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What is Linux?


Linux is a freely available operating system based on a kernel originally written for the Intel 386 architecture by (then) student Linus Torvalds. Once his 32-bit kernel was available, the GNU utilities made it a usable system and contributions from many others led to explosive growth. Since the first introduction of Linux in 1991, Linux has become the mainstream operating system for PC server. The popularity of Linux is due to the rigid system design, stability, reliability and low cost.Today Linux is a complete Unix replacement available for several CPU architectures -- Intel, DEC/Compaq Alpha, Power PC, both 32-bit SPARC and the 64-bit UltraSPARC, StrongARM, . . . -- with support for multiple CPUs on some architectures.


Linux is extremely stable. You can leave your computer running and use it for months on end and it won't crash.


Linux is highly secure. Linux is practically immune to viruses, trojans and spyware! Linux is one of the most impregnable network OS when it comes to network security attacks.


Linux is Free Software. Linux is distributed along with its source code so that anyone who receives it is free to make changes and redistribute it. So, not only is it ok to make copies of Linux and give them to your friends, it's also fine to tweak a few lines of the source code while you're at it -- as long as you also freely provide your modified source code to everyone else. That means you have complete control over the software.


Linux is not owned by anyone. One misconception many have is that, Linux, is similar to the Windows operating system, which is owned and controlled by the company called Microsoft.

Not so!

No one company or individual "owns" Linux, which was developed, and is still being improved, by thousands of corporate-supported and volunteer programmers all over the world.



Open Source Software


Open source software goes one step beyond freeware. Not only does it provide the software for free, it provides the original source code used to create the software. Thus, curious users can poke around with it to see how it works, and advanced users can modify it to make it work better for them. By its nature, open souce software is pretty well immune to most types of security flaw and computer virus.

Open source software enables the lowering of software acquisition, licensing, and support costs. Through its non proprietary nature, open source software tips the balance of power toward your organization and away from software vendors who practice "vendor lock-in".

Open source is more than just access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must also comply with the following criteria:

1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

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