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Rise of Linux – a hacker’s history

The original code of Linux was written for fun, or in Eric Raymond’s phrase, to ‘scratch the itch’ of Linus Torvalds, and later to satisfy the enthusiasm and programming itch of an assortment of hackers and hobbyists who, for the most part, had grown up in the age of the ZX80 and the BBC Micro, Acorns and Apricots, for which the code was often available – and hackable. For those who spent their childhood or adolescence delving into the home computers of the late Seventies and early Eighties, playing with software was a learning experience, and something to be shared. Linux could be said to have grown out of this ethos as much as it grew out of the free software movement, or the early Nineties culture of Usenet where “if you wrote something neat you posted it to Usenet” and the only proviso that came with the software was that “if the software breaks you get to keep both pieces.” Read more

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