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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Evolution Not Intelligent Design - GNU/LINUX

Whenever I start my computer and see the screen , I get to see a dream that has evolved over decades of work. It all started with one man Richard Matthew Stallman being unhappy with the state of affairs in the software space , where proprietary software was taking over. They were no longer able to share and modify software between friends and colleagues. The new device drivers that came did not have the source code available for improvement and modification. 

He started the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation(FSF). The target behind starting the GNU project was to come out with an Operating System in which user's will have the freedom to study, modify and distribute the original and modified versions of the software. 

For this purpose the FSF came out with the GNU General Public licence in 1989. The various components were made by contributions from programmers around the world , some of them hired by the FSF. Many did it for free. By 1989 most part of the operating system was ready except for the Kernal. Stallman went for an advanced Kernel design , name Hurd.

The Hurd project did not go according to plans and till today it is under development . However in 1991 and Finnish University student Linus Trovalds started a project to build a little operating system for personal use. He used lots of components made by FSF in this project. He was assisted by many programmers over the internet. The came out with a monolithic kernel and named it LINUX.  Linus released the kernal under the GNU General Public license in 1992 and thus the GNU/LINUX operating system was born. 

After this many organisations, businesses, individuals and univesities  provided many lines of codes to the operating system. Evolving it over a period of time.  Hundreads of distributions of different sizes and utilities came into existence. 

GNU/Linux is the most used server side operating system and 97% of all supercomputers in the world run on GNU/Linux. So the operating system is a beautiful machine that is created by contributions from thousands of people. 

GNU/Linux is used in machines of different shapes and sizes. Modified version of Linux Kernal is used in the Android Operating System, Firefox OS, Tizen etc. Linux is the OS of choice for single board computers like Parallella, Raspberry PI etc. 

Many people are now using GNU/Linux in their desktops and the numbers are going up. Its a powerful operating system that is rarely affected by any virus. 


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