later came Red Hat 5.1 and many others...

My first Linux experience was compiling the 1.0.28 kernel for a Slackware distro - and it came on 20 alphebetized floppies - not 1!

Quite interesting. I realized a 15 year old disk lying in my cupboard.

These would have been acquired around 1994. I have some Yggdrasil disks at home and a big batch of CDs (Marketed as something 6 feet of software, displayed on a spinning rack, a strip of CD holders roughly 6 feet long. Should have been 15 discs, but one of the "pouches" was used for the pack's label, another pouch or 2 were used for printed documentation, so it was actually 13 or 12 CDs. The CD pack had another Linux distro on it, can't remember which, but I do know I never installed it, but did compile X11R5 from several of the other discs.

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