30 years of Open Source Software Revolution

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30 Years of Linux

The story of modern-day Linux starts in 1969 with the development of the Unix operating system. Unix was liked by both businesses and universities but was proprietary and owned by AT&T. In 1977 when UC Berkeley tried to create their software based on Unix, AT&T sued them.

In 1983 Richard Stallman created the software project named GNU which was a free and open replacement for Unix. Over the years, the project developed many tools still used by Linux today (some of the famous Linux tools are TAR, BASH).

By 1990, the GNU project had all the useful tools and software but it was missing one essential component which ties all the software together. THE OPERATING SYSTEM. It was around this time that Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux was working on his operating system as a hobby.

Linus originally wrote the software on August 25, 1991. In 1992 Linux was released under the GNU general public license. This gave birth to an operating system that integrated GNU tools with Linux kernel known as Linux operating system. The beauty of the Linux operating system is that it is open source and allows developers to build their own custom operating systems known as distributions (or distros).

The Linux kernel which is the core of the operating system is robust and portable software present in mobile phones, enterprise hardware, aeroplanes and can even run in a toaster. The architecture principle specified by Linus meant Linux was suitable for being used as Operating System regardless of the hardware. You can run Linux from CD, pen drive and different forms of media. The Linux kernel and tools have been adapted to a wide range of hardware from IoT to supercomputers.

5 places where Linux exists

Mobile devices

Most people might be unaware that they come in contact with Linux several times a day. Google Android used by billions of people is based on the Linux kernel. Around 80% of smartphones are estimated to be running on Android. Google Chrome OS and Amazon Fire are based on Linux and part of the Linux family. Linux is compatible with other hardware manufacturers.

Enterprise Hardware and Business Applications

Being open-source Linux slowly replaced Unix in business environments. It has a “live kernel” which means that the operating system can be fully updated while it is running and there is no downtime for users. 

Today, almost all high-performance computers and 100% of the top 500 supercomputers in the world are Linux based. It’s much harder to infect or hack a Linux machine. The New York Stock Exchange runs on Linux. Thanks to Linux, it can perform calculations, make transactions, and analyze at lightning-fast speed.

Aeroplanes and Space Exploration

Linux has been trusted by NASA and JPL to run on Mars. Even the Mars helicopter, “Ingenuity”, which explores the red planet together with the “Perseverance” ground vehicle, is powered by Linux. SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which flew NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, is powered by liquid oxygen, rocket-grade kerosene, and Linux.

Internet, Cloud, Datacenters

The internet is a network of devices (like routers) which exchange and forward information. Vast swathes of the internet run on Linux based servers, firewalls and routers. It is estimated 96% of servers run some form of Linux. Google, Amazon and Microsoft run cloud services on Linux.

Internet of things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) are devices that can connect to the internet and can be controlled with smartphones. Smartwatches, smart cars, electrical appliances, traffic lights and many devices used in day-to-day life are some of the examples. Most IoT devices run on Linux. Data suggests that 71.8% of IoT devices use Linux as part of their operating system. Almost every car entertainment and navigation system is Linux based.

Linux can be considered an open-source software development revolution. It is the largest open-source software project that powers many commercial, advanced and futuristic ventures like space exploration.

The success of Linux is due to a large community of developers who maintain and adapt different distributions. Thousands of programmers submit new code and features and apply fixes, update and improve Linux distributions.

In the mission of open source software development and open technology for all, Linux is joined by Linux Foundation.

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