After years of pushing toward total domination, Linux finally did it. It is running on all 500 of the TOP500 supercomputers in the world, and who knows how many more after that. That’s even more impressive than Intel’s domination of the list, with 92 percent of the processors in the top 500.
So, how did Linux get here? How did this upstart operating system created by a college student from Finland 26 years ago steamroll Unix, a creation of Bell Labs and supported by giants like IBM and Sun Microsystems and HP, Microsoft’s Windows, and other Unix derivatives?
It was a confluence of things, all of which aligned perfectly for Linux. For starters, the Unixes were fragmented and tied to vendor processors. You had AT&T, through its Bell Labs arm, licensing Unix System V to vendors who then made their own specific flavor. Sun Microsystems made Solaris, IBM made AIX, HP had HP-UX and SGI had IRIX. None of them was compatible, and at best, porting required a recompile if you were lucky.
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