Linux is Evolution

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In my past life (ok, about 34 years ago) I was a Systems Programmer. I worked for what was the world's largest independent software company, Computer Sciences Corporation. In 1972 I moved to Richland, Washington to do systems programming work for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation where CSC had the contract to run the computer center.

This was back in the time of card punches and multi-million dollar mainframe computers. One of my responsibilities was to upgrade and maintain what was called the "premium billed library". This was a set of programs running on a Univac 1108 mainframe where the users were charged a royalty to pay for the cost of the software.

Possibly the most important program in that library for Hanford was NASTRAN, a structural analysis program. It is important for building bridges and airplanes but more important when building nuclear reactors.

My point is that computers are young. Jumping over to the Linux track, we can only see a bit less than 15 years of history. But, the design of Linux is based on the ideas of UNIX which is a couple of years older than my NASTRAN experience. UNIX was designed to run on minimal hardware (meaning only costing tens of thousands of dollars up into hundreds of thousands). The standard input/output device was a teletypewriter that worked at 10 characters per second.

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