The GNU/Linux operating system is free software created to replace the Unix operating system. The system aims towards POSIX compliance, though it is not officially compliant and therefore cannot bear the trademark "UNIX." The GNU project was started by atheist programmer Richard Stallman and was the impetus behind the creation of the Free Software Foundation. Except for the small but essential kernel (called Linux after its creator Linus Torvalds), substantial components of the operating system code were created by Stallman and other FSF contributors. There's a dispute over whether the FSF should be credited when mentioning the use of Linux. The trade press refer to the overall system as "Linux", which annoys Stallman to no end. Essays on the FSF website promote the use of the term "GNU/Linux" when referring to a system with Linux kernel and GNU project core components.
The Linux kernel communicates with the hardware and provides for many complex and essential operations such as process scheduling, memory management and file system operation. This is required to support the needs of all applications run on the system (such as the graphical user interface, media players, and servers). Most of these applications are not part of the Linux kernel project, and are part of separate projects, including GNU, but those who are unaware of or not concerned about the history of the project commonly used "Linux" to refer to the whole operating system. The Linux kernel was initially developed by Finnish grad student Linus Torvalds as an experimental project to run a UNIX-like system on x86-based PC hardware.
At this point, a very substantial portion of the software commonly used on a desktop system are not GNU software projects, such as KDE (graphical desktop environment), Firefox, OpenOffice.org, and Python (high-level programming language). On the other hand, even these popular products rely on basic services provided by GNU, such as the C runtime library (libc), compiler framework (gcc), and core POSIX command line utilities. Additionally, the GNU project includes several more substantial applications, such as the graphical desktop environment GNOME, which compete heavily with their alternatives.
GNU/Linux distinguishes itself from other operating systems such as proprietary UNIX and Microsoft Windows in that the source code for a complete working system is distributed under various open source licenses. In essence, this means that anybody can modify the code to their needs, and that the development most components happens in an open community, rather than in a closed commercial environment. Any improvements to the code will be contributed to the community, and any software that is based upon viral licenses will be, in turn, licenses under these. The Linux kernel itself is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
GNU/Linux is also different to the closed source operating system vendors in that the software is distributed by many different companies. Major GNU/Linux distributions include Red Hat, SUSE, Debian and Ubuntu. There are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distributions as can be seen on DistroWatch.com.
Numerous sources , including Steve Ballmer, one of the driving minds behind the success of Microsoft, have claimed that the Open Source movement is inherently Communist. Both Free Software and Communism shun the idea of personal property, instead favoring a communal ownership where no single entity has control or authority.
In 2005 Forbes.com posted an article estimating Linux ran 60% of the world's top supercomputers at that time. In 2003 the IBM GNU/Linux Technology Center concluded that GNU/Linux has enterprise class reliability. GNU/Linux servers can run without reboot for years as can usually be seen at the Longest uptimes URL on Netcraft.com. Another location to check on Linux uptime statistics is the Machine uptimes page at Linux Counter.
Owing to the nature of open source software, many variants of a GUN/Linux distribution may be created by using the original code and making changes to it to suit a particular need. For example, there is also a Ubuntu Christian Edition.
GNU/Linux is quite possibly becoming one of the most commonly adopted operating systems in the world. However, this is difficult to quantify with hard evidence since most Linux distributions are given away for "free" and there are few sales records or marketing numbers to review. While personal computers in the United States and other "first world nations" still overwhelmingly use Microsoft operating systems such as Windows XP, GNU/Linux is a common choice for web servers, file servers and embedded platforms, thanks to its perceived reliability, low/no cost, and the fact that modifications to the source code can readily be made by anyone. For example, Linux has seen widespread use in numerous mass produced consumer electronic devices such as broadband residential routers, Digital Video Recorders, and cellphones.
As an example, in March of 2007 the server hosting the Conservapedia web site was running the GNU/Linux operating system
Linux as the 'Best of the Public'
The ongoing development of the GNU/Linux operating system represents perhaps the single most important example of the 'best of the public' collaboration model in the field of technology. The excellent stability and security of GNU/Linux, both in server and consumer versions, provide a powerful example of the success of this model.
