An operating system is a software that manages all of the hardware resources associated with our devices. It is the bridge of communication between the software and the hardware of our smartphones/desktops/laptops. Windows, Android Ios, MacOS are the few familiar operating systems we use in our daily lives, but one such operating system not many know about is Linux. Not just our Android phones but many other devices/appliances like cars, refrigerators, wristwatches, televisions, etc., are powered by Linux.
Table of contents:
- History and evolution of Linux Operating System
- How Linux has changed the business landscape
- What the future holds for Linux
History and Evolution of Linux Operating System:
Linux was developed by Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Heinski, Finland, around the 1990s as a better alternative for the already existing UNIX operating system. He initially wanted to develop it for his own usage and later released the Linux Kernel under his license, but it was restricted for commercial purposes.
However, the first active version of Linux was subsequently launched on the internet, followed by Linux Kernel 2.0, a version that gained acceptance among various businesses. Its unique framework and new formats soon gained popularity and became the most suited operating system for devices.
After a few years, the company launched a user-friendly desktop version named- Ubuntu with all necessary domestic features. It was a first of its kind in the market and thus, saw a significant increase in its users.
Among the multiple claims of security threats by other established operating systems, Linux stood out to be an open-source software that revolutionized the technology world and contributed to a major change in the business landscape that we witness today.
Check out Linux Online Training offered by “MindMajix – A global online training platform.
How Linux has changed the business landscape:
Linux has grown to become the world’s most widely accepted software in the last 25 years and continues to have a significant role in developing the Digi-tech space. Although it started as an alternative to Unix, Linux has evolved into a solid enterprise operating system. It has not only replaced the old servers but has also been used when Windows servers collapsed. It is now the first choice for commercial enterprises from a very tech-oriented operating system.
Being an open-source software system, Linux intended to be everywhere from desktops to laptops to smartphones and other high-tech devices. Various other factors made it the game changer in business.
- The age of the Internet: With the inception of the internet and the thought of businesses going online in the near future, Linux emerged at a time when people were looking for an easier way to develop their software. Linux-based operating systems now are responsible for a company’s or an individual’s digital services, websites, applications, and products. Whether it’s Google, Apple, Meta, or Amazon, most companies choose one form of Linux or the other to operate their businesses.
When it is impossible to imagine our life and work requirements without internet or internet-based devices, Linux has changed the way we access the internet. Out of the total percentage of servers, 96% of them are run by Linux or any of its derivatives. It is the single most popular operating system that runs on more than 2 billion devices today.
- Adaptability and Flexibility: Linux defines itself as the Linux kernel. A kernel is the core of an operating system to provide the basic services for all its other parts. The flexibility that comes with Linux is why it has become omnipresent across these many aspects of computing today.
Adaptation of the Linux kernel in small as well as large systems has sustained it till the present time. It has become the go-to operating system for various devices as well as the majority of internet services and platforms.
It created a flexible and easily adaptable ecosystem, as developers have the freedom to mold into according to their needs and requirements. This system also demands reciprocal source code sharing, which simply means that any modifications made to the current accessible free version would be made available to the public.
It eventually made the performance of Linux better and beneficial for those contributing to its development and for those accessing it.
- Usage, Security, and Compatibility: Linux Operating System is known for its multi-user, multi-tasking, and multi-programming capabilities. Multiple users can access different system resources and can run multiple applications at the same time. System and user files are hierarchical, i.e., they are organized and therefore easier to access.
Linux provides user security using password authentication and lets the user control specific files’ access. When it comes to virus attacks, it contains an inbuilt firewall for protection.
The fact that it is an open-source software system, it comes with sufficient space for collaboration and is compatible with any kind of hardware installation.
- Distribution: Linux is different from other operating systems. Different organizations develop different parts of Linux. It includes kernel, graphical programs, X servers, etc. Here, the distribution comes into the picture that caters to all the requirements of different developers for different organizations.
There are around 600 Linux distributors that provide different and individual features.
1.) Ubuntu: It is one of the most well-known Linux distributions. It provides an easy graphical desktop and comes with a variety of pre-installed libraries with applications. It is most suited for newcomers and releases every six months.
Mint is based on Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is a better version of Debian.
2.) Red Hat Enterprise: It is a commercial Linux distributor but uses trademark law to prevent its software from redistribution. However, it merged with Fedora and later became Fedora Linux, which provides and focuses mainly on faster updates. It helps in upstreaming the software.
And CentOS, a community project, is a free and more stable version of RHEL without using its trademark.
Linux has made commercial enterprises comfortable with open source. It has enabled the companies to develop code in such a manner that empowers their core infrastructure along with bettering the operating system itself.
