25 Lesser Known Facts About GNU/Linux

Linux is a land of excavation, the more you excavate the more you find treasure lies within it. This article tries to uncover some of the lesser known facts about Linux. To keep things simple, easy to read, easy to remember and easy to refer this article will be presented in point-wise fashion.

Lesser Known Linux Facts
25 Lesser Known Facts About Linux

1. Linux is not an OS, but it is the kernel, GNU Linux is the OS and it comes in several hundred flavours.

2. Linux Kernel was written by a 21 year finnish college student as a part of his hobby. Yup! His name is Linus Torvalds.

3. Torvalds created Linux based on GNU General Public License (GPL). Perhaps Torvalds would have never written his own kernel if GPL would be having it’s own kernel and driver.

4. Major part of today’s Linux kernel is written in C programming language and assembly language and only 2% of today’s kernel contains code written by Torvalds.

5. A Standard Linux Kernel of today has over 10 Million lines of code and it grows at the rate of 10% every year. About 4500 lines of codes are added and 1500 lines of code are changed everyday. Initially in 1991, Linux kernel version 0.01 was released with 10239 lines of code.

6. A guy named William Della Croce Jr. registered the name Linux and demanded royalty for using its name and mark. However he agreed to handover the trademark to Linus, later.

7. The Linux kernel’s official mascot is a penguin named Tux, abbreviation of tuxedo. The idea that Linux had a pet penguin comes from Linus Torvalds himself.

8. The first commercial distribution of GNU / Linux was Yggdrasil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yggdrasil_Linux/GNU/X) and was launched in CD format in 1992. Red Hat was one of the first distributions to settle within companies and data centers in 1999.

9. Debian was one of the first GNU / Linux that was constituted and organized as a community of developers. Debian v. 4.0’s source code contains 283 million lines of code, $7.37 billion: projected cost to produce that amount of code in a commercial environment. Debian’s code base remains the foundation for other distros such as Ubuntu, Knoppix and Xandros.

10. 90% of the world’s most powerful supercomputers are using GNU/Linux. Top ten of supercomputers use Linux. 33.8% of the world runs on Linux servers compared to 7.3% running Microsoft Windows operating system.

11. Linux Torvalds has been honoured by naming an astroid after his name.

12. There are over 300 distributions GNU / Linux activities ranging from the well known Debian or Fedora distributions through governmental or educational level. And this list seems to grow with regional and personal distros being added frequently.

13. OK, Now the area of application of Linux – U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Navy Submarine Fleet, Federal Aviation Administration, Tamil Nadu for education purpose, Japan’s bullet trains, traffic control of San Francisco, the New York Stock Exchange, CERN, many air traffic control systems or control of nuclear reactors of submarines and ships, Russia, Brazil and Venezuela for interoperable management , cost efficient and technologically independence, Google, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Toyota, TiVo, etc, server hosting the website of the White House (Drupal), federal government of Brazil favours Linux operating systems over all others in its PCs. Is Not Linux kernel the most widely ported operating system, running on a great variety of operating systems.

14. For those who think Linux can’t do AnimationOscar-winning visual effects of the Titanic by James Cameron came from machines with Linux and Avatar was the last movie completely developed in 3D Applications on Linux platform using Foss Software. Exclaimed!

15. Believe it or not – In 2002, Microsoft had accumulated a $ 421 million cost of fighting the spread of Linux, according to The Register.

16. According to a study funded by the European Union, the estimated cost to redevelop the most recent kernel versions would be at $1.14 billion USD – Amazed.

17. Microsoft Windows and the Linux kernel can run simultaneously in parallel on the same machine using a software called Cooperative Linux (coLinux).

18. IBM choose Linux for what is expected to be the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Sequoia, due in 2011.

19. An unmodified version of the Linux kernel is called – “Vanilla Kernel

20. Last year, 75% of Linux code was developed by programmers working for corporations. GOOGLE has contributed about 1.1% of the code in the current Linux kernel.

21. Linux has a strong following in Smart PhonesPalm’s WebOS, Google’s Android and Nokia’s Maemo smart phone operating systems are built on top of the Linux kernel.

22. Android’s Operating System is based off of Linux. The operating system is primarily based off of Linux kernel and Google has made several changes to make it go above and beyond the original basis of Linux kernel. The first Android Smart phone was launched by HTC! Though Samsung has captured much of the Android smart phone sector with its Galaxy series of devices.

