Friday, October 31, 2008

Linux Operating System

Linux is an fast, stable, and open source operating system for PCs and workstations that features professional-level Internet services, extensive development tools, fully functional graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and a massive number of applications ranging from office suites to multimedia applications. Linux was developed in the early 1990s by Linus Torvalds, along with other programmers around the world. As an operating system, Linux performs many of the same functions as Unix, Macintosh, Windows, and Windows NT. However, Linux is distinguished by its power and flexibility, along with being freely available.

Most PC operating systems, such as Windows, began their development within the confines of small, restricted personal computers, which have only recently become more versatile machines. Such operating systems are constantly being upgraded to keep up with the ever-changing capabilities of PC hardware. Linux, on the other hand, was developed in a different context. Linux is a PC version of the Unix operating system that has been used for decades on mainframes and minicomputers and is currently the system of choice for network servers and workstations. Linux brings the speed, efficiency, scalability, and flexibility of Unix to your PC, taking advantage of all the capabilities that PCs can now provide.

Technically, Linux consists of the operating system program, referred to as the kernel, which is the part originally developed by Torvalds. But it has always been distributed with a large number of software applications, ranging from network servers and security programs to office applications and development tools. Linux has evolved as part of the open source software movement, in which independent programmers joined forces to provide free and quality software to any user. Linux has become the premier platform for open source software, much of it developed by the Free Software Foundation’s GNU project. Many of these applications are bundled as part of standard Linux distributions, and most of them are also incorporated into the Ubuntu repository, using packages that are Debian compliant.

Along with Linux’s operating system capabilities come powerful networking features, including support for Internet, intranets, and Windows networking. As a norm, Linux distributions include fast, efficient, and stable Internet servers, such as the Web, FTP, and DNS servers, along with proxy, news, and mail servers. In other words, Linux has everything you need to set up, support, and maintain a fully functional network.

With the both GNOME and K Desktop Environment (KDE), Linux also provides GUIs with the same level of flexibility and power. Linux enables you to choose the interface you want and then customize it, adding panels, applets, virtual desktops, and menus, all with full drag-and-drop capabilities and Internet-aware tools.

Linux does all this at the right price: It is free, including the network servers and GUI desktops. Unlike the official Unix operating system, Linux is distributed freely under a GNU General Public License (GPL) as specified by the Free Software Foundation, making it available to anyone who wants to use it. GNU (which stands for GNU’s Not Unix) is a project initiated and managed by the Free Software Foundation to provide free software to users, programmers, and developers. Linux is copyrighted, not public domain; however, a GNU public license has much the same effect as the software’s being in the public domain.

The GNU GPL is designed to ensure that Linux remains free and, at the same time, standardized. Linux is technically the operating system kernel—the core operations—and only one official Linux kernel exists. People sometimes have the mistaken impression that Linux is somehow less than a professional operating system because it is free. Linux is, in fact, a PC, workstation, and server version of Unix. Many actually consider it far more stable and much more powerful than Microsoft Windows. This power and stability have made Linux an operating system of choice as a network server.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Ubuntu The Complete Reference

No comments: