Linux the Looming Giant


The Linux mascot.

By Kyler Telge, Staff Writer

Linux, an open-source kernel with similarities to Unix, isn’t new by any means… It has been widely used since 1991 when Linus Torvalds released it.

With Linux comes distributions, or distros, that bring their own individual user interface, drivers, packages, and shell utilities or lack of any the above. Linux is heavily community driven; “That’s what makes Linux so good: you put in something, and that effort multiplies. It’s a positive feedback cycle,” ~ Torvalds. The only reason Linux is where it is today in modern society is because of the early community feedback and involvement Torvalds received in the early 90s while he was still developing it.

“It didn’t even start by people contributing code, it was more that people started contributing ideas. And just the fact that somebody else takes a look at your project […] and I’m sure it’s true of other things, too, but it’s definitely true in code […] is that somebody else takes an interest in your code, looks at it enough to actually give you feedback and give you ideas. That was a huge thing for me,” said Torvalds, at a Ted Talk in February. The popular mobile operating system, Android, is based off of the Linux kernel, but is dissimilar from normal Linux distros. Linux based systems have made up a large percentage of the world’s supercomputers and share a majority of the usage of the web servers across the world.

Linux has shaped how the world uses its computers and phones nowadays by enabling a free alternative and customizable kernel that can be used for many different reasons. The average person can use it for a server for their company to hold backups of important files. Some may just like the control and freedom that it gives with the absence of an overbearing company creator e.g.: Microsoft. “The Linux philosophy is ‘Laugh in the face of danger’. Oops. Wrong One. ‘Do it yourself’. Yes, that’s it,” ~ Torvalds.