23. Google names the code names of Android versions in alphabetical order. These names are not random but names of desserts. Can you guess the next versions of Android now? Android 5.0 K………..?!, Android 6.0 L………….?!!

24. Android mascot was stolen! Google didn’t originally create that mascot. The mascot was adopted from a character named Android! from a game called Gauntlet.

25. As of January 2010, Linux still only has a 1.02% market share within desktops.

This is not the end. You could tell us any other interesting fact about this wonderful project, if you know. Nevertheless you comments are highly appreciated. I will be coming with another article, very soon which you will love to read. Stay Tuned.

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26 thoughts on “25 Lesser Known Facts About GNU/Linux”

  1. In point 13, you probably meant that it runs on various CPU architechture instead of Operating system, in the last line. Please correct it.

  2. 3. Torvalds created Linux based on GNU General Public License (GPL). Perhaps Torvalds would have never written his own kernel if GPL would be having it’s own kernel and driver.

    *WRONG* Linus first released his kernel with a non-commercial license. It was only when he released Linux 0.12 that it was licensed under the GPL (2.0)

    1. Linux is not an OS, but it is the kernel, GNU Linux is the OS and it comes in several hundred flavours.

    This is rather tiring. The GNU project is impressive, but hardly dominates Linux OS efforts:
    The kernel: run by Linus. Nothing to do with GNU
    The compiler[s]: gcc was absolutely needed to get Linux off the ground, but eventually was taken over by Cygnus Solutions well before Linus wrote a line of Linux (probably the first company to make money with open source). Cygnus was bought by Red Hat in 1999.
    X-11: MIT licensed. Run by the X consortium. No GNU ties.
    KDE: so non-GNU that RMS threw a hissy fit when they had to fix their licensing.
    GNOME: Created with the twin goals of a desktop untainted by a momentary lapse of free licensing and a C language interface (KDE has an innovative C++ interface). Created for, if not by GNU
    Massive packaging: most of the stuff you get on a Linux distro download. It likely comes either from debian (which is ideologically similar to GNU) or redhat (for .rpm based systems). These take tons of non-GNU programs and make them easily available for Linux.
    Project GNU: The shells, core, libraries (especially POSIX). Basically the layer between the kernel and the apps.

    It isn’t much of a stretch to claim that the project GNU parts outweigh the kernel, but somehow Linus got much of the rest excited about Linux and got the ball rolling. We he told RMS to go ahead and use the term “GNU Linux”, he expected just a FSF distro, not an effort to rename Linux as GNU-Linux.

    I’ve seen this before and it gets tiring. While it is easy to claim “Linux is not an operating system”, that same definition disqualifies “GNU-Linux” as well. You need a whole lot more Linux to make a useable system, and there is no need to call it anything but Linux.

  3. The article has some interesting facts, thanks for sharing it. I’m curious at some of the anachronisms, though, as it seems to be about 3 years old. It actually specifies January 2010 in item 25. Is Avishek Kumar the original author, or is this a repost? If the latter, who collected the original entries?

    Some updates:

    #21 Palm sold webOS to HP, and it powered the world’s shortest lived product line (except perhaps Microsoft’s Kin phone). It has now been relegated to community support by HP, but I’m not aware of any product using it.

    #21 Nokia’s Maemo merged with Intel’s Moblin to form MeeGo, which powered the critically acclaimed Nokia N9. Nokia then cancelled their MeeGo line in exchange for a $1 billion cheque and WinPhone 7 from Microsoft, losing virtually all of their formerly dominant smartphone market share in the process. Intel then partnered with Samsung on MeeGo, rebranding it Tizen and refocusing on web and Android apps; Samsung will ship their first Tizen phones this year. The original Maemo / MeeGo developers left Nokia to form their own company, and just announced their first phone called Jolla (rebranding their branch of the OS to Jolla and adding Android app compatibility as well). Meanwhile, several carriers will begin selling very low-cost FirefoxOS-based phones this fall, using a Linux kernel with a lightweight Firefox browser-based user interface. Yes, you couldn’t write fiction this complicated…

    #23 The answer for K is Key Lime Pie, but 5.0 was renumbered 4.3 and was a relatively minor update focused on fluidity and usability.

