7 Linux Facts That Will Surprise You - InformationWeek

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2/24/2015
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7 Linux Facts That Will Surprise You

Here are seven things we bet you didn't know about Linux and why it remains a software project of historic proportions.
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(Image: Openclips via Pixabay)

(Image: Openclips via Pixabay)

In the 20 years since Linux 1.0 first appeared, the open source operating system has become one of the major winners in the enterprise data center, alongside Microsoft Windows. Linux also has a presence on the public Internet and in public cloud services.

But we don't hear a lot about the ongoing development of Linux. In 2007, Linus Torvalds and the other Linux kernel committers were adding patches to the kernel at the rate of 86 per hour, or 1.43 per minute. InformationWeek reported in 2007 that Linux, then 16 years old, was the largest sustained software project in the world. Dan Frye, an IBM VP who tracked it, then said: "No other open source project has gotten this large or moved this fast. It's a first-of-a-kind developer community."

At the time, InformationWeek asked whether any open source project could maintain the discipline and manage the flood of outside contributions from a constantly rotating list of contributors that had characterized the progress of Linux up to that point. It was clear at the Linux Collaboration Summit in Santa Rosa, Calif., last week, that the pace of support for Linux has not only been sustained, but has picked up in those intervening years.

On the following pages, we share seven things we learned at the annual Linux Collaboration Summit that you probably don't know about the modern version of Linux, including how it remains the world's largest sustained software project.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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Mr LeslieS100
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Mr LeslieS100,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/25/2015 | 9:36:37 AM
Proof reading
Does anyone ever proof read the text before posting.

 

Million of lines    (of what)

Kernal as mistyping/spelling for kernel.

 

Please, its distracting when there are annoyances. We think of them, rather than the message.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/25/2015 | 12:27:59 PM
Linux kernel = Linus' Unix
the Linux community has been accused by Richard Stallman of ignoring the contributions to the operating system from the Free Software Foundation's Gnu tools and components. But many Linux builders and contributors freely acknowledge Gnu pioneered major operating system comjonents. But the kernel remains a new creation, not indebted to other sources other than the precedents and example that Unix set. To my mind, Linux remains Linus' Unix. The penguin mascot, Tux, is an acronym for Torvald's Unix.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/25/2015 | 12:31:50 PM
Is OpenStack bigger?
Oops. Just saw a claim for the OpenStack Project that it now consists of 20 million lines of code.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/25/2015 | 3:23:47 PM
Re: Is OpenStack bigger?
How does the Linux kernal error rate per thousand lines of code compare with other projects? Is it significantly better or worse?
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
2/25/2015 | 2:32:31 PM
Introduction to the Linux
To those interested, rdX (edx.org) offers a free Linux course. According to the site, to cover all the material will take anywhere from 40 to 60 hours.

I was thinking to take it, just to do a refresh. You never know when you're gonna need it.
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
2/25/2015 | 5:09:58 PM
Minix Coppied.
It was a rewrite of Minix.

Tanenbaum created Minix but his limitation (education only/the source codes were only available to university students) killed it.

Linux caught on fire because it gave free source codes, free distribution, you can make money with it. There is almost no limitation except if you change it you have to give your codes back.

At the beginning, it was just people who want to learn(OSes) + hobbyists. Then companies figured out how to make money with it. Then the rest is history.

If they could not monetize Linux, I don't think it's here today.

BTW: Tanenbaum later tried Linux way but it's too little, too late.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/25/2015 | 5:21:41 PM
Linux bug rate compares favorably to other projects
That's a fair question, Tom. Jon Corbet's report summarized numbers of defects but I didn't see a ratio. So I turned to Coverity, which scans open source projects for defects and found it rates core Linux kernel code at .61 defects per 1,000 lines. Any rate equal to 1.0 or less is considered "good quality software." The .61 for the kernel (excluding drivers) compares to an average .59 for open source projects overall. That's pretty good because the rate of errors goes up with the size of the project. It's latest report covers Linux through the end of 2013. It doesn't address 2014. Open source in general has lower ratios than commercial code.
Nemos
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Nemos,
User Rank: Strategist
2/25/2015 | 6:31:40 PM
App?
While I am writing these lines I am using a Linux system as Ubuntu is, and I can state that the developing rhythm of the Kernel should be synchronized with the developing process of the supporting applications and in this field the results are not good. Sometimes it is really annoying that very good software programs do not have the relative Linux version.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 8:09:20 AM
Re: App?
@Nemos,

