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Our story begins twenty years ago.
Boris Yeltsin was sworn into office, Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson on the
Tonight Show, and cell phones were really really big.
It was August of 1991
and a twenty year old computer science student named Linus Torvalds sat down at his
computer in Helsinki to post what is now one of the most famous entries in
"Hello everybody out there. I'm doing a free operating system (just a hobby,
won't be anything big and
professional like gnu)
it probably will never support anything other than AT-hard disks, as that's
all I have."
Word of Linus' open source project quickly spread around the globe and
developers from all over contributed their code.
Linus named his OS colonel Linux
and chose a penguin as its mascot after a little incident at the zoo.
He soon made a very important decision that would shape Linux's future
just as much as the technology.
He chose the GPL license created by a visionary
named Richard Stahlman. The Linux kernel along with the GPL license and other
gnu components revolutionized the computing industry with a few very
simple yet very important freedoms.
The freedom to use the software for any purpose,
the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,
the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and the
freedom to share the changes you make.
These radical ideas fueled its spread around the world and somewhat
its rise from a hobbyist experiment
to the foundation of a large and thriving commercial ecosystem. Companies
build businesses around Linux.
In 1999, Red Hat stock tripled
as it became the first Linux company
to go public. That same year, IBM spent a billion dollars to improve and
Soon Linux was knocking out industry heavyweights and
fueling the rise of the internet with its free software.
In short, Linux revolutionized computing
but whenever something is this disruptive, there's bound to be
competitive crossfire. But Linux not only survived, it thrived. Today, the kernel
development community numbers in the thousands with hundreds of companies
collaborating on Linux development. Every three months another version of
Linux is released.
So, where is Linux today? Running in seventy five percent of stock exchanges
worldwide, and powering the servers that deliver Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Ebay,
and Google. You use Linux literally every time you surf the internet - it's in
your phone, in your TV,
running ninety five percent of supercomputers, and
in many of the devices you
Linux is everywhere
and the Helsinki-based programmer who started it all:
he orchestrates this worldwide army of developers from his home office
in Portland, Oregon as a fellow at the Linux Foundation.
As we celebrate twenty years of Linux, we can all see ourselves in its story.
Thank you for being a part of its first twenty years.