    #25 Current Linux desktop share is up to 1.5%. Ubuntu is still the largest desktop player, and plans to also ship with phones and tablets next year using a well-received family of new user interfaces based on Qt, a user interface technology also used by MeeGo and Jolla. The fastest growing desktop Linux today, however, is ChromeOS from Google; “Chromebooks” have dominated the Amazon laptop best seller list in the USA all year.

    Linux’ dominance in the world of computing (except the desktop) continues to grow unabated. Viva la Libre!

  4. As mentioned above, your third point confuses the GPL (a legal document telling others what rights they have when dealing with a piece of software) and the GNU tools (GNU is a backronym for Gnu’s Not Unix). The text would read better as:

    “Torvalds created Linux to complement the GNU project (Gnu’s Not Unix) which aimed to write free versions of the tools in the older proprietary Unix operating system. Perhaps Torvalds would have never written his own kernel if GNU had its own kernel and drivers.”

    As for your first point, it’s unfortunately not as clear-cut as most people think. If you take “Operating System” to mean “The thing that allows your system to operate” then a BIOS could count as an Operating System – but most people would agree that a BIOS is too simplistic to make the computer useful. Similarly, the kernel without any userspace tools would also be impossible to use by humans.

    The kernel allows software writers to write software without worrying too much about the differences in hardware. Without a kernel, writing software would be much less cost effective. So from a software engineering perspective, linux is considered an operating system because while the rest of the tools may vary, the interface that the kernel provides can (usually) be depended upon.

    • Linus Torvalds did not create the Linux kernel to complement GNU’s tools.

      As a matter of fact, GNU didn’t even feel the kernel was interesting enough to port their crap to the kernel, Linus had to do it himself for ages.

  5. Your first point is the first bug of your post.
    Maybe google could help you…
    For the rest, sorry, but it seems a child school homework

  6. Reading through items 8 and 9 I was curious why you excluded any mention of Slackware. It’s the oldest, still actively supported Linux distribution, released in July of 1993 with Debian coming out only a month or so after that (August).
    SLS (Softlanding Linux System) was the somewhat buggy distro that prompted both Pat Volkerding and Ian Murdoch to start developing their respective projects.

  7. Interesting article.

    Just one thing: “Perhaps Torvalds would have never written his own kernel if GPL would be having it’s own kernel and driver.”

    GPL is just the license. It’s the GNU Project which lacked a kernel.

  8. Interesting facts.
    The only thing is that you should know the name of Linux’ creator. It is not Linux, Torvald or other misspelling that you have in there.

    It’s… Linus Torvalds

    Google it up ;)

    All ok for the rest!

        • i’ve watched FOSS movie, and i could conclude that actually linux is a kernel, GNU is a Operating System but GNU has no kernel. actually linux can run faster than GNU, finally they combine their both project. and it was created GNU/Linux

        • Linux is an operating system implementation, according to the POSIX standard that describes the uname tool. A system call is made using that program asking what operating system is being run, and the operating system answers with its name. You use the -o switch for this.

          Then GNU came along and started shipping a non-POSIX-compliant uname that used -k to do this, and called it the “kernel.” Then they changed the -o option to give what they call the “operating system.”

          GNU is a project that makes software, and the sum of their software is called the GNU software distribution, a fancy word for bundle or package. GNU/Linux is entirely, 100% irritating propaganda from a group angry that Linux came along and became popular after they had a six-year run of attention and political evangelism successes.

          They need to grow up and stop rewriting history, because frankly you don’t need to identify every single “important” bit of software on your machine out of some obligatory need to Do the Right ThingTM.

          A combination of the Linux operating system and GNU software is also a distribution. If you want to call it the Ubuntu software distribution, you can. If you want to call it the Ubuntu Linux distribution, you can. If you even want to call it the Ubuntu GNU+Linux or Ubuntu Linux+GNU distribution, you can.

          But stop regurgitating that the kernel isn’t important or useful enough to call it an operating system. It is, because that’s the technical definition of an operating system. Whether or not marketing of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS call themselves operating systems- or worse GNU whines that they don’t get enough credit for the work they have (and in some cases haven’t) done is not relevant in a technical discussion.

          • Might I add that GNU makes their uname further non-POSIX-compliant by literally hard coding the -o option to always return “GNU/Linux”?

            That’s it. It just prints, it does no investigating to see what operating system you’re running- it just assumes that since you’re using GNU’s uname, clearly you’re running Linux and all the GNU software too.

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