On January 16th 2016, The Linux Foundation has announced The Extended Learning Linux Foundation Scholarship Program – an educational program aimed to help people from unprivileged backgrounds in acquiring the skills they need to start their careers in information technology. The Foundation hopes to expand the program throughout the world in a couple of years, but it will initially start in Austin, Texas, trough partnership with the Goodwill Center.

Under the scholarship program, the Linux Foundation will provide eligible students’ access to the organization’s Intro to Linux and Essentials of System Administration classes, as well as allow students to take the Certified System Administrator exam, all free – just like the system itself.

So let’s learn something more about this underdog among OS.

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Linux: Then & Now

In its 25-year lifespan, Linux has gone from a hobby operating system that ran only on Intel-based computers, to a system powering everything from the smallest embedded devices to the world’s largest supercomputers. While Linux has failed to make a bigger dent on the desktop devices like Apple and Microsoft – it has made remarkable progress, serving as the number one operating platform for IT professionals. In fact, while reading the text on this site, you are using Linux indirectly. The rapid explosion of Web sites and Web businesses were made available by Linux, and not because it was technically superior to other operating systems, but because it was completely free and open for modifications.

Since releasing Linux from his college dorm room in 1991, Linus Torvalds has been arguably the most influential individual economic force in the past quarter-century. While he did not invent open-source software, he unleashed the full power of the idea through Linux. He has proven that open-source could be quicker to build, better and even more popular than proprietary products. In 1993, Red Hat, a company based around its own Linux distribution was founded.

The idea of using Linux as a free operative system, which allows users to run their businesses through the OSS, turned out to be a lucrative venture after all. Every system and every company depends heavily on Linux systems.

Linux in Use

The OSS has always been a popular with many large international companies. According to this respectful digital agency from Sydney, small businesses can profit from this free platform as well. In the competitive world of online trading, some of the most powerful business software is available only on Linux, which made this OSS a valuable asset of the b2b ecommerce industry. Not just because of the software solutions and economical pricing strategy of Linux, but because of the system’s reliability and the professional service it provides.

Over the years, it has raised the profile of open-source companies – when it went public in 1999, the company had one of the largest first-day gains in Wall Street History. Red Hat opened the door for companies such as MySQL, which has become the open-source database solution of choice over the years. As of 2009, there were over 11 million installations of MySQL – the software has been used by a large number of successful companies and websites, such as Facebook and Wikipedia.

Linux has played a major role in a transformation of information technology that has taken us to the edge of a new era. Perhaps the biggest impact Linux has had on the IT industry is the way it encouraged so much innovation through building strong, open ecosystems. Linux and the ever-growing open-source community are demonstrating the value of the collaborative business model, because a single company cannot spark the magnitude of innovation needed to keep pace with the rapid changes in the digital era.

The partnership of Linux and IBM and the introduction of LinuxOne portfolio proves that the marriage of business-innovation with technology-innovation results in unparalleled freedom and superior performance of companies and individuals around the world.