Why so many distros? The Weird History of Linux

Why so many distros? The Weird History of Linux

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00:03
august 25th 1991 a 21 year old graduate student in helsinki named linus torvalds announces he's doing a free operating system just a hobby won't be a big professional thing fast forward a few years later and that hobby evolves into one of the most important projects in the history of computing most operating systems were created to make shitloads of money that's right it's 99 it's an incredible value but it's true it's windows from microsoft ordered today but linux was a revolution based on a simple principle
00:33
software should be free and open today we'll take a look at the weird history of linux and in the process answer the question of why are there so many linux distros but before we can even talk about linux we need to travel back to 1969. while grandpa was dropping acid at woodstock ken thompson and dennis ritchie were creating the unix operating system unix was well loved by both businesses and universities there was one problem though the code was owned by at t and in 1977 when uc berkeley created their own berkeley software distribution at t sued
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them that put limitations on unix development and led to a period known as the eunuchs wars a few years later in 1983 richard stallman creates the gnu project which was intended to be a free and open replacement for unix but unix was a big complex project with hundreds of different applications and replacing it was no easy task over the next few years the project recreated many of the applications that you know and love today tools that are often used synonymously with linux like tar bash and emacs just to name a few by the early 90s
01:36
gnu had all this great software but it was missing one essential component the operating system kernel a complete operating system needs a kernel to sit in between the hardware and the software where it can allocate cpu and memory resources to run software applications luckily it was right around this time that linus torwalds was working on his hobby operating system originally it was going to be called free acts because the name linux was too egotistical but as fate would have it the admin for the ftp server at the time didn't like the name and changed it without his consent
02:07
and the name stuck from there on out initially linux was released with a proprietary license that had limitations on commercial use however by the end of 1992 it was released under the gnu general public license and this gave birth to a complete operating system that we know today as gnu plus linux the following year hundreds of developers jumped on the linux project and started adapting it to the gnu environment the beauty of the linux kernel is that it gave developers the ability to build custom operating systems that felt like unix but didn't come with the fear being sued down the road
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ultimately this led to some of the first linux distributions like soft landing igrasil and slackware but what is a linux distro exactly a distro is a complete operating system based on the linux kernel that contains a bunch of packages and libraries and typically a package manager to install additional applications and possibly a windows system if there's a gui involved many distros might share the same default user interface popular ui options include gnome kde plasma mate cinnamon and a bunch of others today there's nearly a thousand
03:10
different linux distros out there and they've all been customized to serve different purposes some of them are designed for enterprise users while others are for home users some distros only run on servers while others are designed for desktop mobile and embedded devices and each distro is usually backed by a community that has its own set of philosophical and technical opinions most of these older distros are no longer maintained and just considered historical artifacts one exception is slackware it had a release as recently as 2016 and has spawned a bunch of different
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variations most notably it led to the open sousa project which remains a very popular general purpose distro and is usually associated with professional power users but the most significant distro to come out of 1993 was debian it was established by ian murdock and its name comes from his name combined with his ex-wife's name and its first official release came in 1996 as version 1.1 buzz and since then each release contains a code name with a toy story character a few years later it led to the creation of advanced package tool or apt
04:11
although it was originally developed under the code name deity the debian community is huge and it's a great distro today and very popular on servers but can also be used as a general purpose distro it's minimal and stable which are traits that have allowed it to father a huge number of offspring distros some of them are highly specialized like raspberry pi os or steam os but by far the most popular child of debian is ubuntu which was first released in 2004 and is managed by a british company called canonical it follows a semi-annual release schedule where each release is
04:42
named after an animal and a word with the same letter like cosmic cuttlefish it's extremely beginner friendly and was really one of the first distros to open up linux to the mainstream home computer user in recent years though it's received a lot of hate from the linux community for releasing closed source software and also selling data to third-party companies in any case it remains extremely popular and it even has a variety of different flavors like kubuntu zubuntu and lubuntu which are their own distributions that offer slight variations on the original like kubuntu for example it's designed
05:13
to be a great entry point if you're transitioning from microsoft windows to linux in addition ubuntu has spawned many other variations like linux mint peppermint and pop os just to name a few of the most popular options debian has a huge family tree but if we go back to 1994 there is another linux distro that also has a huge family tree called red hat it was created by mark ewing and is known for its focus on security and reliability for enterprise users red hat adopted a business model where they maintain an
05:43
open source operating system then make money by selling consulting integration and add-on services to big enterprise clients today it generates billions of dollars in revenue and was recently acquired by ibm for an 11-figure price tag red hat has given birth to a bunch of children most of which are associated with enterprise work and use either the rpm or yum package manager popular descendants include rhel sent os and fedora which is not only great for enterprise servers but also works well as a personal workstation and
06:13
it's even the distro of choice by linus torvalds himself now one thing that you'll notice about linux distros is that many of them do a lot of stuff that you don't actually need that takes up space on your hardware and ultimately makes your life more complex there are two linux families that came out in the early 2000s that are focused on simplicity performance and minimalism gen 2 with its enoch distro came out in 2000 and arch came out in 2002. if you'd like to keep things simple then you'll probably like the arch family of linux distros it has its own package manager called pacman
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and has adopted a rolling release model unlike ubuntu that has a new major release every 6 months arch releases small updates that can be continuously updated in the os arch is also the parent of manjaro which is one of the most popular distros of today in addition to all these families that we've looked at there are many popular independent distros like the extremely lightweight alpine fire os for amazon devices and android which is used by billions of people every day when you think of the linux kernel like the engine in your car it starts to answer the question of why are there so many linux distros
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some cars are designed to go fast others for comfort some are engineered for enterprise and others are just for fun as a developer linux is like a free engine that you can use to build your own car that freedom along with gnu and the greater open source ecosystem motivates people to try new things and to profit by creating innovation within that ecosystem people who are threatened by it call it communism but in reality it's the polar opposite and the free market at its finest today even microsoft fully supports linux through its wsl project i'm gonna go ahead and wrap things up there there's a lot of aspects of the
07:48
linux history and the histories of individual distros that we didn't cover but hopefully this gives you a general idea of how linux came into existence and the evolution of linux distros over time oh and there's one random thing i almost forgot back in 2005 the source code for linux was managed under a version control system called bitkeeper that was controversial though because it's proprietary software so linus torvalds did what any legend would do and he created get before you go make sure to like and subscribe and stay tuned for a lot more linux content on this channel thanks for watching and i will see you
08:20
in the next one

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