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What Is Linux?
Linux is an independent Unix-like operating sys-
tem that can be freely modified and redistributed.
It works on all major 32-bit and 64-bit computer
hardware platforms and is an implementation of
the POSIX specification with which all true ver-
sions of Unix comply. Linux uses no code from
proprietary Unix sources, and much of the soft-
ware available for Linux is developed by the Free
Software Foundation's GNU project. The result of
efforts by thousands of programmers coordinating
via the Internet, Linux is now recognized as one
of the most stable and flexible operating systems
available at any price.
What Systems Run Linux?
Desktops
Linux desktops such as GNOME or KDE replace
Mac and Windows on the desktop for most users'
needs. Many applications are now available, in-
cluding complete office suites such as OpenOffice
and KOffice.
Servers
Linux is an important part of the computer server
market. It runs the large majority of the Web
through the Apache server and provides email,
FTP, SSH, file, printer, and proxy servers with
efficient and scalable solutions. Linux also sup-
ports many different databases (e.g., MySQL,
PostgreSQL, and Oracle) which are the engines of
enterprise-level servers.
Development Systems
Linux provides a powerful software development
platform, with all standard languages being freely
available. Since the source code to the OS, devel-
opment tools, and most applications can be freely
modified and redistributed, Linux is the perfect en-
vironment for developers.
Other Systems
An eclectic mix of systems all run on Linux includ-
ing wristwatches, consumer electronics, point-of-
sale terminals, Google, Hollywood animation stu-
dios, mainframes, and supercomputer clusters.
Awesome Apps
Linux applications focus on doing one job well
with necessary communications between applica-
tions implemented using standard file formats such
as the Open Document Format (ODF) and stan-
dard protocols such as TCP/IP. This modular de-
sign has a number of advantages including flexi-
bility, simplicity, and stability. A particular ap-
plication can be replaced by any equivalent which
follows the same rules. The resulting freedom of
choice leads to friendly competition between differ-
ent development teams and often results in Linux
applications that are best-of-breed through Dar-
winian selection.
What Applications Run on Linux?
The short answer is lots!
Your distribution of
choice will generally have many thousands of pop-
ular Linux applications which you can optionally
install including the Firefox web browser, Apache
web server, OpenOffice suite, GIMP image manip-
ulation program, XMMS audio player, xine video
player, FooBillard suite of 5 different pool games,
and PySol package of 200+ solitaire games! The
following sites will help you find additional apps
you might need:
General apps: freshmeat.net/
General apps: www.linux.org/apps/
General apps: icewalkers.com/
Free development site: sourceforge.net/
Linux-Windows equivalents:
linuxrsp.ru/win-lin-soft/table-eng.html
KDE apps: kde-apps.org/
GNOME apps: gnomefiles.org/
Games: happypenguin.org/
Quotes from Linus
1991: on the start of it all
"I'm doing a (free) operating system
(just a hobby, won't be big and pro-
fessional like gnu) for 386(486) AT
clones. This has been brewing since
april, and is starting to get ready."
1996: on the Linux logo
"Ok, so we should be thinking of a
lovable, cuddly, stuffed penguin sit-
ting down after having gorged itself
on herring. Still with me?"
1998: on world domination
`The "World Domination" thing is
obviously always a bit tongue-in-
cheek, but I think that yes, a five-
year timeframe [in 2003] for the free
software movement and Linux to
make a major noticeable impact is
not at all unrealistic.' Good call,
Linus!
2003:
on the Linux develop-
ment process
"All of these people make their mod-
ifications, and not all of them are
accepted.
I see it as a kind of
ecosystem. You have survival of the
fittest."