In mid-August I traveled to Vancouver to attend LinuxCon, the industry’s premier Linux conference. The conference is organized by the Linux Foundation, which is the nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Linux, which made the conference particularly special. Most of the keynotes reflected on the impact of Linux on the computer industry and on society in general. A number of additional activities were also planned to celebrate this important milestone.
The history of Linux was summarized in this charming three and a half minute video:
“ . . . It was August of 1991, and a 20 year old computer science student named Linus Torvald sat down at his computer in Helsinki to post what is now one of the most famous entries in computer history: ‘Hello everybody out there, I am 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 is all I have’ . . . word of the Linux open source project quickly spread around the globe . . . Linus named his OS kernel Linux, and chose a penguin as a 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 Stallman. The Linux kernel, along with the GPL license and other GNU components revolutionized the computer 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 change the changes you make. . .”
. . . and the rest is history.