Linux: Open Source Community

Linux is by far the most used open source software and has the biggest community of builders. The code used to create Linux is free and available to the public to view, edit, and contribute to. The Linux kernel is an operating system kernel created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. He also created Git, a system to manage the variety of versions of the software source code. This because, although the core pieces of the Linux operating system are generally common, there are many distributions of Linux, which include different software options.

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Today, Linux systems are used throughout computing: ‘the adoption of Linux in production environments, rather than being used only by hobbyists, started to take off first in the mid-1990s in the super-computing community, where organizations such as NASA started to replace their increasingly expensive machines with clusters of inexpensive commodity computers running Linux’ (Wikipedia, 2017). This was commercially followed by Dell, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Linux offered them a get-away from Microsoft’s monopoly in the desktop operating system market. Nowadays many home and enterprise desktops also use Linux as well as also for example Google’s Chrome and Android for smartphones.

A Linux distribution is largely driven by its community. Each program and every Linux distribution needs a variety of people and skill sets to make them successful, including: testers, designers, writers, translators, packagers and developers (, 2017). ‘In many cities and regions, local associations known as Linux User Groups (LUGs) seek to promote their preferred distribution and by extension free software. They hold meetings and provide free demonstrations, training, technical support, and operating system installation to new users’ (Wikipedia, 2017). Further there are many IRC chatrooms, newsgroups and online forums and other means to support Linux users and developers.

Git is one of the most important management systems of Linux to speed programming up. ‘Each Git workbook contains the complete repository with a complete historical overview and full tracking capabilities’ (Wikipedia, 2017). This means that different communities can make decentralized new versions, modifications and tests before these are added to different versions of Linux. One such community is Github that makes commercial use of Linux; after all, it is an open-source product. In addition, the products of Github have again been regularly used for new open source projects. ‘It offers all of the distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git as well as adding its own features. It provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project’ (Wikipedia, 2017). In the beginning of 2017 Github reported a turnover of 140 million dollars, as well as almost 20 million users and 57 million repositories, making it the largest host of source code in the world (Wikipedia, 2017).