Happy 25th birthday, Linux!
Twenty-five years ago today, a certain Linus Torvalds sent out a message:
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.
And that is considered the announcement of the birth of Linux. According to the dreadfully named OMGUbuntu site,
Little did Linus realise back in 1991 that his small ‘hobby’ OS that wasn’t going to be ‘big and professional’ would end up changing the pace, shape and history of computing as we know it. In 1991, Linux was developed with the intention of supporting just one type of computer. In 2016, Linux runs on pretty much everything, from laptops to airport terminals, from smartphones to games consoles, from watches to toasters to smart fridges and smart light bulbs.
Lloyd Alter/ Raspberry Pi on my desk/CC BY 2.0
Because it is so small and light, Linux was the operating system of choice for refurbishing and recycling computers. Now, of course, you can buy a Pi for a couple of bucks and have a working computer in no time at all, running on Linux. Now of course it is everywhere, with a Chrome OS fork taking over the education world and having an impact in homes and businesses.
Once configured, using Linux is pretty straightforward, but it does take a bit of work to get things up and going. But there are thousands of people out there playing with it and developing it; according to the Linux Foundation, 13,500 developers from 1,300 companies have contributed to the Kernel since the entire project went up on Git in 2005.
As they say on OMGubuntu: "So next time you pull your Android phone out of your pocket, share a selfie on Instagram, or gush over images from the Mars ‘Curiosity’ Rover, be sure to whisper ‘Happy 25th Anniversary’ to Linux."