Linked by David Adams on Wed 29th Oct 2008 21:04 UTC, submitted by irbis
Linux Would the internet as we know it exist without Linux? "Absolutely not", says Rich Menga. "Where Linux shines the most is in its server applications". In the 1990's "There were thousands of Mom n' Pop ISPs that operated out of a garage and the vast majority of them were all running Linux. Windows couldn't do it back then and neither could MacOS. What would you have used that you could afford? Netware? Lotus Domino? HP-UX (that requires those refrigerator-sized HP servers)? Linux was literally the only OS out there that had the right price (free), ran similar to a Unix and could use existing computers of the time to connect customers. The internet as we know it today predominantly runs on Linux. There's an extremely high probability that the internet connection you're using right now is connected through a Linux server - and routed through many other Linux servers along the way."
Thread beginning with comment 335486
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Yes it would
by DevL on Wed 29th Oct 2008 21:08 UTC
DevL
Member since:
2005-07-06

Would the Internet exist without Linux? Yes, very likely.

Would the Internet as we know it exist without Linux? No, not very likely.


In all honesty, had it not been Linux, it'd be *BSD filling up the cheap, garage server rooms the article mention.

Edited 2008-10-29 21:10 UTC

Reply Score: 27

RE: Yes it would
by niemau on Wed 29th Oct 2008 21:21 in reply to "Yes it would"
niemau Member since:
2007-06-28

In all honesty, had it not been Linux, it'd be *BSD filling up the cheap, garage server rooms the article mention.


agreed.

to take the what-ifs a step further, it's just as easy to say, would linux be the linux we know and love were it not for the internet? obviously not.

Reply Parent Score: 11

RE: Yes it would
by davidl on Wed 29th Oct 2008 21:23 in reply to "Yes it would"
davidl Member since:
2006-01-04

I think the Internet as we know it would certainly exist. The post-lawsuit BSD variants would have met the need quite nicely. We might not have the comical explosion of distributions that Linux has, but the technological basis and the freedom to develop for the BSD platform would have allowed the thundering hordes contributing to Linux a medium every bit (no pun intended) as accessible.

Reply Parent Score: 3

v RE[2]: Yes it would
by lemur2 on Thu 30th Oct 2008 00:24 in reply to "RE: Yes it would"
RE: Yes it would
by swansonc on Thu 30th Oct 2008 03:13 in reply to "Yes it would"
swansonc Member since:
2008-10-30

In all honesty, they were BSD. BSD was a primary server os in the 90's, as was Linux. It still is, in some applications.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Yes it would
by irbis on Thu 30th Oct 2008 09:56 in reply to "Yes it would"
irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

In all honesty, had it not been Linux, it'd be *BSD filling up the cheap, garage server rooms the article mention.

We all know that technically BSD would have been more than ready for that takeover of the garage server rooms, and more than that too. When Linux was still young and primitive, BSD was already a well working, stable OS that had a long Unix heritage behind it.

Free versions of BSD had some legal obstacles to overcome in the early nineties but even after those clouds went away, BSD was technically much more advanced than the early Linux still.

The interesting question is therefore: Why didn't BSD become the most popular free Unix-like OS? Why has Linux been more popular both as a desktop OS and as a server OS, and seems to be supported more by IT companies too?

The article claims that "yes it's true there were BSDs in '94 - but it wasn't exactly easy to get a hold of" - but I'm not sure if that is true either?

BSDs are by no means small niche operating systems only, and they have been and will be widely used in many places, but there's no denying that Linux has become much more popular, both on desktops and in server rooms, and even as an embedded OS of mobile phones, for example. Why Linux and not BSD?

Edited 2008-10-30 10:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Yes it would
by segedunum on Thu 30th Oct 2008 10:31 in reply to "Yes it would"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

In all honesty, had it not been Linux, it'd be *BSD filling up the cheap, garage server rooms the article mention.

Well, no, and this is a fallacy that people keep telling to themselves. The problem with BSD was that people took the code and the network stacks, bunged it into a proprietary box and the code was never seen of again. It's very difficult to improve and get ahead when people are doing that because you're not sustaining your project off the back of that success. It's why I have a good chuckle at people who try to claim that OS X is some sort of success for BSD.

The difference with Linux is that lots of companies collaborate on a level playing field, knowing full well that if they contribute something then even their competitors have no choice but to contribute back if they want something done. That doesn't happen in a BSD licensed world. All you would get with lots of interested parties involved is a core nucleus of a kernel with no open source drivers, lots of competing binary-only implementations for the same things and lots of overlap between binary-only modules that would destroy the integrity of the kernel. Either that, or you just have no critical mass of companies or interested parties involved at all, as is the case with the BSDs.

You would be very surprised how one thing and decision begets and leads on to another in this type of situation.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Yes it would
by renox on Fri 31st Oct 2008 22:41 in reply to "RE: Yes it would"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

[sarcasm]Of course so BSD-like licensed software are bound to fail: Apache, PostgreSQL, *BSD OS (which are working fine thanks) don't exist in your world?[/sarcasm]

Frankly it's impossible to know what made Linux a stronger performer than *BSD: the license?, the timing (BSD were first)? the lawsuit? Linus's qualities?

A mix of all this probably, and Hurd's failure show that it's a real possibility that GPL OS could have failed if Linus didn't start his own kernel..
As *BSD OS are still here (despite their license in your view) they could definitedly have done the job as Internet servers (one of the strong point of the *BSD actually).

Reply Parent Score: 2