If you think about it, most of us have grown up using Linux. Linux was not how software was done, 20 years ago. There was only paid software, as Stallman so famously said in 1983 and went on to lay the foundation of the Free Software Foundation with the GNU Project that was compatible with all available software. However, the GNU took its time to evolve and had basic structures-compilers, text, Unix shell etc. but elements daemons, device drivers including the kernel were stuttering to completion.
At that crucial point, fate played its hand and in 1991, Linux Torvalds shared the kernel he developed and found himself making history. The kernel became the core around which an entire project evolved because of community participation. The seeds to collaborative, useful software development were sown and now two decades later the same fervor but greater efficiency is achieved through carefully established monitoring and reviewing structures etc.
Twenty years of achievement
Probably the true impact of Linux has not been in just making sophisticated software being available for free but in creating a world-pool of best of the minds in computing to work in real-time on a single project to make it a successful application or ‘distro’. As the entire principle is in evoluting the core of a Linux project into a need-based application and redistributing it, the immense world-library of distros makes it amateurs to commercial houses to simply tweak and use it for commercial purposes. However, most discerning fact to why Linux has grown and evolved is that, all give back something to the Linux community. Red Hat Linux and its ilk are the successful examples of commercial yet community based Linux. Linux is continuing to service large reservoirs of servers in various parts of the globe as well as run almost everything that remote requires computation-Mobiles and their Applications, desktops etc. Computer architecture, embedded systems,
The key factor has been localization – where the distros have been adapted to specific region or language. These have become real-time solutions and almost three distros including only free software in their offers. Debian is another very important spin-off of Linux that eventually lead to creation of Ubuntu, a quick and powerful project that allows you to accomplish multiple tasks. GNOME of course is another trend-setting application that is fast redefining how things are done in the desktop environment. Linux is what runs your phones, your cars, TV, movies- all major studios use Linux based applications and a very long list o f exhaustive scenarios.
Two decades and need to give back more to Linux
The Linux Foundation kicked of the celebrations with the Story of Linux video that is expected to inspire others to participate at the Linux Foundation Video contest. The theme of course is the celebration, impact of Linux on computing, culture and business aspects. The winner will be awarded at the LinuxCon in Vancouver in Aug mid-week. Submissions should upload at- http://video.linux.com/20th-anniversary-video-contest.
Linux is putting it best forward into a new decade of growth and evolution. Contribute to it to make software a liberator with high social impact. Who is to know, we would not even be needing desktops but simple OS that opens on browsers and drives us around? Hats off to Linux! And Wishing many more succesful years!