Linux is not owned by any individual or company, not even Linus Torvalds who started Linux. However, Torvalds is heavily involved in the main kernel development process and owns the trademark, Linux.
The Linux open source code:
• Is available and accessible to everyone
• Can be customised according to an individual's requirements and the platforms used
• Can be freely redistributed in its current or a modified form
Initially, Linux was seen as (and indeed used by) a very technical, hard core open source programming tool. Thousands of developers contributed to its success as it evolved to become more user friendly commercial and non-commercial distribution versions designed for everyday application use.
In 1998, Jon "maddog" Hall, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens et al formally launched the Open Source Movement. They promoted open source software exclusively on the basis of technical excellence.
The open source movement and the dot.com boom of the late 1990s coincided, resulting in the popularity of Linux and the evolution of many open source friendly companies such as Corel (Corel Linux), Sun Microsystems (OpenOffice.org) and IBM (OpenAFS). In the early 21st century when the dot.com crash was at its peak, open source was in a prime position as a viable alternative to expensive proprietary software. Its momentum has strengthened since with the availability of many easy to use applications.
As such, what started off as an idea became a passion to revolutionise a patent and license intense industry. With a significantly cheaper return on investment and enhanced usability features, Linux is now rooted as viable option for enterprises and home users.
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