The Internet Archive exists thanks to Ubuntu and the Linux communities

The Internet Archive is unquestionably one of the most useful sites on the web. The Wayback Machine makes it possible to find snapshots of most websites at any given point in their history, and the archive itself is also home to a wealth of books, magazines, games, software, movies and more.

You probably don’t give too much thought (or any thought for that matter) to the day-to-day running of the archive, but it relies on a long-term support server distribution of Ubuntu Linux and everything on its servers (with the possible exception of the JP2 compression library) is free and open-source software.

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The Internet Archive began life in 1996 on technology donated by Sun and Oracle, and using tape robots. In 1999 the switch was made to a cluster of PC’s running varying Linux distros, and in 2004 the team made the choice to move permanently to Ubuntu server. The first server version was Warty Warthog and the archive is currently in the process of moving over to Focal Fossa (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS), which was released last April and will be supported until 2025.

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Describing the reliance on free and open software as "the smartest technology move the Internet Archive ever made", founder Brewster Kahle has expressed his gratitude to the people who work on Ubuntu, stating:

For a decade now, we have been upgrading our operating system on the cluster to the long-term support server Linux distribution of Ubuntu. Thank you, thank you. And we have never paid anything for it, but we submit code patches as the need arises.

Does anyone know the number of contributors to all the Linux projects that make up the Ubuntu distribution? How many tens or hundreds of thousands? Staggering.

Ubuntu has ensured that every six months a better release comes out, and every two years a long-term release comes out. Like clockwork. Kudos. I am sure it is not easy, but it is inspiring, valuable and important to the world.

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