Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Linux Turns 20: Open-Source OS Changes Course of IT History

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-09-01 Email Print this article Print
On Aug. 25, 1991, Linux Torvalds announced a new project on the comp.os.minix newsgroup. He described a "free operating system" that resembled Minix, an operating system based on Unix, and asked for feedback on what people thought worked and didn't work. Torvalds was not aiming high with this project, noting that his new project would be "just a hobby" and not "be big and professional like gnu." Now 20 years later, the OS has exceeded its creator's expectations as it is now available for practically every processor architecture and can power mobile devices, computers, mainframes and supercomputers. The free operating system that Torvalds just gave away to anyone may never supplant Windows or Mac OS X on the desktop, but it is appearing in practically every other computing device, including set-top boxes, cloud servers, social networks, tablets and mobile phones. A vast majority of users may never download the operating system, but the odds are likely they are using a product based on it. Now eWEEK takes a look at some of the biggest achievements of the little operating system over the past 20 years.


Google based its Android mobile operating system on a Linux kernel. At latest estimates, Android is dominating the smartphone market with more than 40 percent market share, according to research firm Canalys. Google's Chrome OS for laptops is also based on Linux.

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