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
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.).
A large part of the basic tools that fill out the operating system come from the
GNU project; hence the name: GNU/Linux. These tools are also free.
Linux is not public domain, nor is it 'shareware'. It is 'free' software,
commonly called freeware or Open Source Software
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 ix86, 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