Saturday, February 3, 2007

Linux - History

The history of Linux is almost tied to that of GNU. In 1983, it was planed and in September 1983 Richard Stallman founded the GNU Project. GNU was to be a fully Unix-like operating system composed entirely of free software for all. Software research work started in January 1984. In start of 1990s, the project had collected most of the necessary components of this system, including libraries, text editors, Unix shell and compilers. Thus the GNU mid-level part of the operating system were mearly complete. The upper level could be supplied by the X Window System, but the lower level, which consisted of a kernel, system-level utilities, device drivers and daemons, was still pending. In 1990, the GNU project began developing the GNU Hurd kernel.

In 1991, work on the Linux kernel started by Linus Torvalds while he was in the University of Helsinki. In start, Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel as a substitute for the non-free Minix kernel. Although dependent on the Minix userspace at first, work from both Linux kernel developers and the GNU project allowed Linux to work with GNU components. Thus Linux filled the final major hop in running a complete & fully functional operating system built from almost free software.

Richard Stallman - the founder of the GNU project for a free operating system.

Today, Torvalds continues to direct the development of the kernel. Richard Stallman leads the Free Software Foundation, which in turn develops the GNU components. Finally, third-party non-GNU components are made by individuals and corporations. These third-party components comprise a vast body of work and may include both kernel modules and userland applications and libraries. Linux vendors combine and distribute the kernel, GNU components, and non-GNU components with additional package management software in the form of Linux distributions.


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