The history of Open Source and the rise of the Linux kernel

Linux is a household name in the field of open source software platforms today. It is considered one of the most user-friendly platforms and Operating systems, and the free internet advocates love it. It is also considered a key competitor to Microsoft, Apple and other OS giants today.


Linux wasn’t the creator of the Open source concept, contrary to popular belief. The credit for that goes to AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, that came up with the Operating System called Unix in the late 60’s. Unix was coded in assembly language, which at the time was the only programming language around. It was, however, rewritten in C language in a few years.

Surprisingly enough, the create of open source was an accident. It wasn’t planned. When Unix was released in the common market, there was an Antitrust case at the time that prevented the company from entering the software industry. As a result, Bell Laboratories was forced to release the source code to anyone who wanted to adopt the platform.


Accident or not, the concept of open source instantly got popular. Transparency was added for the first time ever to the field of software. Even IBM began to take notice, although at the time it never conceived the notion that it could be replaced by this “hipster-ish” concept. Fast forward to today, and one may think that IBM should have been more proactive at the time.

Then came Linux kernel, considered a significant upgrade on Unix. The Linux kernel was initially adopted for supercomputers by organizations such as NASA. The kernel was meant solely for personal computers. As a result, it is not surprising that the rise of personal computers in the 90’s coincided with Linux’s rise to stardom.

Additionally, companies such as IBM and Dell began to see an opportunity here to thwart Microsoft’s OS dominance. They began to let in the Linux kernel into their hardware equipment. And the rest, as they say, is history.