Edit: Slackware predates Debian by one month.
Debian is 19 years old today, making it the oldest surviving Linux distribution in the world. In many ways, it is arguably the most important as well.
Debian was founded by Ian Murdock, a graduate of one of the most respected colleges in my home state of Indiana, Purdue University. The name Debian is a contraction of Ian’s then-girlfriend Debra and his own name. It is interesting that someone that has so little relevance in the free software world bears half the name of one of the world most important projects. Behind Linux itself, or course.
Though Ian Murdock is no longer a part of the project he founded 19 years ago, I would find it hard to believe that he doesn’t take an immense amount of pride in the impact his project has had on the world at large.
Will Debian ever go away? Debian is one of the largest distributed efforts in the world and is the backbone for many other projects such as Ubuntu. As long as Pixar continues to create characters in the Toy Story universe, it is safe to say that Debian will always have a name.
Also, Debian will continue to dominate in the cross-platform space, where it still supports more architectures (including 68k, even still) than any other operating system. Here;s to you Debian! May you have 19 lashes with a wet noodle.