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What Is Linux?
In the beginning...

Linux is a robust, secure, highly efficient, stable operating system. In 1991, Linus Torvalds, a then 21 year college student from Finland, decided that he wasn't pleased with the Operating System that came with his computer (Microsoft DOS). He decided to write his own. A few months later, Linux was born. Linus had an interest in Minix, a small UNIX system, and decided to develop a system that exceeded the Minix standards. He began his work on the first version 0.02 and worked steadily until 1994 when version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel was released. The current full-featured version is 2.2 (released January 25, 1999), and development continues.

Linux is developed under the GNU General Public License and its source code is freely available to everyone. This however, doesn't mean that Linux and it's assorted distributions are free -- companies and developers may charge money for it as long as the source code remains available. Linux may be used for a wide variety of purposes including networking, software development, and as an end-user platform. Linux is often considered an excellent, low-cost alternative to other more expensive operating systems.

Linux is being further developed by a loosely knit team of talented programmers working from all over the world. Linux works on almost every kind of computer in existance, and provides a robust platform for a wide variety of applications. One can download it off the internet at no charge, pass on copies to friends, and even modify its internals. This 'freeness' has been one of the most critical reasons for its success, and is turning heads in the industry and mainstream media.

Diversity is a key word when talking about Linux. Not only does Linux run on very different hardware, but it can talk to a wide variety of networks. Linux is at home with tcp/ip, novell netware, appletalk and is even comfortable with Microsoft Networking and some of the more obscure protocols. Linux is actually the name for the kernel (the core part of the operating system that is responsible for critical things such as memory and file management). A lot of what gives Linux its edge (such as the gcc compiler and the bash shell) come from the GNU project. GNU is also responsible for the license that Linux is distributed under. Even though Linux is really just a kernel, most people associate it with a complete package.

Who is Tux?

Linux has an official mascot, the Linux Penguin, called Tux, which was selected by Linus Torvalds to represent the image he associates with the operating system he created. See him smiling below...

Hi, I'm Tux! Nice to meet you :)

Linux Distributions

There are several Linux Distributions for you to choose from. Below you will find the most popular ones.

Mandrake Linux Mandrake: User friendly and fast (Pentium optimizations), Mandrake features many graphical interfaces (KDE, Gnome, WindowMaker, AfterStep, IceWM...) and is also compatible with RedHat Linux.

Slackware Slackware: Since its first release in 1992, Slackware has been built with ease of use and stability as top priorities. Including the latest popular software while retaining a sense of tradition, providing simplicity and ease of use alongside flexibility and power.

Ksi-Linux Ksi-Linux: KSI Linux (current release is 2.0) is a powerfull well build distribution with support for both russian, english and ukranian languages.

Stampede Linux Stampede Linux: Stampede GNU/Linux is a high performance distribution which seeks to provide a high-quality computing environment through focus on stability and compatibility. Hardware-optimized ports are currently available for i586 (compatible) and Alpha processors; each port includes the most current stable versions of all packages. Ideal for nearly any environment.

Storm Linux Storm Linux: Storm Linux is a Debian-based distribution designed for the desktop and network markets. Its install program balances ease of use with flexibility. Tools are under development to allow remote administration and the quick, simultaneous creation of text and graphical interfaces.

Caldera OpenLinux Caldera OpenLinux: Caldera Systems, Inc. is the leader in providing Linux®-based business solutions through its award-winning OpenLinux line of products and services. OpenLinux is a full-featured, "Linux for Business" solution that expands Internet/intranet, network and desktop capabilities.

Debian Debian: Debian is a distribution that carries on the traditions of the kernel that gave it life. Debian comes with over 2250 packages -- all of it free -- all of it maintained by volunteers -- none of it with a commercial agenda.

Corel Linux Corel Linux: Experience Linux® performance built specifically for the desktop with Corel® LINUX® OS. Based on Debian, this powerful system delivers an incredibly easy-to-use, four-step graphical installer that automatically detects most PCI hardware. Featuring a KDE-based, drag-and-drop desktop environment and an innovative browser-style file manager, Corel LINUX OS is an exciting development.

SuSE Linux SuSE Linux: SuSE Linux includes over 1500 applications. With the new graphical installation tool, users can be up and running Linux on a drag-and-drop desktop in under 20 minutes. Advanced features include hardware acceleration for 3D graphics chips and a journaling filesystem. Based in Nuremberg, Germany, SuSE Linux is the most popular distribution in Europe.

MkLinux MkLinux: MkLinux takes advantage of the Mach Kernel abstraction to run on HPPA, Intel, and PowerPC. MkLinux will run on almost all Macintoshes, with new support added every week. MkLinux is based on Red Hat with a new kernel for more hardware support.

Red Hat Linux Red Hat Linux: Founded in 1994, Red Hat is a leader in the development of Linux-based operating system (OS) software and services. Based in Durham, N.C., Red Hat builds Red Hat Linux which is available for Intel, Compaq Alpha and Sun SPARC platforms. Red Hat is the most popular distribution in the U.S.

Yellow Dog Yellow Dog: Yellow Dog Linux takes advantage of the most current, stable, and secure Linux kernel and libraries, and best of all, some of the fastest hardware on the planet -- Apple G3s, G4s and PowerPC computers (including IBM RS/6000 model B50 ("Pizzazz"), F50, and 43P-150.)

Phat Linux Phat Linux: Phat Linux is one of the best Distributions of Linux for new users. It is easily installed on your DOS or Windows partition. It comes with many popular programs, including the popular desktop enviroment KDE preinstalled.

Other Linux Distributions;

You can download Linux from FTP servers too...


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