General Question

Behi's avatar

What is Linux ?

Asked by Behi (11points) August 9th, 2010

I want to have basic information about linux and open source softwares.

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9 Answers

Vortico's avatar

In a nutshell, Linux is a free Unix-like open source operating system that users have the ability to improve the source but not profit from it. The majority of web servers around the world use Linux, and distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora are common among desktop machines.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Linux is basically the core (kernel) of a range of operating systems.

Ultimately, it’s not a thing you describe, more a thing you do. This site has some useful information.

linuxgnuru's avatar

It was created by Linus Torvalds who wanted to have Unix (a commercial and very expensive operating system) at home and for others to use; thus Linus’ Unix was born (Lin- Ux)

davidgro's avatar

Without getting into semantic arguments about kernel-vs-OS…

It’s a system that does the same kind of things as Windows or Mac OS, such as managing programs and hardware, and presenting a desktop, taskbars, etc, but it does it in a different way from how they do.

It was mostly written by programmers For programmers, so there are a lot of rough edges still. also most “Distributions” of Linux don’t cost anything, but some charge for support or custom utilities. It’s not true that you can’t profit from it. (it’s just hard to)

I love it myself because it’s so possible to modify (even without coding) but it can take a Lot of effort to get it working, and working the way you want (if you aren’t lucky.) I have long claimed that the attribute you need most to get much out of it is not intelligence but stubbornness (and skill at Google)

Edit: I should also mention that once it is working, it can be very easy to use. You still have access to programs like Firefox for example. I have set it up for people not particularly computer-savvy and they have had few problems, and none of the viruses/trojans and such that they got from Windows.

Ivan's avatar

Combined with GNU, Linux is an operating system, similar to Windows or Mac OSX. It’s free and open source.

phaedryx's avatar

Slightly offtopic story:

When I was in college, our linux club invited Richard Stallman to come speak. The club put up fliers all over campus advertising the event. After RMS arrived, he went around campus pulling the fliers down because they said “sponsored by the linux club” rather than “sponsored by the GNU/linux club.”

Open source software is software where the “source” code from which the software was created is freely available and can be distributed with the software itself. It is often free (no cost), but also free (you can do things with it like make modifications, improvements, etc.).

Ivan's avatar


That’s pretty hilarious. Stallman is a nut. A genius, but a nut.

phaedryx's avatar

I didn’t hear him speak because I didn’t find out about it until afterwards. He took the fliers down in the building I would’ve seen them in.

Ivan's avatar


I just think he’s jealous of all the praise that Linus gets. Maybe the public would be more willing to give him some credit if he weren’t such a tinfoil-hat-wearing weirdo.

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