In the 80s, a new publishing genre emerged, the autobiographies of business leaders. With the help of someone who could write, these people shared their wisdom on how to be successful. Years later those books only served to support tables with a shorter leg. Very few of those entrepreneurs were able to remain successful when market conditions changed..
The same would happen a few years later with technology companies.
Take, for example, the case of Yahoo! The company that led online services in the XNUMXs could not compete with Google's offering in the following decade. Or, IBM, which being a leader in personal and corporate computing ended up selling its notebook division to Lenovo. and, two dozen years later, buying Red Hat to compete with Amazon in the cloud computing business.
This compilation that we are making of three decades with Linux does not pretend to be an exact historical chronicle. Our goal is to show how a change of era made the characteristics of free and open source software more attractive than proprietary software. But, you have to be clear about whatand things can change again and, that the same who today are enthusiastic holders of open licenses can easily return to a proprietary model.
3 decades with Linux. Client server technology
We had left our history in the year 92 with the appearance of the first Linux distribution to use a CD as an installation medium. Let's forget about the home user for now and go back a decade to talk about servers.
Client-server systems began to emerge in the United States after The early 1980s, when computing moved from large mainframes to distributed processing using multiple workstations or personal computers. The new model quickly became the backbone of technology solutions adopted by large organizations. Much of the success was due to Unix, an operating system developed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie in 1969. We will not dwell on Unix and its relationship with Linux because the subject deserves its own post.
Basically workstations were very powerful computers intended for specific tasks that required a lot of computing resources.
In the early 1990s, workstation market growth slowed due to increasing power and performance of personal computersBy the middle of the decade it was already in decline.
Looking for a new market, manufacturers found that of servers. That is, computers that allowed sharing their computing resources with connected computers.
This equipment they had to be able to allow connections to multiple clients without losing processing power. At the same time they had to be stable, resistant to failures, scalable and connectable to multiple storage devices. His operating system had to be able to run without noticeable interruptions.
In 1992 version V of Unix was introduced with support for multiple microprocessors. This allowed to increase the performance and reliability of the equipment.
By 1993 almost all server manufacturers were using a variant of Unix. It was then that Microsoft decided to enter the market.
The company introduced Windows NT 3.1. This new edition of its operating system it had versions for desktops and servers. Although it never managed to prevail in the server industry, Windows NT 3.1 was the foundation of Windows XP, the operating system that would ensure the leadership of the firm in personal computing.
Two years before this happened, a computer science student at the University of Helsinki decided to write the kernel of an operating system allowing you to harness the full power of your new computer's processor. His name was Linus Torvalds.
Torvalds first released the Linux kernel under its own license that placed restrictions on its commercial distribution. ANDIn later versions it would go on to do so under the open GPL license. This decision would be the basis for the subsequent success of Linux on servers.
The excellent performance of the Torvalds kernel together with the new license sparked the imagination of the developers who combined it with different open source tools to create various Linux distributions.
At the same time, some IT solution providers They noted that they could have an operating system tailored to the needs of their customers without having to pay for expensive licenses.
Everything was ready for the XNUMXst century. But, we will talk about that in the next post.