What is Linux?
Linux Corner Library:
What is the Linux Operating System? Linux is an open-source operating system published under the GNUPublic License. Open source means that anyone is free to use and modify any of the actual source code. Companies and individuals can change the way the operating system works to suit their own personal or business needs. Linux was originally developed by Linus Torvalds while he was a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Torvalds, originally working with Minix, (a small UNIX system) decided to create an operating system which would exceed Minix standards. His development began in 1991 when he released version 0.02. Since then Linux has undergone drastic changes.
There are now many different distributions of Linux (sometimes referred to as flavors) which all use the same Kernel. This Kernel is still being developed by Torvalds and a group of programmers and releases are more and more frequent. The current Kernel version is 2.6 as of the writing of this document. The Linux operating system is touted for its speed, minimal hardware requirements, security and remote administration.
Linux is a fully featured operating system which doesn't have to cost a dime. You can download many different distributions directly from the Internet and the support community is huge. Because of Linux's speed and stability, it has become the operating system of choice for most types of servers and permeates the entire web market. In addition there is a plethora of software available free of charge for Linux. If graphics is your thing and the whole text based mode scares you a little then you should check out the X Window system. There are a few different interfaces available to choose from the two main ones being GNOME and KDE. Both of these have tons of features and are always being updated.
Q: Why is there more than one version on Linux?
A: Since Linux is open source, anyone is free to create their own OS. The different versions of Linux are called distribution. Certain distributions are aimed at different skill levels, applications, and hardware.
Q: What is the kernel?
A: The kernel is the heart of the Linux operating system. It's job is to interface software with the computer's hardware.
Q: What is a boot loader?
A: A boot loader is a tiny program that resides in your hard drive. When your computer boots up, the boot loader is the first thing to run. From this program, your OS is loaded. Open source boot loaders such as Lilo and Grub allow you to run Windows and Linux on the same system.