What is Linux? Spontaneous yoga of help

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Leo Radutz
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14 minute
Scris de 
Leo Radutz
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Motto: Know the whole story, before you judge by appearances.

The fragrance of freedom...

Linux is a form of... Friendship

or even fascinating brotherhood among millions of people and is the most notorious manifestation of the impulse of fraternal help that can manifest spontaneously and perseveringly.

A shield of simple and well-intentioned people against the New World Order.

He is based on a copy of the UNIX operating system

It has been rewritten from scratch to eliminate the need to pay the license.
However it is based entirely on commands and "look and feel" UNIX, so who knows Linux knows and UNIX and vice versa.

Linux is a multiuser and multitasking system, meaning more users can run multiple programs at the same time.

It has network support (TCP/IP), Internet, even is one of the most used operating systems for internet and intranet servers.

Linux is the core (kernel) that underpins a family of extremely large operating systems globally. Linux is the kernel that "feeds" nowadays operating systems such as:

  • Ubuntu (for desktop systems)
  • Android (for smartphones, smartwatches, car software, etc.)
  • Kali Linux (Hacking and Penetration Testing)
  • CentOS (for server part)
  • Debian
  • Mint
  • PClinux
  • Knoppix
  • Mepis

Linux was inspired by another operating system namely Unix, extremely popular in the 80s. Unix is another family of operating systems, etc., similar to Linux.

Operating systems based on Unix are:

  • macOS – Apple OS for laptops and Desktops
  • iOS – Apple OS for smartphones and tablets
  • IBM – some of IBM's software is built on Unix
  • pfSense – the most used OS firewall for securing networks

Linux is under GPL license which means the following:

- is available in free source code.

- anyone who wants to make changes, or use certain parts is free to do so, but provided that the new product obtained is under the same license (i.e. to be free and with sources in sight).

Brief History

1. How Linux appeared

It was 1991 and, in the field of computers, where a great future was foreseen, three camps had appeared:

- Bill Gates's camp with his DOS originally bought from a hacker in Seattle for $50,000 and who had supremacy in the vast empire of personal computers spread across the world thanks to a clever marketing campaign.

- Apple Mac computer camp that was better, but with astronomical prices were intended for people more "gifted".

- Unix operating system camp with lower price than Apple's, but expensive enough to keep away most of the wishers. The source code of Unix, once taught in universities due to the kindness of Bell Labs, was now carefully guarded and not made public.

A solution seemed to have appeared in the form of MINIX. It was written from scratch by Andrew S. Tanenbaum, a Danish professor born in the United States who wanted to show his students the inner mechanisms of a real operating system. It was running on the Intel 8086 microprocessors that had flooded the market.

As an operating system, MINIX wasn't a great one. It had the advantage of the source code made public. Whoever got Tanenbaum's Operating System book came into possession of 12,000 lines of code, written in C and assembly language. For the first time, an aspirant to the title of programmer or hacker could read the source code of an operating system,which software merchants did not want. Tanenbaum had captivated minds with the elaborate discussion of the art of creating a functioning operating system. Computer science students from all over the world stormed the book, reading the lines of code that made the operating system running on their computers work. One of these students was Linus Torvalds.

2. New baby on the horizon

In 1991, Linus Torvalds was a second-year computer science student at the University of Helsinki and a self-taught hacker.
The 21-year-old liked to play with the power of computers and the limits to which the system could be pushed.

Until 1991, the GNU project created many tools. The long-awaited C GNU compiler was already available, but there is still no operating system. Even MINIX had to be licensed. The works were in full swing at the GNU HURD kernel, but it was not due to appear until a few years later. That meant too much to Linus.

On August 25, 1991, the message history was sent by Linus to the MINIX discussion groups.

From: Linus Benedict Torvalds
Newsgroup: comp.os.minix
Subject: What would you like to see most in minix?
Summary: small survey for my new operating system
ID-Message: <>

Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki

Greetings to all who use minix.
I'm building an operating system (free) (just a hobby, it's not going to be as big and professional as GNU) for AT 386 clones (486).
I've been working on it since April and it's almost done.
I would like to receive feedback with things that like / do not like in minix, because my operating system is somewhat similar to minix (the same structure of the file system (due to some practical reasons) among others). I ported bash (1.08) and gcc (1.40), and things seem to work out. That means I'm going to get something practical in a few months and I wanted to know what else people would like to contain. Any suggestion is welcome, but I don't promise to implement it. Linus

P.S. Yes does not contain minix code and has multi-threaded fs. It's not portable (uses task-switching 386 etc.) and probably won't support anything other than AT hardisks, because that's all I have.

As is understood from the message, Linus himself did not believe that his system would be good enough to change the world of computer science for all the time.

Linux v 0.01 was released in mid-September 1991 and was put on the net. Enthusiasts gathered around this young man and the codes were downloaded, tested, modified and returned to Linus. 0.02 appeared on October 5th, along with this famous statement by Linus.

From: Linus Benedict Torvalds
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: Kernel sources similar to free minix for 386-AT
ID-Message: <>
Date: 5 Oct 91 05:41:06 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki

Do you mourn the beautiful days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own drivers?
Are you deprived of a beautiful project and you're dying of the impatience to stick your teeth into an operating system that you can modify according to your desires?
Do you find it frustrating when everything goes on minix?
Aren't there people who stay all night to make a schedule run?
Then this message is for you.
As I mentioned a month ago (?), I'm working on the free version of a clone-minix for AT-386 computers.