Is it because the usage of the Linux versions aren't as popular? I guess developers but most of their time into the more widely used platforms.
Nemos
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Nemos,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2015 | 5:57:48 PM
Re: App?
I will give you an example , hmm ok let's go skype web page, check the download page and you can see for Mac/x86/Android/Ios and Android support almost for all the known operating systems but let's do to CAD software page , where is the linux version because I cant find .... ;)  
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 5:04:35 PM
Re: App?
@Nemos,

I'm not saying it's not happening. I just said it's based on demand. Not small #s but huge is what makes platforms supported or not.
Nemos
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Nemos,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 7:48:08 PM
Re: App?
I can't understand the term "based on demand" are "you" a professional company or not it is not a big deal to migrate an application written for Mac to a linux system.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 5:47:24 AM
Re: App?
I agree with you - technically there is no burden for such kind of migration. Mac OS X kernel is quite similar to that of Linux and both OSes share many tenets/facets.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Ninja
3/16/2015 | 9:53:05 PM
Re: App?
@Nemos,

You have to think of the entire product lifecycle. It's not just releasing the app. There's upgrades, support, & development. If the company doesn't feel it's worth the cost & effort, that's probably why it's not released.
MarkS229
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MarkS229,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/25/2015 | 11:54:42 PM
Re: Tinification
If the objective is to reduce the size of the kernel, why not follow SunOs 4.1.4, and include the optional kernel modules (mainly drivers, I assume) as object modules, which the user can statically link with the kernel. The distribution already contains the linker/loader, so a simple modifiable shell script would be all that is needed.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 6:32:03 PM
Tux is here to stay
Linux has matured as time has gone by.  We've come a long way, baby, from the CLI.  And the fact that it attracts "new blood" should not come as a surprise to anyone except entrenched players (such as MS) and Windows-only zombies.   

For anyone contemplating the move to a 'nux distro - The two major distros today are Ubuntu (warning: Avoid v.14.04.2) and Linux Mint.  Yours truly is a proud administrator of both on a custom configured triple boot laptop.  
Terry.Bollinger
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Terry.Bollinger,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2015 | 7:41:19 PM
3 More Linux Facts That Will Surprise You
 

8. The economics behind Linux are similar to those of rural electrical cooperatives: If everyone contributes just a bit of wire (or code) to the power grid (or kernel), the outcome is a shared and fully working power grid (or operating system) that none of the members could have built on their own.

9. In 2002 the U.S. Department of Defense seriously considered banning Linux and open source software. A study by The MITRE Corporation[1] convinced them to do the opposite and instead issue policies that promoted open source software[2] as a valuable cost reduction, research, and even security resource. Had the DoD instead banned Linux, the ban very likely would have spread to other federal agencies and discouraged private industry from using Linux. That would have dramatically impacted our current world because...

10. Smartphones as we know them would never have emerged without Linux and open source software. With a combined 96.3% of the global smartphone market,[3] Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems enable the low cost and phenomenal capabilities of smartphones by directly leveraging the ability of open source software to deliver powerful capabilities without attaching huge licensing fees. Apple built iOS by starting with the Unix-like BSD operating systems, and Google continues to leverage both Linux and BSD software in Android.

-----

[1] Google [ dod cio foss ], first hit, fourth link

[2] Google [ dod cio foss ], first hit, first link

[3] Google [ iOS Android Crushing Rival Platforms ], first hit
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 8:49:14 PM
Re: 3 More Linux Facts That Will Surprise You
"With a combined 96.3% of the global smartphone market,[3] Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems enable the low cost and phenomenal capabilities of smartphones by directly leveraging the ability of open source software to deliver powerful capabilities without attaching huge licensing fees"

@Terry: I agree with you. I think Linux has contributed towards the OpenSource community as a whole and not just to the league of operating systems. Not a lof of people realize and acknowledge this contribution.
SamRay
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SamRay,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:46:07 PM
Retail stores
Very few computers with Linux are sold in retail stores. I wonder what will happen when consumers have a choice. I also wonder why we do not have a choice.
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