LINUX, THE OPEN SOURCE operating system that spawned more flavours than Baskin Robbins, is 25 today.
Technically that's not the case, of course, but it hasn't stopped everyone jumping on the bandwagon. In reality, the first Linux kernel was published in October 1991, of which more later, but legend tells that on 25 August 1991 Linus Torvalds (all hail Torvalds - HAIL) first announced that he had created his own operating system based on UNIX.
Linux powers systems from databases to tellies, and is the backbone of Android, the world's most popular mobile operating system. Over 96 per cent of web servers are Linux powered.
It may have a 'cult' following among desktop users, but everyone uses Linux every day of their lives.
In fact, it has been ported to more platforms and chipsets than any other operating system in the history of computing. Not bad for an experiment by a Finnish programmer curious to see what was possible.
But that's Linux all over: a community of people writing, revising and adding to the code to tap into the potential result. There are now contributions from tens of thousands of individuals and blue chip tech companies at the heart of Linux, and the number is growing all the time with clubs and user groups across the world.
Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, which makes Ubuntu, easily the best known 'flavour' or 'distro' of Linux, said in a blog post today: "Public benefit depends on private innovation, and the fact that Linux as an open platform exists enables that innovation to come from anywhere. That’s something to celebrate. Happy birthday, Linux!"
So to be honest, today is a bit like celebrating your birthday on the day that your parents had a broken condom (because they never wanted you, you know, they've always hated you), but it does act as a curtain-raiser to our celebrations of INQ readers' favourite operating system.
We'll cover LinuxCon again this year, with some exclusive interviews and news from the keynotes and exhibitors. The event takes place in Berlin from 4-6 October. µ
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