Difference between revisions of "GNU/Linux"

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[[Image:Tuxie.jpg|thumb|right|"Tux", the Linux mascot|90px]]
 
[[Image:Tuxie.jpg|thumb|right|"Tux", the Linux mascot|90px]]
 
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/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 ace 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 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.
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The GNU project was started by ace 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.
 
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, 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 applications that are in widespread use but compete with alternatives, such as the graphical desktop environment, GNOME.
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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.
  
 
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).
 
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).
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[[Image:Gnomesword large.png|right|thumb|250px|Screenshot of Ubuntu Christian Edition.]]
 
[[Image:Gnomesword large.png|right|thumb|250px|Screenshot of Ubuntu Christian Edition.]]
  
It is likely that Linux is 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, 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.
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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, 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 the Conservapedia web site was running the Linux operating system<ref>[http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.conservapedia.com NetCraft site report for Conservapedia.com]</ref>
 
As an example, in March of 2007 the server hosting the the Conservapedia web site was running the Linux operating system<ref>[http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.conservapedia.com NetCraft site report for Conservapedia.com]</ref>

Revision as of 10:42, 18 December 2009

"Tux", the Linux mascot

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 ace 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.

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).

Linux is also different to the closed source operating system vendors in that the software is distributed by many different companies. Major Linux distributions include Red Hat, SUSE, Debian and Ubuntu. There are literally hundreds of Linux distributions as can be seen on DistroWatch.com.

Numerous sources[1] [2], including Steve Ballmer[3], 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 Linux Technology Center concluded that Linux has enterprise class reliability. 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 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.[4]

Screenshot of Ubuntu Christian Edition.

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, 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 the Conservapedia web site was running the Linux operating system[5]

Linux Pre-Installed

From its inception, and with exception of the server market, it was difficult to find new computers available with Linux pre-installed. Users typically have to download the Linux distribution of their choice and install it on a computer themselves, slowing the increase in computers using a desktop version of Linux, as many home computer users find installing an operating system a difficult task. This situation drastically changed in 2007 when Dell started selling laptop and desktop computers to the general public with Linux pre-installed[6].

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 Linux into the mainstream for the first time.

References

  1. Intellectual Property - Left?
  2. [1]
  3. MS' Ballmer: Linux is communism
  4. Ubuntu Christian Edition
  5. NetCraft site report for Conservapedia.com
  6. Dell and Linux

External links