Linux

Lin·ux (lĭnʹŭks)
A trademark for an open-source version of the UNIX operating system.

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Nonproprietary operating system (OS) for digital computers.

In 1991 Linus Torvalds of Finland began asking for volunteer programmers over the Internet to collaborate on the development of a UNIX-like OS for personal computers; the "1.0" release of Linux was in 1994. A true multiuser, multitasking system, Linux contained features (e.g., virtual memory, shared libraries, memory management, and TCP/IP networking) formerly only found on mainframe computers. With its source code freely available, thousands of volunteers, as well as several companies that sell prepackaged Linux products, have contributed to the OS. A reliable, fast-performing system with good security features, Linux is popular for corporate computer network and Web servers.

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      computer operating system created in the early 1990s by Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds and the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

      While still a student at the University of Helsinki, Torvalds started developing Linux to create a system similar to MINIX, a UNIX operating system. In 1991 he released version 0.02; Version 1.0 of the Linux kernel, the core of the operating system, was released in 1994. About the same time, American software developer Richard Stallman and the FSF made efforts to create an open-source (open source) UNIX-like operating system called GNU. In contrast to Torvalds, Stallman and the FSF started by creating utilities for the operating system first. These utilities were then added to the Linux kernel to create a complete system called GNU/Linux, or, less precisely, just Linux.

      Linux grew throughout the 1990s because of the efforts of hobbyist developers. Although Linux is not as user-friendly as the popular Microsoft Windows and Mac OS operating systems, it is an efficient and reliable system that rarely crashes. Combined with Apache, an open-source Web server, Linux accounts for more than a third of all servers used on the Internet. Because it is open source, and thus modifiable for different uses, Linux is popular for systems as diverse as cellular telephones and supercomputers (supercomputer). The addition of user-friendly desktop environments, office suites, Web browsers, and even games helped to increase Linux's popularity and make it more suitable for home and office desktops. New distributions (packages of Linux software) were created throughout the 1990s. Some of the more well-known distributions include Red Hat, Debian, and Slackware.

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Universalium. 2010.

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