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MCC Interim Linux
DeveloperOwen Le Blanc
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Working stateHistoric
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseFebruary 1992
Latest release2.0+ / 4 November 1996
Available inVarious
Update methodNone (manual)
Package managerNone
PlatformsIntel 386
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
user interface
Command line interface

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]


Prior to its first release, the closest approximation to a Linux distribution had been H J Lu's "Boot/Root" floppy disk images from early 1992.[4] 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.[5]

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:

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


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 Linux Base System. These in turn were quickly superseded by Slackware, Red Hat Linux and Debian, 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.[6]

Included software

Version 0.95c+

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

Released on 14 April 1993.[7] Added to version 0.95c+ were bison, flex, gdb, gprof, groff, gzip[8] and man.[9]

Version 0.99.p8+

Released on 26 April 1993.[10] Added to version 0.99.p8 were emacs and info.[11]

Version 1.0+

Added to version 0.99.p8+ were elm,[12] lp, mail, progman, timezone and words[13]


  1. ^ Moody, Glyn (2002) Rebel Code
  2. ^ a b c d e "MCC Interim Linux". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Joinson, Robin. "MCC Interim Release". Retrieved 19 July 2007.
  4. ^ "History of Early Linux Distros". 12 September 2012.
  5. ^ A Short History of Linux Distributions by Joe Klemmer []
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