IBM developerWorks looks back on 10 years of Linux
by Dr. Oliver Diedrich
On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, IBM's developerWorks site for software developers and IT professionals has compiled a list of the top ten developments in the Linux world. The list leaves out several things that Linux enthusiasts might be inclined to include: no Debian, no KDE or GNOME, no Android, Moblin or other embedded system, no exciting advancements in the Linux kernel – IBM's perspective on Linux is a little different.
The list is topped by the Linux Professional Institute: The demand for Linux certifications, like those developed by the LPI, is apparently one of many signs indicating that Linux has arrived in the corporate world. Samba earns second place, according to the list authors, because it's proof of the interoperability of Linux – and because it helped get the free operating system out of the network infrastructure corner.
It comes as no surprise that IBM counts Linux on S/390 (now System z) among the most important developments. Reportedly it was the first technology that enabled multiple instances of Linux to operate on the same hardware. SELinux is included because it introduced totally new security mechanisms – and because the makers of DeveloperWorks consider it "sort of cool" that the American National Security Agency (NSA) released one of its own technologies.
developerWorks considers Live CDs like Knoppix an important technological development: for demos, for testing a computer's suitability for Linux and for many other reasons. According to the list, Linux clusters – their development began with the Beowulf clusters – provide a budget way of developing high performance systems with increased fault tolerance.
Linux supercomputers, like IBM's Blue Gene, are also important: According to developerWorks, it's not just about the "gee-whiz value of running the fastest computers on Earth" under Linux; such projects also spawned important developments for optimising smaller multiprocessor systems. At the other end of the hardware spectrum is Linux on Playstation 3. It's not that it changed the Linux world all that much, but it is great for hackers who like to try things out just because they can.
developerrWorks say that of course, the list wouldn't be complete without mentioning virtualisation, which made cloud environments available under Linux and offers an easy way for developers to create sandboxes for testing. The last item on the list is the One Laptop per Child project – the reason given is not so much the intention of offering computer access and education to underprivileged children, but the project's purpose-driven custom user interface, which fully hides the Linux structures underneath.
- Linux controls IBM mainframes, a report from The H.