Linux: History and Introduction

Linux is among most used operating systems which have a free software code (known as open source code development). Linux was originally coded for then famous Intel 80386 seires of microprocessors. Presently, Linux now runs on large variety of PC architectures and has its spread wide and far.

History of Linux:

Unix when come on board was third operating system after CTSS,  and was followed by MULTICS. A small team of talented programmers was led by Prof. Fernando Corbato in MIT Computation Center and they wrote the CTSS. It was first operating system in history which supported concept of time-sharing.  Then, AT&T (the once famous Bell Labs) started concentrating on  MULTICS but they had to stall project as they were not able to meet deadlines. Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie (father of C) and Brian Kerngham from Bell Labs, took ideas on this project and came up with very first version of Unix.

After some time, Andrew Tenenbaum released unix like system called MINIX. The code was available to users freely but there were certain restrictions to do modification as well as distribution of software as it would have violated the copyrights.

Then finally the day arrived on August 25, 1991 when Linus Torvalds (who later became the father of Linux), then a 2nd year student of computer engineering, made an announcement regarding developing an operating system while studying in University of Helsinki. The main motive was to replace MINIX, he started coding Linux kernel (which is brain of Linux). With this, a success story had initiated! Though Linux was dependent earlier on MINIX user space but after GNU GPL came on the stage, developers worked for attaining goal of integration of Linux as well as important GNU components.

linux history and introduction

Introduction of Linux:

All Unix-like operating systems which uses Linux kernel are called as Linux OS. In 1991, Linus Torvalds showed Linux kernel to world. He then started coding Linux kernel afterwards; approximately 250 programmers gave their contributions in kernel code. One American software developer known as Richard Stallman (he was a part of GNU project earlier), drafted General Public License for Linux, under which now Linux is distributed freely. Many libraries and utilities come from the GNU.

The Free Software & open source Misnomer: Many people have misconception about ‘free’ feature of Linux. With term ‘free software’, it is meant that Linux either can be copied or redistributed in any altered as well unaltered format without any restrictions. Every user of Linux is can get human readable code of OS along with a permission allowing any person to change its source code. In different words, distribution of Linux OS means distribution of free to modify license for its recipients. Also, Linux is based on open source development. This phrase signifies that all underlying source code of any software can be freely used, modified and distributed. Open source development method entitles users of that particular software to have an access its source code without any restrictions.

A Linux distribution can be thought as a project which manages collection of Linux software as well as installation of operating systems. It encompasses system software along with application software as various packages,   configuration details and initial installation.  At present, there are around 300 different Linux distributions. The most popular among all Linux distributions are Red Hat, Mandrake and Fedora. Fedora Core came up to the scene only after the 9th version of Red Hat. It is a frequently updated Linux among most of distributions.

Reasons that make Linux a hit:

  • The best part is that Linux is freely available Operating System based on Linux kernel.
  •  Not only is it inexpensive but also effective and better alternative to many UNIX utilities and programs.
  • The open source regime entitles any programmer to easily do modifications in its code.
  • Another important feature of Linux is that it supports multi-user and multi-tasking environment.  Linux kernel handles efficiently important processes like file system, process control as well as networking.
  • One more feature which makes Linux hit is that the device drivers come packed in the kernel so there is no need to extra software CDs for installing hardware drivers.
  •  The operating system of Linux is armed with compilers, libraries, a UNIX shell, and text editors along with windowing system.
  • The OS can support both as well graphical user (GUI) and command line interfaces (CUI).
  • Mostly, all Linux distributions have a support for wide range of programming languages. E.g.:  Perl, Ruby, Python, C and many other languages.
  • Linux OS also supports many Java virtual machines as well as development kits along with C++ compilers.
  • Linux is generally used in servers as well as in desktop computers, video games, supercomputers along with in embedded systems.

At least, I have enjoyed working on Linux always, have you?

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  1. kumar gaurav says:

    in what way linux is different from ubuntu and how we can get the linux downloaded

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