The story behind the origin of the name of Linux is interesting. The creator of the operating system, Linus Torvalds, had originally named it “Freax” – a combination of “free“, “freak” and “x“. He had also considered “Linux” but thought it was too egoistical. So, during development, Torvalds had stored all files in a directory named Freax.
Anyway, the files and the directory (with the name Freax) were maintained on an FTP server of FUNET. Ari Lemmke, who was one of the the administrators of the server, didn’t like the name ‘Freax’ and changed it to ‘Linux’ without asking Torvalds, who later agreed to keep the new name.
The first version of Linux was released on 25th August 1991.
By the way, Ari Lemmke had played a role in the early days of the World Wide Web. He had been the the supervisor of the four Finnish students who developed Erwise, the first graphical web browser, at the Helsinki University of Technology.
FYI, the term ‘Linux’ is trademarked in the US by Linus Torvalds to prevent others from making money off it.