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Interesting Facts About Linux That You Should Know

The world has received a blessing in the year 1991, which has brought revolutionary change. It is something like the invention of electricity or the computer which brought change in every sector. Yes, It is Linux, which was just a hobby that has become the ruler of the tech world. Many persons sometimes neglected but it is now at the vertex of the tech world. However, the birth and journey of Linux have many thought-provoking and amazing facts.

Interesting Facts About Linux

In this article, I will highlight a list of interesting facts about Linux. These include the benign of the Linux and incidents which took place at different stages of its journey. I hope this will make a newcomer of Linux a knowledgeable one. At the same time, I think these facts will act as an inspiration to many people as it shows the rise of Linux.

1. Firstly, It is not OS

There are many, especially those who are newly orientated with Linux, think that it is an operating system. But, the fact is, it is not an operating system; instead, it is a kernel. A kernel is the central part of an operating system. The name of the OS is GNU Linux OS, which has many other derivatives like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Kali Linux, and much more.

2. Linux without a Name

Linux is the brainchild of Linus Torvalds. He invented such a thing that brought a revolution in the world. His creation is now dominating the world. It is a common understanding that when someone creates something, then he gives it a name. Linus also did the same but unfortunately did not become successful while naming it.

Linus fused two words ‘Freak’ and ‘Free’ and took a letter ‘X’ from Unix to highlight the Unix OS. So he wanted to name the kernel as ‘Freax.’ With this name, he uploaded his initial codes in the FTP server. Ari Lemmke did not take then name and suggested a new name as he was the administrator of the server. So he allowed Torvalds to upload with a different name. From then it became ‘Linux.’

3. Torvalds Created Linux Locking Himself In a Room

Linus Torvalds went on a self-exile in his bedroom for fulfilling his hobby. His exile period took a few weeks of the year 1991 when he could come out with few lines of codes. His 10,250 lines of codes became a new category of the central part of an OS and now dominating the world.

4. “A Penguin Bite” Influenced Torvalds to Choose the Mascot

In the year 1996, the founder announced that there would be a mascot for his creation. He made the Tux as the mascot, which is a penguin. There is a story about the penguin that Torvalds once got a bite by an angry penguin, which caused disease. Some also say that one baby penguin chewed him. However, the name Tux was a proposal by James Hughes. 

5. Linus Writes No More

Torvalds has written the initial codes of Linux, but you won’t find him writing codes in the present days. He is inactive in writing codes but checking the codes of others and infusing those. You can consider him as the monitor and manager of the developers who write codes for his creation.

When Torvalds introduced the first kernel, it had only 10,250 lines of codes. These codes were increased day by day and have reached an enormous level. The present amount of line of codes of Linux is composed of more than 20 Million. Though there are very few codes written by Torvalds which are still there among this 20M.

6. Linux Dominates Everything Everywhere

Linux has taken everything under its control. The smartphones you use are now using the creation of Linus Torvalds. Linux is not only limited to writhing smartphones; it is now the main thing used by servers. Submarines are dependent on it. Even it has traveled up to space. Space rockets are using Linux. The Raspberry Pi computer is also powered by it.

Many countries’ governments around the world use Linux for their official peruses. Many powerful countries are also included in this list. USA, China, Turkey, Russia, Austria, Venezuela, etc. countries are well known for using Linux by their governments. Some of the countries are using Linux based distro in their police desktops and in the EVM system.

7. Linux Development by Leading Companies

The hobby of Linus Torvalds is now dominating the world. All understood the level of the blessing of Linux, and thus most companies with top positions became the contributor who started paying the developer for Linux. According to a study, 80% of these contributors get paid by companies like Huawei, Facebook, Intel, Samsung, IBM, TI, Google, etc.

8. Linux Rules Hollywood Too

The movie film industries are now well dependent on Linux as they are taking it’s help to create different visual effects of 3D movies and 2D movies. Hollywood is greatly using different graphical and visual effect tools which are based on Linux. Out of many movies, two movies produced by James Cameron named Avatar and Titanic are noteworthy. Both of these movies have used Linux based tools for their graphical and visual effects.

