ZDNet colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols just alerted me to the fact that Linux, the open source operating system, will be turning 20 years old in a few months.
The Linux Foundation has posted a commemorative video on YouTube, with an entertaining and informative perspective on how the OS grew from a hobbyist tool to an enterprise platform.
Linux revolutionized the software distribution model from the domain of proprietary vendors who controlled the source code to one of community-supported open development, in which anyone could do anything they wanted to the code to fit their needs. And the model worked so well that we now not only have an open source OS, but also a wealth of open source databases, middleware, development tools and even business intelligence software.
You won't just find Linux in PCs and portable devices, though—it is also an integral part of the IBM mainframe space, and also powers massively parallel supercomputers across the globe.
The model is revolutionary, but in recent years, there hasn't been as much talk about Linux and open source. This is mainly because it has become just a normal way for many vendors and their enterprise customers to do business. Surveys I have worked on over the years saw Linux and open source cross the threshold of enterprise confidence in recent years, overcoming any initial nervousness about relying on a community. Just as it is almost has become the norm to accept that software will be delivered as needed over the cloud. By the way, many of these cloud offerings are based on Linux and other open source software.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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