Around this time twenty years ago, Linux Torvalds, a Computer Science Student started developing an Operating System to run on his newly acquired computer. His major motivation was the fact that the OS it came with greatly underutilized its capabilities. After going at it for a while, he realized that his pet project could actually be useful to some others. At that point, he released the source code for his operating System online, and what is now known as Linux was born.
Over the last twenty years, there has been an exponential increase in the usage of Linux. From the early exclusive reserve of geeks and computer scientists, it can now be found on every electronic device from servers to smart phones, wrist watches and even toasters. The Linux Kernel has revolutionized the definition of an Operating System by being scalable and capable of running on anything with a processor.
The major strength of the Linux OS is the fact that it is Free Software. Released under the GNU General Public License (GPL 2), Linux was available for whoever is interested to use, edit, and distribute as they like. This spurred the rapid growth of the OS and caused it to evolve in ways that were previously unimagined. Some might think that such a model does not give room for commercial benefits from the OS, but as the past 20 years have shown, it only requires a bit of creativity for one to develop a successful business model around Linux. Success stories abound in Android, RedHat, Canonical, etc.
The major strenght of the Linux OS earlier on, due to its similarities to the UNIX OS is the server and super computers field. In this field, Linux today controls over 50% of all active servers in the World and 95% of all Supercomputers. Android is fast becoming the most popular smartphone Operating System, showcasing Linux dominance in that field too.
One area that has always eluded Linux has been the desktop. Pundits and fanatics alike have repeatedly declared several years as the “Year of Desktop Linux“; however, the market share is still abysmal. There is cause for hope however, especially with the new innovations into the desktop being embarked upon by Ubuntu (Unity) and GNOME 3.
The Linux Foundation has decided to mark the 20th Anniversary of the invention of this Revolutionary OS with a video showcasing its creation and evolution. To view the video, check the link below.
Looking forward, it is obvious that in the next twenty years, Linux will still become relevant. This is evident in the fact that every Linux is at the centre of every new and emerging technology; from the Smartphones and tablets to Cloud computing, etc.
To participate in the festivities, and for more details, check out the Linux Foundation’s official 20th anniversary page