9. The Military is a Big User of Linux

Many military organizations around the world are using Linux for official, admin, research, and operational purposes. The dominator “US” uses Linux in its Department of Defence. Many submarines including modern nuclear submarines, UAVs, missile systems, etc are controlled and developed under Linux based system. If an example is necessary to know who uses Linux on it’s military, then we must cite the name of US military. However, Russia, China, UK, and other military giants are not out of this example.

10. Acting as Oxygen for Many Tech Giants

linux companiesAs I mentioned earlier that most of the contributors behind the development of the kernel are all top graded companies. Why so? Because they use this for their own business. As a result, Linux is a top priority in many tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

11. Usages in CERN Accelerator

Probably we all heard about the giant particle accelerator located at CERN. The massiveness is enormous, and it is one of the most expensive and sophisticated machines ever built. The particle accelerator of CERN is run and controlled by Linux.

12. Traveled to Space

linux in space

Space traveling runs with very sophisticated and precise equipment. The technologies’ handling is very carefully done. Most of the space agencies around the world have chosen Linux to operate their system. Most popular agencies like NASA, ESA, and private companies like SpaceX use Linux. It has helped a large number of space missions with Falcon 9 rockets. The special fault-tolerant design of the Merlin rocket engine of SpaceX is also done with Linux.

13. Linux is in Trains and Automobiles

We know that Japan is famous for its bullet trains. Bullet trains are too fast and have a very sophisticated and critical system to run the whole railway system. Japan has adopted Linux to face this challenge. Even the automobile company named Toyota is using Automotive Grade Linux ( AGL). 

14. Asteroid Bears the Name of Linus

The success of Linus Torvalds was honored in many ways. He has received many awards and won many prizes. But one of the most significant achievements or honor achieved by him is that in 1996, one of the asteroids was named after Linus Torvalds, and the name became Asteroid 9793 Torvalds. 

15. Most of the Supercomputers are Linux Based

linux based supercomputersLinux is ruling the supercomputer world. China is in the lead to have supercomputers, then comes the USA, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and so on. Some of the supercomputers are run by Ubuntu, some by Redhat, and so on. But, after the summation, we find that all the supercomputers are running with Linux as all of them are just different Distros based on this kernel.

16. Linux was not Open Sourced Initially

We all know that Linux is famous for having no restrictions on redistribution or commercial usages. But, this was not an open source before. The version was released in 1992 and later got the freedom to be used by everyone as an open source. From then, the scope of invention started, and people began to show their brilliance of creation.  

17. Publication of Linux Books

Just two years after the deceleration of Linux as a kernel, people started writing books on it as it got the quick attention of people. This fascinated creation inspired Matt Welsh in 1993 to write a book, and he published a book about the operational orientation and installation of the kernel.

first book on linux

18. Hundreds of Linux Distros, That’s Huge!

linux distroThere are hundreds of Linux distros available in the market. Though all the distros are not actively developed but still there are lots of variations to fulfill various purposes. At this moment, Ubuntu Linux, Linux Mint, Debian, MX Linux, Manjaro, Deepin, Fedora, etc. are noteworthy. You can have a look at all of these Linux distros in DistroWatch.

19. Ubuntu – Best Desktop OS, Based on Linux

Ubuntu - Best Desktop OS, Based on LinuxOut of many, Ubuntu, which is a Linux based operating system, is the most used and popular one from the Linux family. It has reached up to 20M people around the world. And this number is gradually increasing at a high rate. Besides Ubuntu, There are some other distros that have gained immense popularity like Elementary OS, Linux Mint and interesting fact is that all of them are based on Ubuntu Linux.

20. ‘The Linux Foundation’ is a Non-profit Organization

‘The Linux Foundation’ is a Non-profit OrganizationIn the year 2000, the Linux Foundation started its journey. It was formed to create an ecosystem that maintains the standard of the source codes. It also promotes the kernel for commercial adoption that ultimately helps its spreading across the platform. This dedicated organization is a non-profit organization.

