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Linux author Linus Torvalds
The 1990s brought us Friends and Seinfeld, but it also brought some unique software innovations. Take a look at some of the trailblazers of the decade.
In this photo we see Linux author Linus Torvalds. Linux is an open source OS developed by Torvalds and released in 1991. As predicted by all of the hype in the 1990s, Linux has evolved into one of the most popular operating systems in the world. Today, it powers many of the servers that run the internet, is the underlying platform behind Android, and powers countless other devices.
Jeff Hawkins of Palm
Hawkins oversaw the development of the Palm OS for his Palm line of PDAs. Palm laid the foundation for many of the key developments in software that would later power the smartphone and tablet era.
Marc Andreesen, founder of Netscape
Netscape was one of the most popular web browsers of its time of the early world wide web and was one of the key factors in its mass adoption. After eventually losing usage share to Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape was acquired by AOL in 1999.
Marc Canter, founder of Macromedia
Macromedia got its start as MacroMind, creating software for Apple in the 1980s. After a few mergers, the company became Macromedia in the early 1990s, selling competitive products to those made by Adobe. Flash and Dreamweaver were two of its flagship products before Macromedia was bought by Adobe in 2005.
VMWare founders Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum
Greene and Rosenblum founded VMWare alongside Scott Devine, Edward Wang and Edouard Bugnion. VMWare got its start in 1998 and has developed into one of the premier providers of virtualization software that powers many of the world’s data centers and has been a key enabler of cloud computing.
MySQL founders David Axmark and Monty Widenius
MySQL AB was founded in 1995 and is responsible for the creation of the open source MySQL relational database, which continues to power many of the websites on the web. The majority of MySQL AB employees worked from home, and the company was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008.
Bob Young, former CEO of Red Hat
Red Hat came about when Young bought Marc Ewing’s Red Hat Linux business and merged it with his ACC Corporation to become Red Hat Software. The company went public in 1999 and is considered one of the most successful and profitable Linux products, and especially popular with the enterprise. Young is now CEO of Lulu.
Real CEO Rob Glaser
Rob Glaser founded RealNetworks in 1994. The company got its start creating software multimedia players like RealAudio, RealVideo, and the RealPlayer, but eventually pivoted to become an internet streaming service.
Canto Software's Thomas Schleu
Canto is a German company that was founded in 1990. Canto first released the Canto Cirrus scanner software for Apple, but they are known for their Canto Cumulus digital asset management system. They continue to work with Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe.
Marc Benioff, one of Salesforce's founders
Benioff and Parker Harris started salesforce.com in 1999 in San Francisco. The company is widely regarded as one of the first successful Software as a Service offerings and helped pave the wave for the cloud era in software.