What is Linux?

Linux is a free and open-source operating system that was created in 1991. Today, it’s the largest open-source software project in the world.

The history of Linux
Linux began as a project by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish computer science student. He wanted to create a free operating system as a hobby (as mentioned in this original email) as he wanted to make a Unix like operating system for the new 386 processors at the time.

From what Linus has said, he never expected its use to grow. Back in 1991, he could have never imagined that years later Linux would end up being the most used open-source operating system in the world.

When Linux first arrived, there was a steep learning curve, and it was mostly a hobby for enthusiastic engineers and computer science students who could contribute by developing code. It quickly became a platform for one of the largest communities for open-source contributors.

As open source was pretty new at the time, it was exciting to download the OS, test the features, write new features, and then share those with the open-source community to be tested and then rolled into the new product.

This meant that anyone could contribute to the product, which was basically a free UNIX like distribution. Linus started his work with a few files written in C.

From its humble beginnings, Linux evolved quickly to be a full operating system that directly manages a computer’s hardware and resources.

Linux today
Today, Linux is the most used open-source operating system in the world, and it powers most of what you see on the internet.

Currently, the Linux kernel contains about 23.3 million lines of source code, not including comments.

It started out as just a kernel, meaning you could boot up a machine and do a few things on it from the command line.

Back then, Linux had about 100 developers working on it, all donating their time to build it. Today, over 15,000 people contribute to the Linux kernel.

Linux is still very small in the desktop world, at around 2% market share, but 96.3% of the world’s top 1 million servers run on Linux.

How is Linux used?
90% of all cloud infrastructure and about 85% of all smartphones are based on Linux.
Also, about 25% of professional developers use Linux as their primary operating system.
Linux now runs most of the technology we see and use today, including some unexpected things.
In addition to public and private servers, Linux runs in NASA, space robots, gaming consoles, and the Large Hadron Collider — the world’s largest and highest energy particle collider. It also runs Roku and smart TVs as well as many other entertainment and smart devices.
Without Linux, we wouldn’t have technology interwoven into the world we know today. The Linux Operating system will continue to serve as an outlet for innovation for years to come. It embodies what it means to democratize technology skills as a free open source solution available to everyone.

What are the benefits of using Linux on desktop?
Linux isn’t only used on file servers in a data center. It’s also used for desktop computing.

One major benefit of using Linux on desktop is the cost. It can be pricey purchase new computers and new versions of Windows. But you can use Linux Desktop on old hardware and realize serious cost savings. When you pair a Linux desktop with free and open-sourced software such as OpenOffice and use it for documents or spreadsheets, you can realize substantial savings.

Also, since many applications are accessed via a web browser today, the underlying operating system becomes less important. There is no longer as much need to have the latest and greatest operating systems on the newest computers.

Linux OS can be found in many different settings, supporting many different use cases. Linux is used in the following ways:

Server OS for web servers, database servers, file servers, email servers and any other type of shared server. Designed to support high-volume and multithreading applications, Linux is well-suited for all types of server applications.
• Desktop OS for personal productivity computing. Linux is an open source and freely available desktop environment for users who prefer it to commercial OSes.
Headless server OS for systems that do not require a graphical user interface (GUI) or directly connected terminal and keyboard. Headless systems are often used for remotely managed networking server and other devices.
• Embedded device or appliance OS for systems that require limited computing function. Linux is used as an embedded OS for a variety of applications, including household appliances, automotive entertainment systems and network file system appliances.
Network OS for routers, switches, domain name system servers, home networking devices and more. For example, Cisco offers a version of the Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) that uses the Linux kernel.
• Software development OS for enterprise software development. Although many development tools have been ported to Windows or other OSes, Linux is home to some of the most widely used open source software development tools. For example, git for distributed source control; vim and emacs for source code editing; and compilers and interpreters for almost every programming language.
• Cloud OS for cloud instances. Major cloud computing providers offer access to cloud computing instances running Linux for cloud servers, desktops and other services.
• Linux is highly configurable and depends on a modular design that enables users to customize their own versions of Linux. Depending on the application, Linux can be optimized for different purposes such as:

networking performance;
computation performance;
deployment on specific hardware platforms; and
deployment on systems with limited memory, storage or computing resources.

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