|Penguin Tux, the Linux Mascot
On September 17, 1991, the Finnish student of computer science Linus Torvalds, uploaded Linux kernel version 0.01 to the ftp server ftp.funet.fi. This might be considered as the date of birth of the famous free operating system Linux, although Torvalds announced the new OS a few weeks earlier on usenet already. Nevertheless, Linux has become one of the most popular operating systems today, and this of course with a god reason….
Linus Torvalds was born in 1969 in Helsinki, Finnland. His interest in computers started early with the Commodore VIC-20 and the Sinclair QL, for which he is known to have programmed a clone of the famous PacMan game. Later as a student of computer science, he purchased an IBM PC before receiving his copy of the MINIX operating system, which in turn enabled him to begin work on Linux.
MINIX is an inexpensive minimal Unix-like operating system, designed for education in computer science, written by Andrew S. Tanenbaum. During his computer science studies Torvalds became curious about operating systems in general. But, he soon got frustrated by the licensing of MINIX, which limited it to educational use only. Therefore, he decided to begin to work on his own operating system which eventually became the Linux kernel. As Torvalds wrote in his book “Just for Fun“, he eventually realized that he had written an operating system kernel.
Torvalds started the development of the Linux kernel on MINIX, and applications written for MINIX were also used on Linux. Later on, when Linux matured, further Linux development took place on native Linux systems replacing all MINIX components by GNU applications, because it was advantageous to use the freely available code from the GNU project with the fledgling operating system. Programm code licensed under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) can be reused in other projects as long as they also are released under the same or a compatible license. Torvalds initiated a switch from his original license, which prohibited commercial redistribution, to the GNU GPL. Developers worked to integrate GNU components with Linux to make a fully functional and free operating system.
Today, Linux systems are used in every domain, from embedded systems to supercomputers. The Use of Linux distributions in home and enterprise desktops has been constantly growing and Linux has also gained popularity with various local and national governments, such as e.g., Brazil, Russia, Spain, or in India or China, because of its independency from a special supplier.
At yovisto you can listen to Linus Torvalds himself sharing his thoughts on <a href=”http://www.yovisto.com/play/20275″>git, the source control management system</a> he created two years ago.
References and further reading:
- The History of Linux in the wikipedia
- Oliver Diedrich: The History of Linux
- Linus Torvalds: Just for Fun or The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary, Harper Business, 4th ed. (2002)