In truth, Linus Torvalds was quite disinclined to name his new operating system Linux – he was of the opinion that it was arrogant. At this point, work on the GNU Project, a project making an attempt to write a free Unix-compatible operating system, had been under way for almost ten years but Torvalds did not want to wait any longer. In 1992, a mere year after Linux was released, it was announced “obsolete” by the creator of MINIX, Andrew Tanenbaum. He cited its lack of portability and its ties to specific hardware as the main reasons that Linux would die out in the next couple of years.
With the release of the GNU project, Tanenbaum was to regret his prediction. Collaborating
with GNU developers, Torvalds integrated the code into his program and made a fully-functional, portable operating system. Best of all, it was free and the code open-source.
Over time, programmers have spawned numerous distributions based entirely on the Linux kernel. The most popular home distributions, Debian, GNOME and KDE all work a little differently, yet all supply a graphical user interface on top of the shell. This means that users are able to do more or less anything without ever having to have anything to do with the command-line.
In 1994, the first commercial Linux company, Red Hat, was launched and was the first Linux distribution to employ a package manager. In bundling a few software options with the distribution, Red Hat gave users a simple way to install the required software. With the code for the Linux kernel openly available for programmers to change and build on, it provides a world of possibilities. End-users who wish to have the freedom to work in a command-line environment now have an operating system with which to work and those preferring a graphical interface can build on the kernel to form one. Its cost-effectiveness and durability has made it entirely viable to be used as server software.
Linux as a server operating system has proved an obvious choice for web site hosting and has proved a thoroughly credible
platform for the growing web site design industry. In an environment where unreliability is not at all popular Linux is in very many cases seen as the platform of choice. On the desktop in offices, schools and factories the wide availability of software has led to wide-spread uptake. Municipalities the world over are making significant savings by employing Linux on their computer network over their substantial user base. Without a doubt, Linux has truly come of age.