Software is what brings a computer to life, and an operating system (OS) is the framework that allows all other software to run. A computer is of no use without an OS. There are many different operating systems available for computers of all shapes and sizes, but there are only a few main branches that dominate the consumer market: Windows, OS X and its sibling iOS, and Linux which forms the basis for Android. The systems are very different, but have borrowed and learned from each other over time.
The first operating systems were entirely text based. Users would type archaic commands into the terminal, and the computer would type something back. Before Windows, there was MS-DOS. Before Mac OS, there was the Apple DOS. Before Android, there was Unix. Each system accepted input from the keyboard, and produced output to the screen. The major difference between the three was the hardware each operating system would run on.
Everything changed in 1984 when Apple released the first Macintosh computer. The Mac’s operating system was graphical, and was the first of its kind to be available in a mass market product to the public. The Mac was followed by the first version of Windows in 1985 which also featured a point-and-click graphical interface. Microsoft’s Windows went on to dominate the computer industry for the next twenty years, but both operating systems continued to evolve.
Years between 1990-1999 has influenced the open source and proprietary software greatly. Alongside the advancements, in 1991 Linus Torvalds made the decision to develop Linux, which advances on the GNU operating system, to provide a completely free and open source operating system. The founder of Linux created his own version of UNIX. He wanted to create his own operating system, however you can imagine how time consuming this would be to write up to ten million lines of code, so he took to the internet and shared his vision and in turn many computer enthusiasts joined in. Fundamentally this was a computing system that was able to be created and used by anyone. It was a challenge to integrate the operating system to different platforms and multi mediums simultaneously. However, once the kernel, the foundations of the operating system was produced, the rest in turn followed.
The Linux operating system is an important example of an open source project that has gone from strength to strength. The possibilities for collaboration offered by the project is itself representative of the power of networks, as even in its infancy when few contributors were participating they could be found all over the globe. The system's success stems from several factors, such as the approach to property rights that shapes its license. The General Public License that Linux has recognizes the continued development of the system as building upon it without allowing for any restrictions to be imposed on it as it is redistributed
Linux also benefits from one of the essential advantages offered by the...