Linux is 30: How a student’s hobby became a key component in the business IT stack

Linus Torvalds at the Open Source Summit, Lyon in 2019
(Image credit: Mayank Sharma)
Audio player loading…

August 25, 2021 marked thirty years of Linus Torvalds’ now-famous announcement (opens in new tab) on the comp.os.minix news group, where he shared plans to work on a free operating system (opens in new tab) for 386(486) AT clones as a “hobby” (with the publication date of September 17 1991).

Nobody, least of all Torvalds, would have imagined that three decades later, his hobby OS would not just outgrow his personal computer, but go on to become the backbone of much of the modern IT world.

Rob Gibbon, Product Manager at Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu (opens in new tab), has seen an explosion in the adoption of Linux (opens in new tab) over the years.

“From server (opens in new tab) deployments and consumer electronics like smartphones (opens in new tab), televisions and smart speakers (opens in new tab), to industrial applications like automobiles (opens in new tab) and elevators, you'll find Linux enhancing the everyday lives of billions of humans worldwide – quite often in unseen ways,”.

But how did Linux become the phenomenon as we know it today?

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.