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Linux is a "FOSS" unix-like operating system kernel, probably the most successful and famous non-proprietary kernel. Linux is NOT a whole operating system, only its basic part -- for a whole operating system more things need to be added, such as some kind of user interface and actual user programs (so called userland), and this is what Linux distributions do (there are dozens, maybe hundreds of these) -- Linux distributions, such as Debian, Arch or Ubuntu are complete operating systems (but beware, most of them are not fully FOSS). Linux is one of the biggest collaborative programming projects, as of now it has more than 15000 contributors.

Linux is written in the C language, specifically the old C89 standard, as of 2022 (there seem to be plans to switch to a newer version). This is of course good.

Linux is typically combined with a lot of GNU software and the GNU project (whose goal is to create a free OS) uses Linux as its official kernel, so in the wild we usually encounter the term GNU/Linux. Some people just can't be bothered to acknowledge the work of GNU and just call GNU/Linux systems "Linux" (without GNU/). Fuck them. Of course people are like "it's just a name bruh, don't be so mad about it" -- normally this may be true, however let's realize that GNU mustn't be forgotten, it is one of the few projects based on ethics while "Linux" is a shitty fascist tranny software hugely leaning to the business/open-source side. For the sake of showing our preference between those sides we at LRS often choose to call the system just GNU, i.e. by its original name.

Linux is sometimes called free as in freedom, however it is hardly deserving the label, it is more of an "open-source" or FOSS project. Linux is in many ways bad, especially lately. Some reasons for this are:

Nevertheless, despite its mistakes, GNU/Linux offers a relatively comfy, powerful and (still) safe Unix/POSIX environment which means it can be drop-in replaced with another unix-like system without this causing you much trouble, so using GNU/Linux is at this point considered OK (until Microsoft completely seizes it at which point we migrate probably to BSD or GNU Hurd). It can be made fairly minimal (see e.g. KISS Linux and Puppy Linux) and LRS/suckless friendly.

Linux is so called monolithic kernel and as such is more or less bloat. However it "just works" and has a great hardware support so it wins many users over alternatives such as BSD.

Some alternatives to Linux are:


Many people nowadays use the word Linux to refer to any operating system running on Linux, even though they usually mean GNU/Linux.

One of the basic mistakes of noobs who just switched from Windows to "Linux" is that they try to continue to do things the Windows way. They try to run Windows programs on "Linux", they look for program installers on the web, they install antiviruses, they try to find a GUI program for a thing that is solved with 2 lines of shell script (and fail to find one), they keep distro hoppoing instead of customizing their system etc. Many give up and then go around saying "brrruh, Loooonix sux" -- yes, it kind of does, but for other reasons. You're just using it wrong. Despite its corruption, it's still a Unix system, you do things elegantly and simply, however these ways are naturally completely different from how ugly systems like Windows do it. If you want to convert an image from png to jpg, you don't need to download and crack a graphical program that takes 100 GB and installs ads on your system, you do it via a simple command line tool -- don't be afraid of the terminal, learn some basic commands, ask experiences people how they do it (not how to achieve the way you want to do it). Everyone single individual who learned it later thanked himself for doing it, so don't be stupid.


{ Some history of Linux can be read in the biography of Linus Torvalds called Just For Fun. ~drummyfish }

Linux was created by Linus Torvalds. He started the project in 1991 as a university student. He read a book about operating system design and Unix and became fascinated with it. Then when he bought a new no-name PC (4 MB RAM, 33 MHz CPU), he install Minix on it, a then-proprietary Unix-like operating system. He was frustrated about some features of Minix and started to write his own software such as terminal emulator, disk driver and shell, and he made it all POSIX compliant. These slowly started to evolve into an OS kernel.

Linus originally wanted to name the project Freax, thinking Linux would sound too self-centered. However the admin of an FTP server that hosted the files renamed it to Linux, and the name stuck.

On 25 August 1991 he made the famous public announcement of Linux on Usenet in which he claimed it was just a hobby project and that it "wouldn't be big and professional as GNU". In November 1991 Linux became self-hosted with the version 0.10 -- by the time a number of people were already using it and working on it. In 1992, with version 0.12, Linux became free software with the adoption of the GPL license.

On 14 March 1994 Linux 1.0 -- a fully functional version -- was released.

TODO: moar

See Also

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