by August 2, 2011 0 comments



Whoever would have thought that something that started as a hobby by a student to create an OS kernel would turn out to be a full-fledged revolution of sorts. But then, that’s exactly what Linux is today, 20 years later. It powers just about every type of device you can imagine, from embedded systems to super computers.

Google Android, which powers so many smartphones today for instance, is based on Linux. IBM’s supercomputer Watson, which won a Jeopardy match against the world champions for instance, also runs on Linux. Some of the best social networking and Internet sites out there, be it Google itself, Yahoo!, or Facebook, are heavy users of Linux. There are about 300+ types of Linux distros out there, which can do everything from basic network storage to disaster recovery; from anti-virus for a desktop to a complete firewall around an organization’s network, from a back-end web server to a high-performance cluster to create movies (like the famous movie Avatar). The entire Open Source software movement, which started on Linux, provides software to cater to just about every business requirement. To top it all off, all this can be done without paying any license fee to anyone. If you have inhouse expertise, you can use any of this software without paying for anything other than the salaries.

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The secret to Linux’s success

The key to Linux’s success is that it came at the right time, the right place, and with the right kind of environment. If for instance, Richard Stallman hadn’t set the base for creating a free operating system way back in 1983, by creating the Free Software Foundation and all the components required for an OS other than the kernel, Linux would never have been created. Linus Torvalds completed the last piece of the puzzle by creating the kernel, and later switched it to the GNU General Public License. Together, GNU software and the Linux kernel formed a complete operating system that was free for anybody to use, modify, and distribute. The rest as they say, is history, or shall we say-power of the community!



Without the right time, right place and environment, a technology just can’t succeed, and we saw many examples of companies who introduced technologies before their time. Take the DEC Alpha processor for instance, which was considered as one of the most advanced processors of its time. It could not succeed because it was too expensive and advanced for its time. Similarly, application service providers were introduced way back in the late 90’s and early 2000, which can be considered as the modern day SaaS Cloud computing model. Back then, the model just didn’t take off because Internet connectivity was expensive, and the bandwidth was too low.

We bring this special feature to highlight the achievements of Linux over these 20 years. We have put together some of the best Linux success stories from across the world. We have interviewed some key Linux personalities and covered their views on how they’ve seen Linux evolve, and where is it heading in the future. Lastly, we’ve got a special section on special function Linux distros, which truly demonstrate some of the things you can do with Linux today. Moreover, The DVD accompanying the PCQuest August issue has about 20 of these distros for you to try out. Plus, there’s a special video on the 20 years of Linux.

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