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The Unix operating system was conceived and implemented in 1969 at AT&T's Bell Laboratories in the United States by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna. It was first released in 1971, and initially, was written entirely in assembly language, a common practice at the time. Later, in a key pioneering approach in 1973, Unix was re-written in the programming language C by Dennis Ritchie (with exceptions to the kernel and I/O). The availability of an operating system written in a high-level language allowed easier portability to different computer platforms.
With AT&T being required to ...view middle of the document...
Linus Torvalds has said that if 386BSD had been available at the time, he probably would not have created Linux.
MINIX, initially released in 1987, is an inexpensive minimal Unix-like operating system, designed for education in computer science, written by Andrew S. Tanenbaum. Starting with version 3 in 2005, MINIX became free and was redesigned for "serious" use.
In 1991, while attending the University of Helsinki, Torvalds became curious about operating systems and frustrated by the licensing of MINIX, which limited it to educational use only. He began to work on his own operating system which eventually became the Linux kernel.
Torvalds began the development of the Linux kernel on MINIX, and applications written for MINIX were also used on Linux. Later, Linux matured and further Linux kernel development took place on Linux systems. GNU applications also replaced all MINIX components, because it was advantageous to use the freely available code from the GNU Project with the fledgling operating system; code licensed under the GNU GPL can be reused in other projects as long as they also are released under the same or a compatible license. Torvalds initiated a switch from his original license, which prohibited commercial redistribution, to the GNU GPL. Developers worked to integrate GNU components with the Linux kernel, making a fully functional and free operating system.
Commercial and popular uptake
Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution
Main article: Linux adoption
Today, Linux systems are used in every domain, from embedded systems to supercomputers, and have secured a place in server installations often using the popular LAMP application stack.[dead link] Use of Linux distributions in home and enterprise...