Note: These are my feelings about Linux at this point in my life. I hope to turn this into a talk.
Wikipedia has the following definition:
""The name "Linux" comes from the Linux kernel, originally written in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. The rest of the system, including utilities and libraries, usually comes from the GNU operating system announced in 1983 by Richard Stallman. The GNU contribution is the basis for the alternative name GNU/Linux.""
Linux is the most popular Unix like operating system. Stallman would say it's about the underlying tools that Linux is build on. I think it go back to Unix. Unix is build around the idea of loosely coupling system together. Keep it simple, do one thing, and do it well.
The kernel take that same philosophy. One person can understand how a Unix kernel works. The internal parts are small systems that can be replaces or patched without effecting the rest of the kernel. The bulk of kernel falls into a third part called drivers. Drivers talk to hardware. A driver has a much smaller interface to the kernel. A programmer can learn to write device drivers without an in depth understanding of the kernel.
The key here is when a driver fails the system will continue to run without the device that failed. A programmer can work on an unstable drivers without risk to there computer. At most the device will become unusable until they reboot.
(Picture three circles, core, driver, applications)
Unix at the core is the kernel and drivers. This core is a very small system. If we add a few simple application, we can have an appliance like a home routerddwrt. Say we add just enough to make the system useful(/bin and /sbin). A small systems like this can be built in as little as 8 to 10M ttylinux. We can add a little more and get a working DesktopPuppy in just 50M. A modern Desktop is fully loaded in 2.1G(Ubuntu, Redhat). The Debian/ubuntu repositories have more then 10 G worth of applications in 30,000+ packages.
It all comes back to do one thing well. If your are not using it you can take it out. A toaster has no need for video.
Unix / Linux / BSD means never having to say you can't. A lot of people may ask why. But no one will say you can't. The 80% rule does not apply
Why can we do this? Because we have 30+ years of General Public Licensed source code.
Stallman, rms, forced this to happen. He set the bar for free software high and has never wavered from his point of view. Thank you RMS.
RMS is not alone in this efforts. The people in the BSD and MIT camps have also helped make this a reality. More then $10,000,000 worth of time has been expended on this project.
I believe Linux will dominate the OS market at some point in time. I'm happier today because of Linux. I enjoy my work life because of Linux and I would like to thank a few people.
Paul Haas - www.hamjudo.com, In 1995 I talked to Paul about his is Internet hot tub. He talked about the power of unix/bsd/linux.
David New, In the summer of 1996 David new gave me a shipping pallet full of green screen serial terminal.
Jay Nugent - www.nuge.com, In the fall of 1996 Jay helped me fix a serial cable problem. We talked about serial and network communications. With his help and many others, I have build an understanding of UNIX based systems. Thank you my friends.
Dad without you pushing me to complete my education, I would not have a career I love.
Copyright 2009 Nicholas A. Schembri Pittsburgh Pa USA