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Linux Operating Systems

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By collini8
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Linux Operating System
Mark Stansbery
POS/355
Alicia Pearlman
May 5, 2012

Linux is an operating system just like Windows, and MAC OS, but more along the same lines of the UNIX operating system, because they have some of the same features. Out of the three most popular operating systems, Linux is surprisingly enough is the least popular. It is growing in popularity as more and more systems start to use it, but it still has a long way to go. The information that follows will give some of the history behind Linux and the features, benefits, and drawbacks to the system. In 1986, Linus Torvalds began to learn, quite extensively, hardware programming to help him with his Sinclair computer. He developed a floppy controller driver as well as a programming tool to help him with his efforts to better understand and improve the performance of his machine. In 1991, Torvalds got his first 386-Intel based PC, which ran a version of UNIX called Minix. Minix was developed as a learning system and was very popular in the universities. Torvalds found out very quickly that he did not like the Terminal emulator that was provided, and since the source code for Minix was open source, he began a project to develop his own code to design an improved emulator that provided more functions especially on a hardware level. As he further developed the code and more functionality was added Torvalds decided that his design was more on the lines of an operating system instead of just a utility. Although the code was derived from Minix the Kernel was developed from scratch as to not violate any of the licensing agreements. On September 17, 1991, the very first version of Torvalds operating system was finished and was named “Freax.” After further developments based around the GNU Shell bash and the GNU C-compiler Freax was renamed Linux. Prior to the release of this new operating system in August of the same year, Torvalds presented his project to the public, asking for suggestions from other programs on what features they would like to see in this new creation. The software was hit with developers because the open source code allowed for easy development of new features. That in itself is one of the benefits of the Linux Operating system. Now we can look at some of the features, advantages and disadvantages to this software. As stated before the software has an open source platform, which means anyone can modify the code to serve their own needs. Versions like Fedora, Red Hat, and MandrakeSoft are companies that have modified the code for specific needs of their clients and have made a profit from the sale of these products. Other developers also modify the code to suit the needs of others, but distribute their versions free through downloads. So the fact that anyone can make modifications to this software without violating any license laws makes it very appealing to developers. However because each version is suit to address the needs of other individuals and is not always programmed by the same developer, most of these versions do not share the same characteristics. Now because the software is open source, the idea that came up was that any redistributions of the software should be free. As mentioned before there are companies that do license their version, but that is also allowed. For the most part the Linux OS will run on just about anything, from a MAC to a PC and even on smartphones and game consoles. However, there is limited third-party support for hardware and software using the Linux OS, because of its lack of popularity. So a good portion of your popular applications will not run on this platform. This also means that it could require a great deal of computer knowledge just to install the software on your machine. Some of the other features that are offered in Linux are Multi-user/Multi-tasking. This means that unlike traditional Operating systems like Windows, there can be multiple people running multiple programs all at the same time. This is why this OS is good for servers and server applications. Was it mentioned that it is free? Not only is Linux and open source operating system, it is distributed free to its users. For this fact alone, one would think that this would be a very popular OS. However, most people, other than developers don’t even know of the existence of Linux. The system has the potential to explode on to the market at any time as more features and third party support is developed.

References: www.ehow.com/about_5070893_linux-operating-system.html www.operating-system.org/betriebssystem/_english/bs-linux.htm

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