From its inception, it has been difficult to find new computers outside of the server and market available with GNU/Linux pre-installed. Although specialty companies like System76 and Zareason do sell computers equipped with desktop versions of Linux (specifically Ubuntu), until recently, mainstream computer manufacturers like Dell and HP resisted this trend. Users typically need to download the GNU/Linux distribution of their choice and install it on a computer themselves. Because many home computer users find the installation of an operating system a difficult task, this added step hinders the increase in the number of computers using a desktop version of Linux. This situation drastically changed in 2007 when Dell started selling laptop and desktop computers to the general public with Linux pre-installed.
During 2008, a new type of low cost laptop computer, the "netbook" was introduced by most of the major manufacturers. To keep costs down, Linux was offered on most of the lines as an alternative to Windows XP (Windows Vista being unable to run on the low powered computers), bringing GNU/Linux into the mainstream computer market for the first time.
Misconceptions about GNU/Linux
GNU/Linux is in often referred to as GNU/Linux, because Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibraries, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full Operating System as defined by POSIX. Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project. There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is actually the kernel, a minuscule program in the operating system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. Therefore, the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.
Prescient Quotes on Linux-Unix-Ubuntu-FreeBSD Surveillance
- "The progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wiretapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. Advances in the psychic and related sciences may bring means of exploring unexpressed beliefs, thoughts and emotions. 'That places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer' was said by James Otis of much lesser intrusions than these. 1 To Lord Camden a far slighter intrusion seemed 'subversive of all the comforts of society.' Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?"
- Tails Anonymous Secure Operating System
- Apple Computer MacOS for Apple Macintosh
- Mobile devices: Smartphones and tablets
- Apple iOS for iPhone-iPod-iPad
- Microsoft Windows Phone with Windows 8
- Censorship: Tools of censorship, Censorability, Fairness Doctrine, Liberal censorship, Media censorship
- The Perpetual War: War on Drugs, War on Terror and the Police state
- Domestic Mass Surveillance of Law-Abiding Citizens: via Utah Data Center, PRISM, NSA-DHS-BATF-FBI-CIA and other Intelligence agencies' Computer surveillance, Eavesdropping, Data mining, Spyware, Wiretap - Roving wiretap, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, National security letter, Patriot Act, NDAA, Executive Orders, United States Census, Common Core, "Stasi"-like secret police "If You See Something, Say Something" informants, and other exponential expansion of the Police State
- Asset Forfeiture: Confiscation for Police budget deficit via RICO
- Mililtarization of Police: SWAT and Pre-dawn No-knock raids, Sneak and peek warrant
- War on Drugs: Addiction and Drug trafficking of the Drug cartels, Mafia, Gangs, Drug dealers, Hollywood values - Fashion industry values - Public school values - Professor values
- Computer Crime and Cyberwarfare:
- Dangers of Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Yahoo
- Big Government: ObamaCare-Common Core-Social Security Welfare state leads to Nanny state, leads to Police state: Globalist-Statist-Socialist-National Socialist-Communist
- Liberal Totalitarianism
- Security Software and Security-Focused Operating Systems to protect unalienable Fifth Amendment - Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy (Internet privacy, Information privacy, Expectation of privacy) and Second Amendment - First Amendment (Freedom of information and Political freedom) rights against unconstitutional Gun control - Internet censorship Big government Police state, hackers, and "all enemies, foreign and domestic" of American liberty.
- Anonymity with Tails Operating System: Linux-based with Tor (anonymity network), Firefox Iceweasel browser, HTTPS Everywhere encryption
- Prism-Break.org: Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, ECHELON, XKeyscore and Tempora.
