In 1991 a computer programmer at the University of Helsinki in Finland create something that changes the whole perception of the commercial industry and started a new era in the free software distribution industry. His name is Linus Torvalds the creator of Linux.
At his home, with Intel 386 hardware (minicomputer) he successfully developed new codes which are different from Unix(previously created OS) and put his whole work into the internet and invite others to check it and developed it. The main intention was to create something totally free to use, modify, develop and even sell at a later stage.
Now you may be thinking of how this idea came from, then you have to read this A Brief History About Linux.
At that time Torvalds works at the Transmeta Corporation, a start-up in Santa Clara, California. He further developed the Linux kernel and also collaborated with other developers to create applications using the kernel. Because he completely modified the kernel, so most of the development was done in the future with minimum hassle.
Evolution of Linux from 1992 to 2020!
Today 90% of the supercomputer in the world use Linux operating system. In every aspect, Linux is one of the most secure and advanced OS but way back in 1991 it was not the case.
The kernel is only developed and the support for systems was very less, the new kernel only supports Intel 80386 hardware.
Linus builds the Kernel using Minix which is also a free operating system created by Andrew S Tanenbaum, used for learning purposes in schools and universities.
Initially, in the beginning, Linux started with a 0.01 version. The whole journey is listed below…
At first, Linux was not licensed properly so lots of people are facing legal issues when using it. Immediately Linus understands the problem and by 1992 it was re-licensed under the GNU GPL(General Public License).
GNU-GPL is the standard license of anything that is not “Unix”. Gnu made Linux a completely free and upward compatible operating system that anyone can use, modify and even create their own.
By now using the GNU C compiler version 0.12 was released with a little modification.
Linux is loved by many and within a year, over 100 developers work on the Kernel. With their assistance, the kernel was modified and move to the GNU environment.
This literally opens up the vast possibility for the OS because now a wide range of applications support the kernel.
A lot more students and developers are interested in buildings features for Linux. The first-ever Linux distribution was launched by Patrick Volkerding, who launches Slackware.
The same year Ian Murdock released the initial version of Debian that laid the base for Ubuntu, MEPIS, etc.
Those are the days when books are the only medium to share innovation, So the first book on Linux programming and installation gets launched.
After judging all the components of Kernel Linus concluded this was fully matured and ready for the next release. Linux 1.0 launched but still only supports the i386 hardware.
Version 1 of Linux at that point only works on IBM-compatible PCs with an Intel 386 or 486 processors.
Then the XFree86 project running simultaneously and later developed a graphic user interface for Linux.
Some Companies also started to develop their commercial distribution of Linux like Red Hat and SUSE.
An eventful year for Linux because the first time they arrange an exhibition called Linux Expo mainly to promote their products worldwide. It was a huge success so they traditionally arrange the Expo for several years.
It was the first trade show of its kind and featured much software and updates by various marketers. This gain interest for the OS and all major players in the industries are stated to think of it.
First, three platforms DEC Alpha(computer), MIPS, and Sun SPARC(computer) are running successfully with Linux version 1.2 Over the years, it was ported to many different platforms with a specific business model.
Linux Kernel version 2.0 released with SMP (Symmetric multiprocessing or shared-memory multiprocessing) support.
SMP is a standard hardware architecture where two or more identical processors are connected to a shared single main memory. First-time multiprocessor support for Linux is possible with SMP.
Dual-core, Quad-core processor was unavailable those days but having motherboards with two physical processors in them was available, Linux supports both multi-hardware and multiprocessing. This is a big milestone achieved by Linux.
So now an OS that supports multiprocessing was created huge hope in the server industry, encourage large organizations to use Linux more and more.
Then the version 2.1 development starts and one interesting pattern is created for releasing future updates. In the upcoming years, they released updates with odd and even numbers. Unstable updates marks with 2.1,2.3,2.5 and stable one’s 2.2,2.4,2.6. They stick to this pattern for several years.
The mascot TAX (Penguin) was also created with the launch of Linux 2.0.
Linux Kernel updated to version 2.2 and lots of major companies such as IBM, Compaq and Oracle started supporting Linux Development.
Global Spinlocks removed and lots of coders globally experiment freely with the kernel. Frame buffer console was also integrated, so the performance and scalability increased.
The first time Alen Cox was appointed as a full-time maintainer and taken care of all older versions of Linux. The main aim is to increase the pace of development with lesser hassle.
