Photo: Oregon Live
Whether you use it every day or you’ve never even heard of it, Linux is undeniably important to computing history. It’s been around in one form or another since the early 90s and continues to be a relevant player in the world of computing.This year it turns 20.
It sprang into existence for a college student’s thesis project and has grown into something used in computers around the world and even in your Android smartphone.
It’s one of the greatest open-source success stories we’ve ever known.
Here’s a recap of the “little operating system that could.”
22-year old Finnish computer programmer Linus Torvalds became interested in operating systems and released his own, which he called Linux (version 0.01). Opening with the message 'Hello everybody out there,' (a now-iconic phrase among Linux fans), he posted the source code online.
Linux is licensed under the GPL, a software licence written by Richard Stallman. This decision keeps Linux legally protected but free, and will contribute largely to its coming success.
Patrick Volkerding writes and releases Slackware, the first standalone version of Linux. It caught on in a big way - it's still used and maintained today.
Torvalds goes on vacation in the southern hemisphere where he encounters a penguin. While trying to pet it, the penguin bit his hand. This led to Torvalds eventually choose to use a penguin as the Linux logo.
Tech giants like Oracle and Sun begin to announce official support for versions of Linux. More and more people start to adopt the operating system.
Red Hat, a North Carolina company that maintains its own Linux distribution for enterprise users, goes public. It achieves the eighth-biggest first-day gain on Wall Street.
Torvalds appears on the cover of an issue of BusinessWeek. The magazine hails Linux as a business success.
The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organisation to foster the growth of the operating system, is founded. It offers training for Linux newbies and networking opportunities for developers.
Android, the Linux-based operating system for smartphones, outships all other mobile OSes.
Linux turns 20. Today it is used in supercomputers, stock exchanges, ATMs, and all around us.
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