Operating systems are an important choice in directing one’s digital life. Using a different operating system will give users a different experience in how they manage and do things, from daily tasks to gaming. 

Some operating systems are considered easy and user friendly, such as MacOS and to an extent, Windows. There is also the option of running Linux, an operating system which is often free and open source, as well as easy to use, in some regards.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding Linux, like it being tremendously hard for beginners. While that might be true, there is still a lot of mystery about Linux. If we go and look through the history of Linux, we can learn more about what appear to be mysterious, but is rather well covered.

The Origins of Linux

Before Linux, there was Unix. Unix is basically the grandfather of a lot of popular operating systems nowadays, including MacOS and Linux. But, what Unix did at the time was not as popular with some people. Unix was developed by Bell Labs, a part of AT&T. Unix had plenty of interesting ports at the time, and inspired many people to create their own little systems and subsystems, some with Unix code, others without, but based on the same underlying principles.

Minix was one of those systems. It was released in 1987 and made free under license for universities and anything study-related. This did not sit with one person, Linus Torvalds.

The Creation of Linux

Frustrated with the limitations of Minix for educational systems only, Linus Torvalds started work on his own system, which eventually became Linux. The kernel was built on Minix, and has included applications that worked on Minix, but was later developed into its own system, with applications of its own.

The name that Linus first considered was Freax. The X was meant to remind people that it came from Minix and the rest of the word is Freak. When he uploaded the kernel to the FUNET (Finish University Research Network), one of his coworkers, Ari Lemmke, saw the name Freax and thought it was inappropriate, thus naming it Linux. Torvalds also considered this name prior, but thought that it might sound too egotistical. He later approved of the name change.

Adoption and Further Development of Linux

A truly open source system spread like wildfire in the 1990s. NASA was among the first to start using Linux on their computers. Companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell also joined in, mostly to escape Microsoft’s monopoly. Linux got a lot of support. 

Today, both the major x86 manufacturers, AMD and Intel, submit tons of code to the Linux kernel and Linux distributions, and help with both finance and direct development. Valve has taken Linux furter, with the ambitious goal to make all Windows games playable on Linux through compatibility layers and their own Arch-based SteamOS.

What started as one man’s frustration at how a system wasn’t truly open source (at the time), became something that is used on supercomputers and servers worldwide, as well as by individuals who like a secure and customizable system. Linux is a game-changer.

By admin