21. Most of the Public Cloud Eco-System is Powered by Linux

According to many, I should say, according to all, 90% of public clouds eco-system is run using this kernel. It has happened due to the high reliability and availability given by the kernel and its outstanding workload handling capability.

22. All Kernel Versions Get a Code Name

Each time a kernel is released, it receives a code name. These names are interesting. Affluent Albatross, Sliding Snow Leopard, Stable Penguin, Wet Seal, Suicidal Squirrel, TOSSUG Baby Fish, etc. are some examples of the code names of different versions of kernels released at different times.

23. Android is Based on Modified Linux Kernel

Android is one of the most popular Operating Systems to date. 80% of the cell phone users are running Android on their devices. Android has also augmented some other devices like tablets, vehicle music, and video players, etc. This android is however based on a modified version of Linux kernel. You may even have a look on your mobile device to check the version of the kernel that your mobile uses.

24. Around 13 Percent of Code Lines are Blank

By now, we came to know about the complete lines present in the kernel source code. We also know that the number of codes’ lines has increased with the change of versions. However, a noticeable percentage of the lines are blank. It is intentionally done to make a clean and arranged code.

25. 95% is in C Language

The C programming language is mostly used to write the code of Linux, which is supported by GCC. However, there are some assembly languages, too, which are for doing the bootup process. The rest 5% has too many different languages. There are even C#, F#, IronPython, etc. However, these are used in specific places for specific purposes.

26. Windows Once Tried to Diminish, Now Fuels the Development

At the tail end of the last century and beginning of this century, the popular and tech giant Windows was against Linux and tried a lot to diminish Linux. Very, fortunately, Windows is now using its own money for the development of the kernel. Windows has reason to contribute as they are now using the kernel for their server.

27. Takes Only 8 Weeks for a New Release

The dominating kernel is super fast in its update process. You can expect the release of a new version after eight weeks from any release. So, new things are happening with the kernel within a short time. Now people do not have to wait for a long time for any problem issue. Ubuntu, one of the most popular distros of Linux, has a stringent rule of releasing a new version within six months.

The open source Linux kernel is a very favorite kernel by all. People get too interested in it; they also get interested in improving it. As a result, It has a very dedicated and strong development community around the world who are always bringing cutting edge changes and develop the kernel. This helps the kernel to maintain its leading position.

28. Steve Jobs vs. Linus Torvalds

The founder of Apple, once in 2000, wanted to make Linus one of the employees of his company by offering him a job. Steve Jobs had a better plan to use Linus in apple to make it a better one. However, Linus fortunately denied, and that decision made him a competitor of Steve Jobs. 

29. Linux Kernel – First Version

The declaration of the first kernel by Linus was in 1991, which was around 1200 lines of codes. However, the first version took more than three years to be available to everyone. The Linux 1.0 was released in March 1994. I had 17.6K lines of code. The next release took more than two years. 

30. MINIX was the Primary Workshop For Linux

Linus had to use an OS to build his creation. So he had to use MINIX as the OS, which acted as the first workshop for Linux. In that time, he used ext, which is a common and known file system for us. Initially, he tried with the same system which MINIX had. However, that did not help him.

31. The First Available Distro: MCC Interim Linux

In February 1992, after one year of deceleration of Linux as a kernel by Linus Torvalds, the first distro was announced and opened for all. This command-line based distro was open for download to the public. With this, the journey of distro started.

32. Slackware Still Lives

Patric Volkerding was the man who has created the first Distro named Slackware in the year of 1993. It is said that this first distro was released for the computer users who were not experts on Unix. Slackware is the base of many other distros like SUSE.

33. Took Six Years to Get the Trademark

The trademark was not easy to get, and Torvalds had to take huge pain to make Linux a trademark. William R. Della was the man who initiated the fight to get the trademark on 15 Aug 1994. However, it came into reality after more than three years. This has taken Linux into a new level.

34. Linux Washes Clothes!

No, washing machines are not using Linux kernel to wash clothes. In Switzerland, there is a company of washing powder named the same as the kernel created by Linus. This is a famous washing powder brand that produces not only washing powder but also liquid detergent, laundry care, washing-up liquid, dishwasher, etc.

