In 1983 Richard Matthew Stallman started a project called GNU, which stands for GNU is Not Unix. He had a dream, a vision, he wanted to have a world free from proprietary software, a world made of Free Software. What he saw wasn’t a foolish vision, but a growing interest in coding and sharing, which brought him to found the Free Software Foundation, a no profit organization whose aim was to advocate and promote Free Software around the world. After just two years from the beginning of the GNU project, the FSF was ready to start to fight against proprietary software.
Meanwhile the GNU project wrote thousands of lines of code, with the aim of having for the first time a complete Free Operating System, which was able to run all the basic functions and more. From that community many softwares were released. Most of them were integrated in other Operating Systems and became the first alternatives to proprietary software. Gcc, Emacs and the GNU debugger were super stars in the developers world.
However while the revolution was taking place around the world, a young and inexperienced programmer was developing an Operating System for his own computer. After changing the name a few times he decided to call it Linux. He didn’t expect anything from it, but just another toy to play with. He was wrong.
When he announced the release of the first version of Linux, developers came in, they decided to join in the Linux community trying to adapt Linux to their Computers.
During the 90s Linux was used with the GNU tools, combining the two most relevant projects in the Free Software community. This combination soon led to the first complete Free Software Operative System, called GNU/Linux and the revolution was just started. This strong duo, made the difference during the 90s. The ability to produce Free and fast software in a short brief of time was at the basis of this community.
From that first combination, new developers decided to build new Operative Systems based on the great duo GNU/Linux. New distributions were released and the community grew exponentially. When they saw a growing interest in desktop systems, a small group of developers thought that it was time to overtake the servers market. Apache was just the beginning of another revolution in the Free Software community.
Today Apache (GNU/Linux) runs more than 55% of the whole internet, place where we constantly live and share. This great software turned to be reliable and faster than any other software previously developed. Many providers accepted it and this caused the decay of the competition.
From 2005 the same Operative System was adapted for other purposes, the mobile market. Google with the acquisition of Android Inc. changed the way people thought. It soon became the most used Operative System in the world. Every day more than 800,000 devices are activated and there are already 300M android devices around the world. The power of GNU/Linux was recognized by everybody and used everywhere.
Today GNU/Linux is one of the most successful Operative System ever, which spread thanks to the passion and love to program of the developers. The community behind it is huge and people are joining day by day, contributing to what it is one of the best tech project ever.
What GNU/Linux thaught us is that there are many ways to build a business and that there are many principles that a software company should respect. Most of them don’t agree with the GNU/Linux community because of the way they think, because of what they do and because they haven’t built a sustainable business model yet. However those tech companies haven’t still understood one simple thing.
The love for software goes forward.