Netscape also publically shares the source code of the Netscape Communicator Web Browser suite which insists coders work with a browser along with Linux. This move shifted the attention towards Linux again.
A group works on a graphical environment to create a free replacement for KDE (Kool Desktop Environment). Their main aim was to create an interest for general users.
Linux started to gain Acceptance among various business organizations for its unique architecture. IT Giants like IBM also announced an extensive project for Linux.
The same year, Bliss got discovered. A serious Linux virus that can easily sidestep the system firewall.
In the year 1999, the first-ever desktop version of Linux, the GNOME desktop arrives.
But when Ericcson announced the first mobile phone-based on Linux operating system, it opens a whole new dimension for Linux.
Dell announced they are the top provider of Linux-based systems. They are the first major manufacturing unit that used Linux for their future projects and this creates liability for Linux in the market.
As per the IDC(international data corporation) report of 2000, Linux becomes the second most popular operating system for server computers in the world.
The 2.4 version was released with USB, Bluetooth, and Ext3 ( A File system format) support.
The world’s first-ever Linux kernel developer summit takes place and many young talented coders join the program.
2.4.15 created with the journaled file system which helps to log the system history and in the time of interruption when the system reboots file system remains intact.
This makes the system more reliable and actually, it is able to recover from uncleaned shutdowns much more quickly.
At this stage most of the developments (like kernel modification, applying patches, compiling command-line tools) are done manually and takes lots of time, So Linus first time used a tool called Bitkeeper which automates the whole process.
Linux 2.6 was released with a new Scheduler and SMP scalability. Now it didn’t matter how many calls or how many processors you add to a system Linux didn’t slow down because you had to do more and more work and those were major achievements in terms of scalability for Linux.
Linux stays with 2.6 kernels for the next eight years.
The Xfree86 teams split up and join the X-standards body from the X.org foundation, which created faster development of the X server for Linux.
CentOS was released based on the sources for RHEL 2.1AS.
The OpenSUSE begins as a free distribution from Novells Community.
OpenOffice.org introduced the second version that started supporting standards like OASIS OpenDocument.
First Long Term Supported (LTS) Kernel released with 2.6.16
Oracle releases its own distribution of Red Hat Enterprise. Novell and Microsoft announced cooperation for better interoperability and mutual patent protection.
The company launches the first user-friendly desktop version called Ubuntu with an unusual number 4.10. With all the essential features and GUI.
Dell starts distributing Laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed on them
A new Mobile Operating System Android released Using the Linux Kernel.
Google says there are four billion monthly active Android devices in use around the world today so there are four billion people using on a regular basis the Linux kernel inside their android smartphones.
New version Ext4 file system launched which support much larger volumes and file size in fact it can support volumes
up to 1 exabyte and file sizes up to 16 terabytes.
Red Hat market capitalization equals Sun, It’s a Major Goal for a Linux-based Company.
Linus released version 3.0 of the kernel for no other reason other than the fact that he wanted to
switch over to the new number.
Google released the Chrome OS which is based on Linux Kernel.
Linux supported for ARM big.LITTLE and the support for i386 removed. Even in our mobile phones, we used big.LITTLE for best performance and greater battery saving.
We see the launch of the raspberry PI’s official operating system raspbian which is based on Debian and this, of course, is an ARM-based board that uses both ARM v6 arm v7 and arm v8 processors.
Google Linux-based OS claims a 75% market share in the mobile industry.
UBUNTU claims 22 million users worldwide.
Linux 4.0 was released with Live patching where you can add security patches without rebooting your system. This feature is very useful for enterprise server systems where the system runs 24/7.
Boshi Linux, Linux Mint is launched with version 4.0
Linux 4.12 was released and that added support for USB type-c including for type C power delivery.
The 5.0 version of Linux was released with new features AMD Freesync Display support, Raspberry Pi touchscreen support, Btrfs swap file support, and Adianum data Encryption made into the kernel.
June 3rd Linux Kernel 5.7 released includes 64bit ARM architecture support for more devices, faster I/O interface, reliable exFAT support, tiny power button for VM’s, F2FS (Flash-Friendly File-System) and XFS updates, and other hardware improvements.
All right, these are some highlights that I thought were important and I really hope we see another 30 years of Linux going forward and I’m keen to hear from you in the comments below what your favorite milestones have been during these years.