Linux #1 - About

By Pete | @kingpetey | 07 Oct 2002

This article will the first in a series of article explaining different aspects of Linux. I could spend hours talking about the history of Linux but you don?t really need to know it. This guide assumes a couple of things,
1. That you know how to use the basics of a computer including windows
2. You want to find out more about Linux.

I am no great Linux expert, however slowly over the last year I have picked up things from different sources, these include the web, books and people. Your first major leap when understanding Linux is value for money, you can download Linux for free if you like or you can buy it for a small price and get hundreds of packages with it which can cater for all your needs when using a pc. This is unlike windows where you end up with a computer full of cracked software or a large credit card bill.

Your next leap is that Linux doesn?t just come from one company, there are many companies that have their own versions of Linux, these are called distributions. Some of the most popular are Redhat Linux (www.redhat.com), Mandrake Linux (www.mandrake.com), SuSE Linux (www.suse.com) and Slackware Linux (www.slackware.com). Though all these distributions are similar they can have subtle differences, these will be explained more in a later article.

For those of you interested Linux started around 11 years ago by a Finnish man named Linus Torvalds as a project based on the Unix operating system. A team of programmers through out the world is constantly improving the kernel that Torvalds first wrote. What makes Linux different from its main rivals Microsoft is the fact that is an open source project, meaning that anyone get look at the original code behind the project. This many people argue is a good way of developing a program as anyone can contribute to a program to help fix errors in a program or add new functions however open source programs normally loose all commercial value when they go open source as anyone can get hold of the source code and compile the program for themselves.

One thing you will notice when browsing Linux related sites is the fascination with Penguins this is because the Linux mascot is a penguin named tux and rumour is it was because Linux Torvald was rather fond of the creators.

Another point to ponder is that Linux is not actually owned by anyone; Linux is constantly being improved and worked on by a number of people through out the world. Not even Linus Torvalds "owns" Linux. (However, the trademark "Linux" is owned by Linus Torvalds, so if you call something "Linux" it had better be Linux, not something else.)