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25 October 2016

How Linux has influenced modern IT

A quarter of a century is a long time in IT, but Linux, which has turned 25, is now at the heart of many hugely successful enterprises. Martin Percival, senior solutions architect at Red Hat, said: “Linux was regarded as an alternative to proprietary Unix. But RHEL switched it to becoming an alternative to Windows Server.” In the early 1990s, after Microsoft’s famous divorce from IBM, the software company decided to go it alone and develop its own operating system. Windows 3.x became the de facto standard for the PC desktop, while the IBM rival OS, OS/2, failed to gain much traction. But as PC chips became faster and Intel’s first proper 32-bit processor, the 80386, saw success, Microsoft embarked on a project to get into server computing, the domain of the Unix machines. Meanwhile, in Helsinki, a 21-year-old Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, began working on an operating system that could take advantage of some of the advanced features that 80386-powered PCs had to offer, such as the 32-bit instruction set and paged memory. The ...

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