Published on July 5, 2016
The Code – History of Linux
The Code presents the first decade of Linux from 1991 to 2001. Besides Torvalds, it includes many of his closest allies in development process, that is nowadays seen as the greatest success story of the Internet culture. Eventually, Linux becomes a viable business solution within the computer industry.
Media loves the story of ‘a single hacker against the forces of darkness’. ‘Linux’ becomes a catch phrase. Torvalds turns into an international media star. No more a shy nerd, but a relaxed, witty media performer par excellence. Linus is a Jesus for a politician, respected and adored by both Linux enthusiasts, the counter-culture – and the big businessmen. A rare combination, this time or any other.
But even after all this attention Linus Torvalds remains, as a person, an enigma. When interviewed in the media, he is always asked the same questions and usually giving the same answers too. We think we know him, but do we really? Why did he put his code into the Net for free, initially? Many can still not understand it. Maybe because ‘given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow’, giving a way to a better product? Or is there something more to it? (Excerpt from code.linux.fi)
Linux was originally developed as a free operating system for personal computers based on the Intel x86 architecture, but has since been ported to more computer hardware platforms than any other operating system. Because of the dominance of Android on smartphones, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems. Linux, in its original form, is also the leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and virtually all fastest supercomputers, but is used on only around 1.6% of desktop computerswhen not including Chrome OS, which has about 5% of the overall and nearly 20% of the sub-$300 notebook sales. Linux also runs on embedded systems, which are devices whose operating system is typically built into the firmware and is highly tailored to the system; this includes smartphones and tablet computers running Android and other Linux derivatives, TiVo and similar DVR devices, network routers, facility automation controls, televisions, video game consoles and smartwatches.
The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open-source software collaboration. The underlying source code may be used, modified and distributed—commercially or non-commercially—by anyone under the terms of its respective licenses, such as the GNU General Public License. Typically, Linux is packaged in a form known as a Linux distribution (or distro for short) for both desktop and server use. Some of the most popular mainstream Linux distributions are Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo Linux, Linux Mint, Mageia, openSUSE and Ubuntu, together with commercial distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Distributions include the Linux kernel, supporting utilities and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project, and usually a large amount of application software to fulfil the distribution’s intended use.
Distributions oriented toward desktop use typically include a windowing system, such as X11, Mir or a Wayland implementation, and an accompanying desktop environment such as GNOME or the KDE Software Compilation; some distributions may also include a less resource-intensive desktop, such as LXDE or Xfce. Distributions intended to run on servers may omit all graphical environments from the standard install, and instead include other software to set up and operate a solution stack such as LAMP. Because Linux is freely redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any intended use.