From MTU LUG wiki
(→Commercial and popular uptake)
|(4 intermediate revisions not shown)|
Latest revision as of 23:19, 23 November 2010
Linux is a free unix like operating system started by Linus Torvalds. This is the operating system of choice for the MTU LUG.
The Unix operating system was conceived and implemented in 1969 at AT&T's Bell Laboratories in the United States by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie]], Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna and first released in 1971. Unix was written in assembly language and later re-written in C in 1973 by Dennis Ritchie. Its wide availability and Porting due to being written in C meant that it was widely adopted, copied and modified by academic institutions and businesses, with its design being influential on authors of other systems.
The GNU Project, started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, had the goal of creating a "complete Unix-compatible software system" composed entirely of free software. Work began in 1984. Later, in 1985, Stallman created the Free Software Foundation and wrote the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) in 1989. By the early 1990s, many of the programs required in an operating system (such as libraries, compilers, text editors, a Unix shell, and a windowing system) were completed, although low-level elements such as device drivers, daemon, and the kernel were stalled and incomplete. Linus Torvalds has said that if the GNU kernel had been available at the time (1991), he would not have decided to write his own.
MINIX was a cheap minimal Unix-like operating system, designed for education in computer science, written by Andrew S. Tanenbaum (now Minix is and redesigned also for “serious” use).
Torvalds began the development of Linux on Minix and applications written for Minix were also used under Linux. Later Linux matured and it became possible for Linux to be developed under itself. Also GNU applications replaced all Minix ones because, with code from the GNU system freely available, it was advantageous if this could be used with the fledgling OS. Code licensed under the GNU GPL can be used in other projects, so long as they also are released under the same or a compatible license. In order to make the Linux kernel compatible with the components from the GNU Project, Torvalds initiated a switch from his original license (which prohibited commercial redistribution) to the GNU GPL. Developers worked to integrate GNU components with Linux to make a fully functional and free operating system.
 Commercial and popular uptake
Today Linux distributions are used in numerous domains, from embedded systems to supercomputers, and have secured a place in server installations with the popular LAMP application stack.Use of Linux distributions in home and enterprise desktops has been expanding.They have also gained popularity with various local and national governments. The federal government of Brazil is well known for its support for Linux.News of the Russian military creating their own Linux distribution has also surfaced.Indian state of Kerala has gone so far as to make it mandatory for all state high schools to run Linux on their computers. People's Republic of China uses Linux exclusively as the operating system for its Loongson processor family to achieve technology independence. In Spain some regions have developed their own Linux distributions, which are widely used in education and official institutions, like gnuLinEx in Extremadura and Guadalinex in Andalusia. France and Germany have also taken steps towards the adoption of Linux.
Linux distributions have also become popular with the newly founded netbook market, with many devices such as the Eee pc and Aspire One shipping with customized Linux distributions pre-installed.
 Current development
Torvalds continues to direct the development of the kernel. Stallman heads the Free Software Foundation, which in turn supports the GNU components. Finally, individuals and corporations develop third-party non-GNU components. These third-party components comprise a vast body of work and may include both kernel modules and user applications and libraries. Linux vendors and communities combine and distribute the kernel, GNU components, and non-GNU components, with additional package management software in the form of Linux distributions.
Linux as a whole is broken up into a number of different distributions. Each of these distributions uses the Linux kernel but provides different features.