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Linux at 25: Happy Birthday to Open Source’s First Major Success

By Dick Weisinger

In 1991, Linus Torvalds wrote: “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones… It is NOT portable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.”

Now, Twenty-five years later, both Linux and the concept of Open Source grown far beyond what Torvalds originally imagined.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, described the scope of today’s Linux, saying that “there are 53,000 source files in the Linux kernel, 21 million lines of code. There are 3,900 developers from all around the globe, 10,800 lines of code are added, 5300 lines of code are removed and 1,800 lines of code are modified every single day in the Linux kernel. It changes seven, eight times an hour on average, every day, 365 days a year. That is a prolific, tremendous scale that is just unparalleled in the history of software development.”

Al Hilwa, a program director with IDC, said that “Linux put open source on the map and began the journey of the rise of open source for serious computing.”

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