Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system family which uses the Linux kernel. Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software and open source development, typically all the underlying source code can be freely modified, used, and redistributed by anyone.
Predominantly known for its use in servers, it is installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from embedded devices and mobile phones to supercomputers.
The name "Linux" comes from the Linux kernel, originally written in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. The system's utilities and libraries usually come from the GNU operating system, announced in 1983 by Richard Stallman. The GNU contribution is the basis for the alternative name GNU/Linux.
The creation of the Linux kernel
In 1991, Torvalds began to work on a non-commercial replacement for MINIX while he was attending the University of Helsinki, which would eventually become the Linux kernel.
Contributions from GNU
Linux was originally dependent on the MINIX user space and had a license that prohibited commercial distribution. In 1992, with version 0.12 of the Linux kernel, Torvalds initiated a switch from his original license to the GNU General Public License. Various Linux distributions (Slackware, Debian, Red Hat, and others) combined Linux and GNU code to make a fully functional and free operating system
Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU project, and Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel
Commercial and popular uptake
Main article: Linux adoption
Today Linux is used in numerous domains, from embedded systems to supercomputers and has secured a place in server installations with the popular application stack. Linux use in home desktop and enterprise desktop has been rapidly expanding and now claims a significant share of the desktop market.
Linux has also become popular with the newly founded netbook market, with many devices such as the ASUS Eee PC and Acer Aspire One shipping with...