GeekSpeak – The Story of Linux

Let me tell you the story of Linux –

During the past 4 years at Microsoft, as an FTE or an CSG, Linux wasn’t a topic that came up very often. Understandably though, my roles with Microsoft have all been far from the development and engineering side, yet I felt compelled to learn about Lenix, and I thought I should consider this a form of “Competitive Analysis”.

Linux is a computer multi-user, multi-task Opertaing System, which is based on Free and Open Source Software. Multi-user in that multiple users may use a computer without interferring with each others’ “stuff”. With Linux, users can do that simultaneously. Multi-tasking in that programs may run together and share the time and resrouce of that machine.

However, the most significant aspect of all, is that Linux is based on FOSS. Free in that it may be obtained, sold, and redistributed at no fees or royalties, and the source code lives on the Internet for anyone with the proper license (GNU General Public License) to modify it and suggest edits.

In 1991, a Finnish university student named Linus Torvalds was unhappy with Microsoft DOS and Windows 3.1, but really liked the UNIX systems he used at school, which is a multi-tasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, was not cheaply available for home use, so he decided to write his own free version!
People started discussing what Linux’s mascot should be. Linus likes penguins a lot, and suggested it. A fellow named Larry Ewing drew “Tux The Penguin,” and he’s been the mascot since.

Linux runs the top 10 supercomuters in the world, as a matter of fact, Linux run 494 of the 500 supercomputers in the world. These are highly-calculation intensive computers for things like quantum physics, weather forecasting, nuclear weapons and so on. In otherwords, Linux is preceived to be highly reliable, largely stable software. Especially for servers, when looking at price and stabiility, Linux surpasses its rival; Microsoft Windows, although only 21.2% of server market share use it, however, the reason behind that is because these numbers reflect installations, not users. On the flip side of things, Microsoft Windows dominates the home use market share with an “estimate” of 82.5%. Again, this estimate doesn’t take into account pirated licenses of Windows, Linux installations on pre-loaded PCs, and other Linux installations because there is no registration required.

Additionally, Linux can run on multiple hardware, such as laptops, mobile devices, tablet PCs, game consoles, supercomputers, etc. and it has served as a prominent example of development collaboration.

Let’s get to the core debate though; the never-ending battle between David (or Linux) and Goliath (or Windows).

According to many Linux users, the OS is faster, constantly updated, provides the user with more customizable options, and most important doesn’t require uninstallation of Windows. With the Dual Boot feature, users will be asked if they want to run Windows or Linux upon booting their machine. There are applications that will allow navigation of Windows from within Linux. HOWEVER, with the recent announcement of Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft announced a new security feature that will not allow users to install Linux on PCs, pre-loaded with Windows 8! This may shut the door for Linux users since most of them purchase PCs that come with Windows OS (due to the cheaper price), and then install Linux on it. According to Gerrett, a Red Hat executive, “It is not time to panickk yet, however, everyone is on the lookout to see how this may impact numbers of Linux installations. In my opnion, it will be a test to Linux users loyalty.


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