It was way back in August of 1991 when Linus Torvalds of the University of Helsinki in Finland formed the idea for Linux. Using the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.minix, he asked what others users would like to see in minix, an operating system based on Unix. At the time it was 20-years-old itself.
It’s yet another example of how Usenet has been used as a tool by technologically-savvy individuals to announce or formulate ideas for new and innovative products and software. Usenet has always featured an active foundation of newsgroups discussing computer and technology issues.
Linux grew in popularity rather quickly and was eventually converted to a complete operating system able to support thousands of software programs. Developers across the globe continue to contribute source codes as Linux continues to develop and evolve with the times. Nobody owns Linux, and anybody can use it for free. A Linux Foundation reports indicates that the software has 14 million lines of code, and over 520,000 patents protect it.
Linux and its penguin logo may not be the most recognizable operating system out there, but it’s a foundation on which a recognizable browser and a popular smart phone operating system are based. Android’s software was developed with Linux at the core, and the operating system Google Chrome is also based on Linux. Take a look at the green droid logo and you may notice some resemblance to the Linux penguin. The Android software powers 43% of all smart phones and 30% of the total tablets currently in the market.
As an interesting anecdote, Linux got its name by accident. Torvald intended to call it ‘Freax’ but the individual running the FTP server, a friend of Torvald’s, called the source code download directory ‘Linux’. The name caught on and the rest, as they say, is history.