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Linux, the Ultimate Unix

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Linux – Linus’ Unix

In the fast paced world of computer technology, anything that happened more than 10 years ago appears to be ancient history. Even the origins of Linux, which was once a new kid on the Unix block, start to fade into the distant past.

The first signs of Linux can be traced back as far as the IBM AT compatible PC era around 1991 A.C. A young student at the University of Helsinki, Finland, had an idea: buildng a Unix-like operating system for IBM compatible PCs. The student, Linus Torwalds, was experimenting with Minix, a free Unix OS for PCs, developed by Andrew S. Tanenbaum from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Linus wanted to develop a Unix OS for his PC that overcame the limitations of Minix. It just so happened that the PC architecture, for which he developed his new and improved Unix OS, would evolve into the world’s most successful line of computers. This formed the basis for Linux’s rapidly growing popularity. Linus’ talent and hard work and the support from the open source community did the rest.

During the second half of 1991, the unthinkable started to become reality when Linus made version 0.02 of what would become known as "Linux" ("Linus' Unix") available to the open source community. By 1994 he was ready to release the first stable Linux Kernel (version 1.0) to the world. Once it was out, it quickly spread, gained power and evolved into a variety of species ("distributions"). Today, there are an estimated 29 Million Linux users; many of them actively involved in developing software for it and continuing development of the kernel.

One of the reasons of Linux’s popularity stems from the license under which it was released, the GNU General Public License. It ensures that the Linux source code is freely available to everyone, and everyone can contribute to its development. This effectively added thousands of programmers to the Linux development team. Despite the concern that many cooks may spoil the soup, it remains a fact that the large number of Linux developers yielded an operating system of unprecedented efficiency and robustness, with countless freely available software packages for both business and pleasure.

Next let's take a look at some of the advantages of Linux that made it the choice for operating system for millions of people around the world.

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