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Ten facts you might not know about Linux

Today is Linus Torvalds’ 46th birthday! He is the inventor and lead developer of Linux kernel, the core of the operating system we all know and use today under various shapes and sizes: PCs, Android, Chrome OS and others. His decision to create and distribute Linux for free and reveal its underlying source code has made him a cult figure.

To understand how this amazing OS was built, check this video created by the Linux Foundation:

Here are ten key Linux facts worth jotting down:

  1. The software is free. You don’t have to shed a dime for this operating system.
  2. At the beginning of the project, the first Linux kernel occupied only 65 KB. Today, even a regular Linux kernel contains over 10 million lines of source code.
  3. Nearly 12,000 developers from more than 1,200 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since tracking began 10 years ago.
  4. Linux runs on just about any hardware from mobile phones to supercomputers. The open source nature of the kernel and software means it can be ported to another architecture by a third party, while the end user doesn’t need to care about the underlying hardware.
  5. Out of top 500 fastest supercomputers of the world, Linux or its variants power 485 of those badass machines. No wonder Linux is considered the king of supercomputing.
  6. The Linux OS has been around since the early nineties and has managed to stay fairly secure in the realm of widespread viruses, spyware and adware. By making the source available to anyone, security experts can proactively identify any main security flaws in the operating system before they become public.
  7. The rate of Linux development remains unmatched – Linux kernel 3.15 had the busiest development cycle in the kernel’s history. On average, 7.71 kernel code changes are submitted per hour – that translates to 185 changes every day and nearly 1,300 per week.
  8. Linux users don’t usually have “root” privileges, but lower-level accounts. This means that even if a Linux system is compromised, the virus doesn’t have root access to do system wide damage; more likely, only the user’s local files and programs would be affected.
  9. Linux powers the New York Stock Exchange, the Department of Defense of the US, the US. Navy Submarine Fleet, Japan’s bullet trains, traffic control of San Francisco, CERN, many air traffic control systems or control of nuclear reactors of submarines and ships – plus, Google, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Toyota, etc.
  10. According to, the majority (95%) of Linux is written in C language. The second popular language for Linux is assembly language (2.8%).

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.