The untold story of Linux kernel
Linux kernel has become one of most used kernel in todays world which has found it way into every device we use from laptops,mobiles and embedded systems to enterprise servers,cloud platforms and even powers the world top super computers.When Linus Torvalds(creator of first version of Linux kernel) started working on this project,little did he knew that one day his small tiny kernel will become the basic driver of almost every major device in the world.In today’s article I am going to cover the story of how this silent deity came into existence and how it found its way into almost every device we use daily.
History of Linux
In April 1991, Linus Torvalds, at the time a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Helsinki, Finland started working on some simple ideas for an operating system.
He wrote the program specifically for the hardware he was using and independent of an operating system because he wanted to use the functions of his new PC with an 80386 processor. Development was done on MINIX using the GNU C compiler(Yes folks that’s one of the main reasons why you first learn C/C++ in the initial years of IT course because the core of operating systems is usually written in this languages).
On 25 August 1991, Torvalds posted the on a newsgroup on Usenet about this project and after that many people started contributing to this project.At the time, the GNU Project had created many of the components required for a free operating system, but its own kernel, GNU Hurd, was incomplete and unavailable.
By September 1991, version 0.01 of the Linux kernel was released on the FTP server of the Finnish University and Research Network (FUNET).
Linux and GNU developers worked to integrate GNU components with Linux to make a fully functional and free operating system.
In the year 1993,over 100 developers worked on the Linux kernel. With their assistance the kernel was adapted to the GNU environment, which created a large spectrum of application types for Linux. The oldest currently (as of 2015) existing Linux distribution, Slackware, was released for the first time. Later in the same year, the Debian project was established. Today it is the largest community distribution.
Adoption of Linux in production environments started to take off first in the mid-1990s in the supercomputing community, where organizations such as NASA started to replace their increasingly expensive machines with clusters of inexpensive commodity computers running Linux.
Soon companies like Dell and IBM, followed by Hewlett-Packard, started offering Linux support to escape Microsoft’s monopoly in the desktop operating system market.
Today, Linux systems are used throughout computing, from embedded systems to supercomputers,and have secured a place in server installations manly due to ease of setup using LAMP(Linux,Apache,MySQL,PHP) stack.
Apache Web server was one the main apps that spearheaded early adoption of Linux for web site hosting
In mid nineties,if you compared hosting websites using NT and hosting things using Apache Linux, building a server farm with Apache on Linux was much cheaper due to which Apache steadily gained the web server market share and as a result so did Linux.
Linux’s greatest success in the consumer market came in the mobile device market, when Google decided to develop Android using Linux as base kernel which eventually became one of the most dominant operating systems on smart phones and very popular on tablets and, more recently, on wearables.
Gaming on Linux is also on the rise with Valve showing its support for Linux and rolling out its own gaming oriented Linux distribution(Steam OS).
Torvalds continues to direct the development of the kernel.
Linux vendors and communities combine and distribute the kernel, GNU components, and non-GNU components, with additional package management software in the form of Linux distributions like Mint,Ubuntu,openSUSE,Arch and the list goes on and on.
Linux uses a monolithic kernel internally i.e. the entire operating system is working in kernel space and is alone in supervisor mode handling process control, networking, access to the peripherals, and file systems.
This was one of the main reasons why Tannenbaum’s predicted that Linux would become outdated within a few years and replaced by GNU Hurd which was a micro-kernel.
In a micro-kernel, the kernel is broken down into separate processes, known as servers. Some of the servers run in kernel space and some run in user-space. All servers are kept separate and run in different address spaces.
However this main difference between both the kernels decided there future since micro-kernel based architecture of GNU Hurd became difficult for developers to bring to reality in the time that they had originally envisioned which eventually led to adoption of Linux kernel over it.
Everybody who watched the hollywood film Matrix always wanted similar kind of animation on there terminal.With cmatrix your long-awaited childhood dream can be fulfilled.
Install cmatrix by running following command:
apt-get install cmatrix
Then run cmatrix command in your terminal.
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