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Linux has a rich history. It is essential to understand
in order to understand the philosophy behind Linux's
Hear Linus Torvalds pronounce
Linux. [AU format sound]
Brief History of Linux
Linux is a freely distributable version
of UNIX. UNIX is one of the most popular operating systems for
networking worldwide because of its large support base and distribution.
Linus Torvalds, who was then a student at the University of Helsinki
in Finland, developed Linux in 1991. It was released for free
on the Internet and generated the largest software-development
phenomena of all time. Because of GNU software (GNU being an
acronym for Gnu's Not UNIX) created by the Free Software Foundation,
Linux has many utilities to offer. The Free Software Foundation
offers royalty-free software to programmers and developers. From
the very beginning, Linux has been entwined with GNU software.
From 1991, Linux quickly developed on hackers' web pages as the
alternative to Windows and the more expensive UNIX systems. When
Red Hat released its commercial version of Linux packaged with
tech support and documentation, the floodgates broke and the
majority of the public became aware of Linux and its capabilities.
Now more and more new users are willing to try Linux on their
personal PCs and business users are willing to use Linux to run
their networks. Linux has become the latest phenomenon to hit
the PC software market.
Linux is a unique operating system
in that it is an active participant in the Open Source Software
movement. Linux is legally covered by the GNU General Public
License, also known as GPL. Open Source software is free but
is not in the public domain. It is not shareware either. GPL
allows people to take free software and distribute their own
versions of the software. However, the vendors who sell free
software cannot restrict the rights of users who purchase the
software. In other words, users who buy GPL software can make
copies of it and distribute it free of charge or for a fee. Also,
distributors of GPL software must make it clear that the software
is covered by the GPL and must provide the complete source code
for the software at no cost. Linux embodies the Open Source model.
Open source applies to software for which the source code is
freely available for anyone to download, alter, and redistribute.
Linux is the perfect operating system for hackers because they
can freely download newer versions of the Linux kernel or other
Linux utilities of the Internet and instantly change its source
code to fix any software bugs found. That way, bugs can be fixed
in a matter of hours as opposed to days and weeks. Beta testers
and code debuggers are unorganized and spread throughout the
world, but surprisingly, they have managed to quickly debug Linux
software efficiently and cooperate online through the use of