Linux Gaining Ground

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR042
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1990 - 2003
Organization : IBM - Linux Technology Center, Microsoft
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : ---
Industry : Software

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Evolution of Linux

The history of Linux dates back to early 1990s, when Linus Torvalds (Torvalds), a Finnish graduate student of computer science started coding an operating system.

In August 1991, he e-mailed his code - an experimental version of the Linux kernel -- to a software discussion group, and shared his code freely with other developers to make it more robust. Initially, Torvalds had started developing the operating system as a hobby for Intel processors - 386 (486), which was based on MINIX. He invited his fellow programmers to test the code and make suggestions about its working and add new features. The first Linux version 0.01 was released in September 1991 and was made available on the Internet for access to programmers worldwide. Soon, programmers from all over the world started responding to the program and added new features. By October 1991, Linux 0.02 version was released, with a declaration from Torvalds that he wanted to develop an operating system that could be used on all systems...

Threatened by the Penguin

In the mid-1990s, Linux gained respectability in corporate circles and was supported by several computer companies like IBM, Oracle, HP, Compaq and Dell. It was felt that the main players who would be affected by Linux were Microsoft and Sun Microsystems (Sun).

Analysts felt that with the free availability of the source code, Linux would be a major threat to Windows and to Sun's operating system, Solaris. Customers might slowly shift to Linux as support from the big names in the industry gave Linux greater credibility in the business world. Initially Linux was used only in low-end workstations; however, with support from IBM, HP, Compaq and Dell, consumers would probably move to installing Linux in critical operations also. Major companies in the world announced their support of Linux. In 1998, Oracle started offering Linux versions for its software and even IBM announced support to software that would run on the Linux o/s. IBM supported Apache, a leading web-server program, which worked on Linux...

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