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What is Linux?

Linux is a completely free operating system that mimics the Unix operating system and has similar features and functions. It is becoming increasingly popular for both home and office use, due to its stability and security.
Linux was started as a learning project by a computer science student, at the Univeristy of Helsinki, Finland, named Linus Torvalds (hence the name Linux). There were two reasons why Linus created Linux. First, he wanted to learn more about the microprocessor he was studying at the time -- and what better way to learn than by creating an operating system to talk to it? Morever, the second reason was that a failing version of Unix, Minix, didn't have the functionality nor features that Linus wanted. To purchase it would cost way too much for a starving student, so he started linux! So, Linus wanted to bring Unix to the desktop.
He began the Linux experiment nearly a decade ago and has since graduated, but Linus Torvalds is still in charge of the Linux core today, though many companies now exist to help promote and distribute the Linux operating system (including this one!).
Millions of people worldwide use Linux daily, and many of them help Linus to maintain Linux, release new versions, and keep it all working well (Many people actually code different parts of the OS themselves and send it in for review, if it passes approval then it is entered into the next kernel revision.).
Linux, is only the 'kernel' of the operating system, the part that controls hardware, manages files, separates processes, and so forth. There are several combinations of Linux with sets of utilities and applications to form a complete operating system. Each of these combinations is called a distribution of Linux (e.g. Redhat, Debian, Mandrake, Slackware, SUSE, Caldera, etc.).
Linux is not public domain, nor is it 'shareware'. It is 'free' software, commonly called freeware or Open Source Software[tm] (see, and you may give away or sell copies, but you must include the source code or make it available in the same way as any binaries you give or sell.
There are ports for various hardware configurations, like PowerPC, Apple Macintosh, Alpha, Intel i386, and more coming all the time. With all the volunteers involved with linux over the past 8 years, and more joining everyday, linux looks to have a bright future in the world of computing for years and years to come.

(c)oded 2002 Alternative Design