A brief history lesson from an old fart | Linux

I’m old and have been using since 1993. Heck, I’ve been on Reddit for 12 years, which is hard to believe some days. Since an interesting post was removed by the mods while I researched and composed this comment, I figured I’d just post it here.

Here are some fun facts that you may not know.

In 1993, Microsoft released Windows NT and Slackware came out. Slackware remained my preferred distro until I switched to Debian after the great libc5/glibc wars in 1998.

David N. Cutler, who had been designing operating systems for Digital Equipment Corporation, brought his team over to Microsoft in 1988 and designed what would become Windows NT. The VMS->WNT (one letter up) may be a coincidence, but it’s still funny.

That initial version of Windows NT Server ran on multiple hardware platforms and eventually supported Intel x86 and Itanium, DEC Alpha, ARC MIPS, IBM PowerPC, and Sun Sparc. It was promoted at the time as a universal operating system that would unify the market providing a single software development platform for everyone. They even helped create industry certifications to leapfrog the slow adoption of new technologies in universities with the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in 1993. Personal fun fact: I was one of the first 3000 people to be certified on Windows NT 3.51.

At the same time, my Slackware version ran only on x86. It took until 1995 for Linux to gain support for DEC Alpha and SUN Sparc architectures. During that time I watched Microsoft squander their technology lead with petty games and faltering missteps.

Linux now runs on a vast array of hardware architectures, from supercomputers to watches. In June 1998, the first computer running Linux appeared on the list of the top 500 fastest computers in the world. Since November 2017, all 500 computers on the top list run some version of Linux.

I had an IT manager ask me in 1998 how could I believe Linux could ever compete with Microsoft. I boldly predicted Linux had already won. Like a tree after that final chop, we were all just waiting for gravity to take its inevitable toll. I was personally waiting for the perennial gale of creative destruction to clear the whole the field. I think we bet $20 at the time on the result. Considering it’s been twenty years, I should probably give him a call and see if he wants to pay up or double down.

submitted by /u/DaGoodBoy
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