What is Linux?
Linux (often pronounced LIH-nuhks with a short “i”) is a Unix-like operating system that was designed to provide personal computer users a free or very low-cost operating system comparable to traditional and usually more expensive Unix systems. Linux has a reputation as a very efficient and fast-performing system.
History of Linux
Linux’s kernelwas developed by Linus Torvalds,
He was using a version of the UNIX operating system called ‘Minix’. Linus and other users sent requests for modifications and improvements to Minix’s creator, Andrew Tanenbaum, but he felt that they weren’t necessary. That’s when Linus decided to create his own operating system that would take into account users’ comments and suggestions and using them to improve computer programs was not new. Richard Stallman, who worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had been advocating just such an approach to computer programming and use since the early 1970’s. He was a pioneer in the concept of ‘free software’, always pointing out that ‘free’ means ‘freedom’, not zero cost. Finding it difficult to continue working under conditions that he felt went against his concept of ‘free software’ he left MIT in 1984 and founded GNU. The goal of GNU was to produce software that was free to use, distribute and modify. Linus Torvalds’ goal 6 years later was basically the same: to produce an operating system that took into account user feedback.
Linux’s kernel (the central part of the operating system) was developed by Linus Torvalds
The kernel is the central module of an operating system (OS). It is the part of the operating system that loads first, and it remains inmain memory. Because it stays in memory, it is important for the kernel to be as small as possible while still providing all the essential services required by other parts of the operating system and applications. The kernel code is usually loaded into a protected area of memory to prevent it from being overwritten by programs or other parts of the operating system.
Typically, the kernel is responsible for memory management, process and task management, and disk management. The kernel connects the system hardware to the application software. Every operating system has a kernel. For example the Linux kernel is used numerous operating systems including Linux, FreeBSD, Android and others
1991, a fateful year
In 1991, ideal conditions existed that would create Linux. In essence, Linus Torvalds had a kernel but no programs of his own, Richard Stallman and GNU had programs but no working kernel. Read the two men’s own words about this:
Linux is introduced
Late in 1991, Linus Torvalds had his kernel and a few GNU programs wrapped around it so it would work well enough to show other people what he had done. And that’s what he did. The first people to see Linux knew that Linus was on to something. At this point, though, he needed more people to help him. Here’s what Linus had to say back in 1991.
People all over the world decided to take him up on it. At first, only people with extensive computer programming knowledge would be able to do anything with that early public version of Linux. These people started to offer their help. The version numbers of Linux were getting higher and higher. People began writing programs specifically to be run under Linux. Developers began writing drivers for different video cards, sound cards and other gadgets inside and outside your computer could use Linux. Nevertheless, throughout most of first part of the 1990’s Linux did not get out of the ‘GURU’ stage. GURU is a term that has evolved to mean anyone who has special expertise in a particular subject. That is, you had to have special expertise in how computers worked to be able to install Linux in those days.
Linux, at first, was not for everybody.
CentOS / Red Hat Enterprise Linux,
OpenSUSE/SUSE Linux EnterprisPuppy Linux,
Mageia / Mandriva,
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