Linux and growth of Internet

From: Gavin Thomas Nicol <>
Date: Thu Jan 13 15:47:04 2005

On Jan 13, 2005, at 2:20 PM, Vintage Computer Festival wrote:
> But was not Linux another major driving influence behind FOSS? Would
> even have that fancy acronym today were it not for Linux? Stallman and
> friends weren't really making much headway until Linux came about.
> Perhaps this has to do with Torvalds being a much better spokesman for
> the concept of FOSS?

Absolutely not. Linux was, more than anything, more or less just good
timing. A lot of people were on the Internet/Usenet, interested in
hacking on OS's. I don't know about anyone else, but I hacked 386bsd,
Linux, MINIX, VSTa, A concurrent MSDOS clone, etc. etc. When Linux came
along... it really couldn't do anything useful, but it was a learning
experience for a lot of people, and *fun* (and of course, 386bsd went
AWOL). The FSF was pretty big at the time... gcc etc. were widely used,
and a lot of younger guys, Linus included, were attracted to open
source because it provided a great learning channel.

> Again, TCP/IP only came to Windows and the Mac because it became
> necessary
> to offer this due to the rising popularity of Internet access.

I don't think so... this was really because corporate standardisation
of TCP/IP put pressure on MS/Apple. The Internet wasn't the purpose,
corporate infrastructure was. For example, at NEC, most people didn't
even know about the Internet... all you could ever do was email (thank
goodness for the DEC ftp->mail gateway!)... but TCP/IP enable corporate
data sharing etc.

> but I am
> convinced that the whole movement that developed from the seed of Linux
> propelled adoption of the Internet that before was primarily a tool of
> universities and research institutes and some large corporations.

 From what I've seen, Linux had little to do with it... OSS was going to
take off one way or another.
Received on Thu Jan 13 2005 - 15:47:04 GMT

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