But, what the heck is Linux?

On a recent article, I explored the possibility to move your workflow to Linux, but without covering too much the elephant in the room. What the heck is Linux?

In the beginning, it was UNIX

Back to late 60’s, two developers from Bell Labs (an AT&T subsidiary at that point), decided to create an operating system that was capable of serving more people at a time. So by the year 1969, Dennis Ritchie (who also developed the C programming language) and Ken Thompson created Unix: a multi-user system designed for the PDP-8. For many years Unix was the state of the art for enterprise computing and mainframes.

Late in the 80’s, the Unix system was the inspiration by University of Berkeley researchers to create BSD and with the introduction of 32bit processors by Intel on 1985, led the scientist and professor, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, to create MINIX. An OS suited for academic use to complement the book published by himself (Operating Systems: Design and Implementation).

By 1991 the highly adopted book by Tanenbaum became the motivation for the student of the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds, to develop what later will become the Linux Kernel (first major release on 1994).

Linux as Free Software

By its first release, there was no proper free licensing to the kernel itself. By using the tools from the GNU Project (mainly the GNU Bash Shell) by the American activist Richard Stallman.

Later in 1992, Linus started to consider the adoption of the GPL (GNU Public Licensing) for its project with a proper release by 1993.

Later in the year 1999, the licensing was moved to the GPLv2 and later he refused to move to the new GPLv3.

Today Linux is everywhere

You may not notice it, but Linux is everywhere around you. From your Android device to the server that delivers your internet content. Within the Windows 10 subsystem to the International Space Station.

Linux became part of our lives. The work from the Linux Foundation to create and maintain a stable, reliable and powerful OS made the internet and will continue to shape our future into a brighter path.

You are free to choose wherever OS fits your needs but be aware that at some level you will bump into the most loved/hated kernel of all time.