25 Years of Linux and Changing the Digital World


As Linux, the open-source operating system created by Linus Torvalds turns 25 today, we can’t help but marvel at its incredible journey.  Twenty-five years ago, Linus Torvalds announced his project on the comp.os.minx message board, requesting feedback from coders on an Operating system, which according to him, was “just a hobby.” However, with 22 million lines of code, the Linux ecosystem turned out to be much bigger than anything Torvalds ever imagined in its 1991 beginnings.

How Popular is Linux?

In one word, Linux is everywhere, and its popularity grows every day.

Today, Linux powers the essential parts of the Internet’s infrastructure and runs on most of your favorite websites. From SmartTVs to MP3 players and routers to MRI machines, Linux keeps them running. Thanks to the open source code, the OS helps coders write programs for embedded systems, build websites, create stock exchanges, etc.

If that isn’t enough, the world’s most popular smartphone OS is based on the Linux kernel. Although Linux has failed to make a dent in the PC environment dominated by Microsoft and Apple, it is still used by millions of users. For hobbyists, the OS’s progress has been stellar.

Contribution of Linux in Shaping the Internet

Vast swathes of the World Wide Web, including giants like Facebook and Google, are powered by the Linux kernel. Linux has also made the proliferation of websites, web apps, and internet-based businesses possible.

So, how did Linux, a non-commercial OS manage to influence the Internet to such an extent? The only magic lies in its inherent property of being open-source. Due to this, developers can modify the kernel according to their requirements without spending a dime on license fees. The concept of openness appeals to a large number of people, and thus the pool of developers, contributors, and users keeps growing - at a very rapid pace.  The rich communities of Linux contributors and developers along with the freely available resources are the driving force behind the popularity of the Linux ecosystem.

Influence of Linux on Embedded Systems

Pick up any embedded system and you find Linux at the heart of the device. It’s pretty difficult to imagine embedded systems such as consumer electronic devices without a Linux-based kernel.

Smartwatches? Linux.

Navigation devices? Linux.

SmartTVs? You get the idea.

As stated earlier, Linux is a free OS, and the source is freely available. Anyone can modify it and redistribute the package. Due to countless improvements and contributions by the Linux community, the kernel is very stable. Making it is a geat fit for anyone looking to tinker with commercial or education embedded projects.

The poster child of open source development, Linux along with Apache has inspired and supported countless open-source projects.  As Linux communities around the world are gearing up to celebrate its 25th birthday, it has truly turned out to be ground zero for all sorts of technology development.

Happy Birthday Linux and thanks, Linus Torvalds!


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