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Linux: A Platform for the Cloud

Mar 18, 2010, 00:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon "maddog" Hall)

"The goal of this article is to review the history and architecture of Linux as well as its present day developments to understand how Linux has become today's leading platform for cloud computing. We will start with a little history on Unix system development and then move to the Linux system itself.

"Starting Small!

"The story of Linux as a platform for cloud computing starts in 1969 with the creation of the Unix2 Operating System at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Unix was first developed on mini-computers, which had very small memory address spaces by today's standards. The PDP-11 (one of the main systems used for the early development of Unix) had an address space of 64 thousand bytes of memory for instructions, and (on some models) 64 thousand extra bytes for data. Therefore the kernel of the operating system had to be very small and lean.

"Moving from its original architecture of the PDP-7, onto the PDP-11 (and later onto other architectures), the kernel also divided into architectural independent and architectural dependent parts, with most of the kernel migrating from machine language into the “C” language. The advantage of this architectural move was two-fold: to isolate the parts of the kernel that might be affected by vulgarities in the hardware architecture and to remove as much as possible the tediousness of writing in non-portable machine-language code, which typically led to a more stable operating system."

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