eWEEK at 30: Linux Makes Open Source a Software Industry Force
eWEEK 30: From a simple hobby project in 1991, Linux evolved to become a core component of the modern digital world and helped make open source software a potent force in the IT industry.One of the great technology industry success stories that has emerged during eWEEK's existence is the rise of the open-source Linux operating system. Linux started from humble beginnings in Finland, born in the brilliant mind of creator Linus Torvalds and has emerged to become a dominant force in the modern IT landscape. Linux today is the enabling engine for the embedded devices that will make up the Internet of things, it powers enterprise servers, supercomputers and the world's largest stock exchanges too. The rise of Linux went hand in hand with the rising support for open-source software technology of all kinds. Computer users and software developers began initiating open-source projects of all kinds as an alternative to a commercial PC operating system and application software market that since the 1980s was dominated to a great degree by Microsoft. The journey of Linux all began with the first public mention by Linus Torvalds on Aug. 26, 1991 in a comp.os.minix usenet posting.
"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones," Torvalds wrote."It is NOT portable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-hard disks, as that's all I have."
Minix is a Unix-type operating system that was started in 1987, while GNU (GNU is Not Unix) was another attempt to do the same thing, started in 1983. With Linux, Torvalds attempted to succeed where others had failed and it was a combination of technical ingenuity, charisma and collaboration that over time, won the day.