25.08.2021 | Latest

Happy Birthday - 30 years Linux

Happy Birthday - 30 years Linux

The foundation of the digital society turns 30


On August 25, 1991, the Finnish student Linus Torvalds wrote that he was working as a hobby on a free operating system that would "not become big and professional". He was very much mistaken.

Now, thirty years later, not only do around 80 percent of all smartphones run on Linux: Linux runs in every modern car and other countless devices, from fruit scales in the supermarket to W-LAN routers at home.  Linux is said to currently consist of over 31.5 million lines of programming.

Its original application should have found Linux at that time in the strongly spread PCs. These were equipped with x86 chips from Intel. However, Microsoft with its MS Dos and Windows had already succeeded in this.

And yet today, all of the world's high-performance computers, as well as almost all smartphones, run Linux software, since the system forms the foundation for Google's Android. Why is that? Torvald's defined architecture was already in principle suitable for use as an operating system regardless of the hardware available.

This flexibility is the reason for the strong distribution.  Only on the platform for which Linux was originally invented does it play a subordinate role.  Linux was never able to establish itself on ordinary desktop computers. This is mainly due to the fact that the installation of Linux used to be quite complicated, and that there were no applications for Linux like those known from the Windows or Mac world.  

Unlike other commercial software platforms, Linux has always been "free". Free of costs, free of licensing. This promoted its spread immensely.  Early fundamental technical decisions by Torvalds and his team, which in retrospect proved to be spot on, also contributed to its enormous success, such as the incorporation of the Internet protocol "TCP/IP". Here Torvalds recognized the potential of the Internet early on.

Although he and his comrades-in-arms initially met with opposition and many could not imagine how distributed programming would succeed, the system works. The idea of not viewing software source code as a trade secret, of making it open and available to the community so that it can be continuously supplemented and improved, was very well received. Even big players such as Microsoft now use Linux in some cloud applications. Torvalds himself is still active as a leading developer of the Linux operating system kernel.

Ginzinger electronic systems has also been relying on Linux as an operating system platform for customized and sophisticated electronic customer products for over ten years. The use of the powerful operating system in Ginzinger's Linux distribution GELin simplifies the development, maintenance and support of embedded systems.
In addition, Ginzinger is actively involved in the further development of the Linux system.

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