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Linux Kernel Turns 25

Friday, 26 Aug 2016


Lessons learned, and what its future holds.

The technology industry has marked the 25th anniversary since the initial release of the Linux kernel by Linus Torvalds on the comp.os.minix message board.

“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,” Torvalds famously wrote in August 1991.

“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”.

Two-and-a-half decades on, Torvalds found himself on-stage at LinuxCon marking the occasion.

At the start, the kernel was 10,000 lines of code and worked only on the same type of hard disk as Torvalds owned.

Now it is 22 million lines of code, and is the basis of distributions that power everything from cloud infrastructure to smartphones and supercomputers.

Linux is a professional operating system in its own right.

But the path to professional OS hasn’t been without its hiccups. Torvalds told LinuxCon that things almost became unworkable 15 years ago as commercial interest in the code increased.

However, he always found himself coming back to Linux, no matter what made him angry in its evolution and ascension.

The Linux Foundation said in a research report released this week that companies are increasingly contributing to the development and improvement of the kernel.

Intel and Red Hat are the two strongest contributors, but in reality over 500 corporations are contributing some form of development resources back to Linux.

The report marks the 25th anniversary of the kernel by providing a series of lessons learned since Linux was conceived.

Short release cycles have benefitted the operating system, the report said.

To read the full article, click here.