Companies and organizations come up with their own vision about how they want to mold Linux according to their requirements. And the development model of Linux acts as a catalyst in creating a richer and open ecosystem. The traditional definition of an operating system is not the same anymore. With companies creating their business models around software, Linux has proven to break all barriers of working in a concrete way.
The constant evolution and fluidity have made it sustain for 25 long years and secures its place for the coming decades with more revolutionary proficiency.
What the future holds for Linux:
The major success of the Linux ecosystem has grown beyond expectations. The last 10 years significantly saw a wave of digitization and heavy computing. Although Windows still has the larger share of the corporate market, Linux has its fair share of place in the business world. From web servers to databases to programming languages, it has constantly broken barriers of what it can’t be, and nobody can deny it.
Linux is present in nearly every organization in some form or the other; it is a successful long-time player in the operating system market. It doesn’t envision itself to be restricted to just small and large screens but is now the building block of various other technological arenas.
- Space: The International Space Station migrated more than a hundred machines from Windows to Linux to have a more reliable and stable operating system. They wanted to have an in-house control on their onboarding laptops so that they could adjust whenever they wanted to. They used Debian for their operations.
NASA and SpaceX also use Linux for their galaxy studying and other purposes.
- Automotive Automobiles: Linux backed Google’s autonomous car computers, and its first foray- Toyota Prius successfully ran on Ubuntu. Volkswagen also chose the Automotive Grade Linux System. It happens to be a collaborative operating system between car manufacturers and tech companies for developing industry-standard automotive applications.
Tesla uses Linux software in every one of its products.
- Supercomputers: Supercomputers are the most powerful technological devices globally and are used by scientists for various purposes like weather forecasting, molecular research, quantum mechanics, etc. Linux is also used for nuclear research and empowers the largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. It is used by CERN, a European research organization for studying matter energy and the universe.
It runs on Scientific Linux.
- Education: Many developing countries, including India, Pakistan, the Philippines etc., have introduced small machines run by Linux to promote the benefits of open source software and initiatives such as One Laptop Per Child. The little device is capable of working in harsh weather conditions and has low installation costs and minimal service fees.
It is a cheaper alternative to Windows and is run on Ubuntu and aims to aid in the education of children from every walk of life, especially the unfortunate.
- Tsunami Sensors: Linux is also contributing to preventing catastrophes and saving lives by assisting in the tsunami sensors of the world’s leading company of sensors manufacturing- Teledyne Technology. They have their own modem and use acoustics to send and receive data underwater.
- Traffic Control System: In one of the top 30 congested cities of the world, without a solid traffic management system is next to a nightmare. San Francisco decided to back their traffic control systems with Linux and tried to make their job easier. The United States also uses Linux for its Air Traffic Control for tracking their planes with the help of radar.
- State-Run Operating System: In a country like North Korea, the operating system is based on Linux. It is a state-wide operating system named Red Star OS with a minimal installation cost and a Firefox fork web browser.
- Nuclear Submarines: In a first of its kind time, a nuclear submarine of the United States ran on a Red Hat Linux-based operating system. It helped run the vessel in low heat and lower power consumption mode and allowed the crew to different data security formats while at sea.
When it was first released, no one could have imagined the long-term impact of Linus’ open-source operating system on the software and technology industry. When the existing lion companies dominated this landscape, and the acceptance of what he was trying to create was almost negative, Linux silently was giving birth to a revolution.
As of now, it is hard to make further predictions about Linux; it is emerging on segments that include the Internet of Things, smart wearables, smart home devices, and finding a way to a range of other devices of our daily use. At the same time, certain areas of a desktop segment like gaming are still untapped by Linux and strongly dominated by Windows.
Linux has practically proven to outgrow UNIX and has made a mark in today’s generation of supercomputers because of its high-performance, reliable and fluid framework.
Linux servers aren’t going anywhere just yet and are making their mark in the server industry and made us realize its capability to gradually but definitely transform the industry into something unpredictable.
It has also empowered developers and entrepreneurs aspiring to be in the industry. Linux developers have proven time and again that they are not here to follow a certain path of growth to make their mark in the changing landscape of the business. Linux could grow into something completely different from what it has been in the coming decades and could overtake the lions of its industry or become the preferred operating system on some new kind of devices and services we can’t imagine today.
The only thing that will be constant and synonymous with Linux will be a surprise!
Amruddin Shaik is a Digital Marketer and Content Contributor, Who is working with MindMajix, a top global online training provider. I’m a tech enthusiast and have a great understanding of today’s technology. Having an In-depth knowledge of IT and demanding technologies such as Linux, Software Automation Testing, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security etc.