Linux is a relative newcomer to the operating system scene. It is based on Unix technology developed as part of a programmerís dream of freeware operating systems that people could download, analyze, change, and then re-distribute.
The first Linux systems were completed in 1992 by combining system utilities and libraries from the GNU program which was another freeware based operating system. Since then, Linux has gained the support of corporations like IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, and Novell.
Linux is predominantly known for its use in servers. It is used as an operating system for a wider variety of computer hardware than any other operating system. Linux is used on desktop computers, super computers, mainframes, and embedded devices such as cell phones. It is packaged for different uses in Linux distributions which contain the Linux kernel along with a variety of other software packages tailored to specific requirements.
Many people feel that Linux is only for use by computer experts. This thought came about because many mainstream computer magazine reporters cannot explain Linux in simple terms. This is mainly because they lack experience using the system.
While Linux is growing in popularity, adoption of it as an operating system by regular computer users has not been as easy as its developers had hoped. Thatís because changing over from another operating system like Windows is often difficult. Plus, many software programs are designed to run on Windows only. However, significant progress continues to be made towards hardware compatibility.
Advocates of the Linux operating system say it is one of the most exciting products in the computer industry today. It is a secure system, low cost, and provides an outlet from vendor lock-in.
Linux was originally developed as a freeware product and remains free in most cases. However, some corporations have established business models that involve selling, supporting, and contributing to Linux and free software. A number of companies offer a specialized version of Linux which adds support packages to the system software.
Another advantage of Linux is that the desktop software that is in high demand is usually of high quality. This includes word processing programs, spreadsheets, e-mail clients, and web browsers. They have software applications that are comparable to such products as Microsoft Office and more.
If you are a gamer, you will find some restrictions when it comes to software programs that will run on the Linux system. While progress is being made to make gaming software compatible with the Linux system, there still are relatively few games that can be played on a Linux operated computer.
Many experts say that Linux is the future of computer operating systems. With the near monopoly of Microsoft Windows, this is generally thought of as a great indicator that people will have many more choices in the future when it comes to their computers.