35. First Billionaire Open Source Company offers Linux Products

Linux has given birth to many distributions. Among them, Red Hat is very popular and widely used, and Red Hat uses the Linux kernel to make its distribution like RHEL, Fedora Linux, Scientific Linux, etc. This company is the first company that has become a billionaire among open source companies.

36. Linux is a Cancer! Said Former Microsoft CEO

Linux was once termed as ‘cancer’ by the former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. However, this man no longer thinks his comment is valid till now. Instead, he expressed that he loves Linux. The most exciting thing is that Microsoft has its distribution using the Linux kernel.

37. After Steve Jobs, Linus Refused NSA

Linus once refused to do a job that was offered by the founder of apple. We know that was one of his best decisions. That was not the only time he refused someone’s request. He has also rejected the job offer of the NSA of America. He was told to create a backdoor in his kernel, which he declined. 

38. Linus Gets $10 Million from the Foundation

The founder of Linux, Linus Torvalds, is honored with $10 million in a year, which is provided by the Linux Foundation so that he continues his contribution to his creation. The amount may look big or small, that does not matter; the position he got in the heart of people is incomparable. That place is worth more than $10 Million.

39. Success did not Stop Linus from the Pursuit of Learning

Sometimes people get sudden success like Linus, who created such a thing that took him to the vertex. There are other successful people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who also got success. These two legends stopped their college so that they can pursue their careers without any other interference. However, Linus’ success did not stop him from learning, and thus, he did not leave college even after getting huge success. He tried his best and earned a master’s in Computer Science.

40. Most Active Open Source Project

The acceptance level of Linux is too high, which receives nearly 200 patches in a single day. This made Linux the most active open source project in the world. Again, it has got a vast development body, which keeps it always busy, unlike other open source projects.

41. Big Contribution to the World Banking

Many renowned banks around the world have shifted to the Linux system. Some of them are on the way to do so. And all the banks will change to the system soon. This has happened as Linux provides a more stable and secure environment to the users. And security is a paramount issue for the banks.

42. The Stock Exchange of New York Runs on Linux

The New York Stock Exchange is a significant trading organization which is trading in the USA and five other countries of Europe. The trade of this large stock exchange organization is operated by one of the Linux based OS named Red Hat. Earlier, they had been using some other OS, and in the year 2007, they shifted to the present one.

43. Most of Server uses Linux

There are around millions of servers around the world that are using a different kernel-based OS. However, a significant portion is using Linux. This major portion is also huge, nearly 96.3% of servers are using Linux, Windows-based servers are only 1.9%, and 1.8% are FreeBSD.

44. Magic Numbers in Linux Code

Some of the important things are kept within the kernel as code form, which represents some information about Linus. The arguments which are required for the reboot system need some numbers called ‘Magic Numbers.’ Like 672274793, which becomes  0x28121969 after hex conversion. So it comes on 28th December 1969, which is the birthday of Linus. In the say way, more magic numbers show some dates after the conversion. His daughter’s birthday is also found in another name.

45. Linux is Obsolete

No, it is not obsolete. But, once, a writer of a famous book on networking and OS has commented that the kernel was outdated. The name of this gentleman is Andrew Stuart Tanenbaum, who was a scientist and professor of computer science. However, he is the author of MINIX, which was used initially by Linus.

Wrapping Up Fact

The birth, journey, and rise of Linux has many exciting and inspiring facts. Linux and its founder Linus Torvalds are kind of motivation to the tech people. This has started very commonly, but slowly it has conquered the tech world and now ruling over everyone.

I have tried to highlight exciting and essential facts. I am sure there are more interesting facts as the kernel has a long glorious past. It is not possible to know everything for a person, and so is with me. Thereby, if you have more exciting facts, please share it with us in the comment section.

Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan is a passionate enthusiast for technology. He admires all things tech and loves to help others understand the fundamentals of Linux, servers, networking, and computer security in an understandable way without overwhelming beginners. His articles are carefully crafted with this goal in mind - making complex topics more accessible.



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