- Open Source Free software not over-priced tracking by Microsoft-Apple-Google-Android
- Privacy Search Engines: Duck Duck Go and Ixquick: Privacy-oriented Search engines instead of tracking by Google, Yahoo and Bing
- Internet Anonymity - Right to be forgotten Pseudonymity (Pseudonym) using Anonymous web browsing with Tails and VPN (Virtual Private Network), HMA, OpenVPN and IPsec , Proxy servers, Anonymizer (Anonymous proxies)
- Mozilla Firefox with Browser extensions instead of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari (web browser) and Opera (web browser)
- Ad Filtering (Privacy mode and Adblock Plus or Ghostery) to stop Ad tracking - Website visitor tracking via Geolocation, Geotargeting, Personally identifiable information and Device fingerprints
- Internet Safety, Computer Security via Password strength and Password managers via KeePass or LastPass and Antivirus-Firewall
- Secure Communication:
- E-mail Privacy and Email Encryption: Claws Mail or Enigmail or Kontact using Hushmail or MyKolab, Anonymous remailer, instead of tracking by Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird using Yahoo! Mail, Gmail iCloud
- Secure Messaging and Off-the-Record Messaging via I2P Instant messaging, Cryptocat, Bitmessage instead of Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Internet Relay Chat, Google Plus, Facebook
- Silent Phone with Silent Circle instead of Android or iPhone Smartphone
- OPSEC: "Loose lips sink ships"
- Encryption: Encryption software, Disk encryption software, LUKS or TrueCrypt instead of Microsoft BitLocker, PGP and GNU Privacy Guard, Data encryption, Public-key encryption, Cryptography-Cryptanalysis-Cryptology-Steganography
- Peer-to-Peer: Sneakernet, Friend-to-friend, Darknet (file sharing), Anonymous P2P instead of BitTorrent
- Deep Web - Dark Internet: Tor, AmRD, Tor2web, The Hidden Wiki, Anonymous blog
- Cryptocurrency-Digital Currency-Alternative Currency-Virtual Currency: Bitcoin and Hard money-Precious metals-Tangibles versus PayPal, Credit cards and inflation-prone U.S. Dolars: Federal Reserve System's Keynesian economics Ponzi scheme of Quantitative easing-Debt monetization devaluation of Fiat currency through Money supply-Treasury bills bought mostly by China and Japan
- Privacy Resources:
- Hologram of Liberty - The Constitution's Shocking Alliance With Big Government by Boston T. Party - Kenneth W. Royce
- One Nation, Under Surveillance - Privacy From the Watchful Eye by Boston T. Party
- How to Be Invisible - Protect Your Home, Your Children, Your Assets, and Your Life, by J. J. Luna
- Electronic Frontier Foundation and Electronic Privacy Information Center, Oath Keepers, Judicial Watch
- Freedom of Information Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and Privacy Act of 1974
- Edward J. Snowden Revelations of unconstitutional domestic spying on law-abiding American citizens; GlobaLeaks
- Crypto-libertarianism Limited government implies:
- Conservative values, American values - Small town values, American Patriots and Bill of Rights liberty
- https://charlescarrollsociety.com/2014/02/12/amrd-t-a-i-l-s-plastic-gloves-for-your-computer-american-redoubt - Tails operating system
- https://charlescarrollsociety.com/2014/01/29/amrd-introducing-the-tor-browser-bundle/ - Tor browser
- https://prism-break.org/en - "Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora."
- https://www.eff.org - "Leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program"
- Online Guide to Privacy Resources
- http://www.nocards.org - Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
- Intellectual Property - Left?
- MS' Ballmer: Linux is communism
- Ubuntu Christian Edition
- NetCraft site report for Conservapedia.com
- Dell and Linux
- "Help make mass surveillance of entire populations uneconomical! We all have an unalienable right to privacy, which you can exercise today by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary products and services."
- "Help make mass surveillance of entire populations uneconomical. We all have a right to privacy, which you can exercise today by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary services."
- "Organization formed in 1990 to maintain and enhance intellectual freedom, privacy, and other values of civil liberties and democracy in networked communications. Publishes newsletters, Internet Guidebooks and other documents, provides mailing lists and other online forums, and hosts a large electronic document archive. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. 454 Shotwell Street, San Francisco, CA 94110-1914. Tel: (415) 436-9333. Fax: (415) 436-9993. Executive Director: Sheryl Steele."
- "EPIC was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging privacy issues relating to the National Information Infrastructure, such as the Clipper Chip, the Digital Telephony proposal, medical records privacy and the sale of consumer data. EPIC conducts litigation, sponsors conferences, produces reports, publishes the EPIC Alert and leads campaigns on privacy issues. For more information email: email@example.com, or contact EPIC, 1718 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009. Tel: (202) 483-1140. Executive Director: Marc Rotenberg."
- "CAUCE is an all volunteer, entirely web-based organization, created by Netizens to advocate for a legislative solution to the problem of UCE (spam). CAUCE began as a discussion group called SPAM-LAW, formed of members who felt that legislation was necessary to stop spam from choking the life out of the Internet. In 1997 CAUCE proposed an amendment to the Federal statute which outlaws junk "faxes" (47 USC 227) to also prohibit junk e-mail, and since then has remained a pre-eminent voice in the anti-spam community. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. President: Edward Cherlin."