LinuX – Open Source
The History of Linux began in 1991 with the commencement of a personal project by a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, to create a new operating system kernel.
Since then the resulting Linux kernel has been marked by constant growth throughout its history. Since the initial release of its source code in 1991, it has grown from a small number of C files under a license prohibiting commercial distribution to its state in 2009 of over 370 megabytes of source under the GNU General Public License.
The Unix operating system was conceived and implemented by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (both of AT&T Bell Laboratories) in 1969 and first released in 1970. Its availability and portability caused it to be widely adopted, copied and modified by academic institutions and businesses. Its design became influential to authors of other systems.
In 1983, Richard Stallman started the GNU project with the goal of creating a free UNIX-like operating system.As part of this work, he wrote the GNU General Public License (GPL). By the early 1990s there was almost enough available software to create a full operating system. However, the GNU kernel, called Hurd, failed to attract enough attention from developers leaving GNU incomplete.
Another free operating system project, initially released in 1977, was the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). This was developed by UC Berkeley from the 6th edition of Unix from AT&T. Since BSD contained Unix code that AT&T owned, AT&T filed a lawsuit (USL v. BSDi) in the early 1990s against the University of California. This strongly limited the development and adoption of BSD.
In 1985, Intel released the 80386, the first x86 microprocessor with 32-bit instruction set and MMU with paging.
In 1986, Maurice J. Bach, of AT&T Bell Labs, published The Design of the UNIX Operating System. This definitive description principally covered the System V Release 2 kernel, with some new features from Release 3 and BSD.
MINIX, a Unix-like system intended for academic use, was released by Andrew S. Tanenbaum in 1987. While source code for the system was available, modification and redistribution were restricted. In addition, MINIX’s 16-bit design was not well adapted to the 32-bit features of the increasingly cheap and popular Intel 386 architecture for personal computers.
These factors and the lack of a widely adopted, free kernel provided the impetus for Torvalds’s starting his project. He has stated that if either the GNU or 386BSD kernels were available at the time, he likely would not have written his own.
The creation of Linux
In 1991, in Helsinki, Linus Torvalds began a project that later became the Linux kernel. It was initially a terminal emulator, which Torvalds used to access the large UNIX servers of the university. He wrote the program specifically for the hardware he was using and independent of an operating system because he wanted to use the functions of his new PC with an 80386 processor. Development was done on MINIX using the GNU C compiler, which is still the main choice for compiling Linux today (although the code can be built with other compilers, such as the Intel C Compiler).
As Torvalds wrote in his book Just for Fun, he eventually realized that he had written an operating system kernel. On 25 August 1991, he announced this system in a Usenet posting to the newsgroup “comp.os.minix.”:
Hello everybody out there using minix –
I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).
I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them 🙂
PS. Yes – it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT portable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.
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Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.
Where did it all begin?
Linux was already established as an enterprise server platform in 2004. But free software was still not a part of everyday life for most computer users. That’s why Mark Shuttleworth gathered a small team of developers from one of the most established Linux projects – Debian – and set out to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop, Ubuntu.
The vision for Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.
The Ubuntu team broke new ground in committing to a programme of scheduled releases on a predictable six-month basis. It was decided that every fourth release, issued on a two-year basis, would receive long-term support (LTS). LTS releases are typically used for large-scale deployments.
Ubuntu is different from the commercial Linux offerings that preceded it because it doesn’t divide its efforts between a high-quality commercial version and a free, ‘community’ version. The commercial and community teams collaborate to produce a single, high-quality release, which receives ongoing maintenance for a defined period. Both the release and ongoing updates are freely available to all users.
Version 4.10, codenamed the ‘Warty Warthog’, the first official Ubuntu release, was launched in October 2004. Global interest in Ubuntu was dramatic from the outset. The year following the Warty Warthog release saw huge growth in the Ubuntu community as thousands of free software enthusiasts and experts joined.
The governance of Ubuntu is somewhat independent of Canonical, with volunteer leaders from around the world taking responsibility for many of the critical elements of the project. It remains a key tenet of the Ubuntu Project that Ubuntu is a shared work between Canonical, other companies, and the thousands of volunteers who bring their expertise to bear on making it a world-class platform for the whole world to use.
The first version of Ubuntu was based on the GNOME desktop. We have since added a KDE edition, Kubuntu, and a server edition. All of the editions of Ubuntu share common infrastructure and software, making Ubuntu a unique platform that scales from consumer electronics to the desktop, and into the cloud for enterprise computing. Developers can work on their desktop of choice, and smoothly deliver code to cloud servers running the stripped-down Ubuntu Server Edition.
In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on netbooks for lightweight, connected, mobile computing, and on the cloud as a new architecture for data centres. Ubuntu is a pioneer in both fields, with Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud setting the standard for easy deployment and management. Ubuntu is hugely popular on Amazon’s EC2 and Rackspace’s Cloud, and is pre-installed on computers from Dell, Lenovo and other global vendors.
Ubuntu still is and always will be free to use, share and develop. We hope it will bring a touch of light to your computing – and we hope that you’ll join us in helping to build the next version too.