It has finally reached the stage where it can be usable (although it may not be what you want) and I agree to make the sources public for a wider distribution. It's only version 0.02 (+1 (very small) patch), but I successfully run bash/gcc/gnu-make/gnu-sed-compress etc under it. Sources for this small project of mine can be found at nic.funet.fi ( in the directory /pub/OS/Linux.
The directory also contains some files READ ME and some binaries to go under Linux (bash, update and gcc, what you can ask for more ...)

Find all the kernel sources, no minix code was used. The sources of the bookstores are only partially free, so they can't be distributed at the moment. The system is capable of compiling as-is and it is known that it works. Heh. Sources for bash and GCC can be found in the same place in /pub/gnu.

Linux version 0.03 appeared in a few weeks. In December, version 0.10 appeared. Linux was only in a skeletal form. They only had support for AT hard drives, had no login (boota directly in bash). Version 0.11 was much better, providing support for multilingual keyboards, floppy drivers, support for VGA, EGA, Hercules, etc. Version numbers went from 0.12 directly to 0.95 and 0.96 and so on. Soon the code was accessible to the world via FTP sites in Finland and elsewhere.

3. Confrontation & Development

Soon Linus faced none other than Andrew Tanenbaum, the great teacher who had written MINIX.

In a message to Linus, Tanenbaum comments:

They still claim that creating a monolithic kernel in 1991 is a fundamental error. Be thankful you're not my student. You wouldn't get a high grade for such a design.

Linus later admitted that it was the hardest moment in Linux development. Tanenbaum was a famous teacher and what he said definitely mattered. But he was wrong about Linux, because Linus was a stubborn guy who wouldn't accept defeat.

Tanenbaum also said that: Linux is outdated!.

It meant the turning point for the new generation of Linux.

Backed by the Linux community, Linus replied to Tanenbaum:

"Your job is to be a teacher and a researcher. It's a damn good excuse for the brains destroyed by MINIX."

And the work continued. Soon more than 100 people joined the Linux camp.

Then thousands. Then hundreds of thousands. It wasn't just a hacker's toy anymore.

Having a lot of programs from the GNU project, Linux was ready for launch.

It was licensed under the GNU General Public License, thus ensuring the possibility of copying, studying and changing the source code.

Students and programmers got their hands on him.

Soon, the merchants appeared, but Linux was and is free.

Then the merchants compiled different programs and collected them in a distributable format, similar to the other operating systems with which people were familiar.

Red Hat, Caldera, Debian and several other companies have received favorable responses from many users around the world.

With the new graphical interface (like X-windows, KDE, GNOME) Linux distributions have become very popular

At the same time amazing things were happening with Linux.

Besides PC, Linux has been ported on different platforms.

Linux has been modified to run on Palm Pilot computers from 3Com. Cluster technology has made it possible to combine a large number of Linux machines into a single entity.

In April 1996, researchers at the Los Ahamo National Laboratory used Linux to run 68 PCs as a single parallel processing machine to simulate atomic shock waves

But unlike other computers that cost a fortune, it was cheap.

The supercomputer cost only $152,000, including work (connecting the 68 computers) just a tenth of the price of a commercial supercomputer.

It reached a speed of 19 billion calculations per second, becoming the 315th most powerful computer in the world, and it was a robust one. Three months later there had still been no need to be restarted.

The best thing about Linux nowadays is the large number of fanatical supporters

As a new hardware appears, the Linux kernel is modified to take advantage of it.

For example, a few weeks after the advent of the Intel Xeon Micropocisor, the Linux kernel was modified and was ready to use it.

It has been adapted to run with Alpha, Mac, PowerPC and even palmtops processors, hardly matched by any other operating system. And he continues his journey into the new millennium with the same enthusiasm that began on a beautiful day in 1991.

As for Linus, he remains a simple man

Unlike Bill Gates, he's not a billionaire.

After completing his studies, he moved to the United States and joined Transmeta Corporation. After a top-secret research and development project, Transmeta launched the Cruuse processor.

Linus was an active member of the research team. Recently married to Tove, he is the father of a little girl, Patricia Miranda Torvalds. But he remains the most beloved and most famous programmer of all time.

4. Linux today

Proving that all the warnings and prophecies of the skeptics were wrong, Linux has fulfilled many years of development.

Today, Linux is one of the fastest growing operating systems in history. From a few devoted fanatics in 1991-92 to millions of users today, it's a truly remarkable journey.

The big companies discovered Linux and spent millions of dollars to develop it, destroying the myth that the open-source movement is anti-business

The IBM Corporation, once considered the enemy of the open-source hacker community, has taken a step forward by massively funding Linux-based projects. But what's really amazing is the very large and growing number of developers working with fervour to improve Linux.

The development effort is not, as the lawyers of the closed code argue, "totally gripped by chaos."

A well-structured development model overseen by a few maleners is adopted. Besides, there are thousands of developers working to port different applications on Linux.

Commercial enterprises no longer distrust Linux

With a lot of merchants offering support for Linux-based products, the risk of using Linux in the office has disappeared.

As for reliability

Linux proved it during the attacks of the CIH virus in 1999 and the "love virus" a year later, during which Linux-based computers proved to be immune to the damage caused by these viruses, simple by the way.

Start-ups, like Red Hat, get favorable answers when they show up. And even after the boom of dot-coms, these companies continue to thrive. With this increased confidence, many companies large and small have adopted servers and linux-based workstations.

The appearance of the Linux Desktop

What is the biggest dissatisfaction with Linux?

Maybe in the past it was a text-based interface that scared a lot of users.

Text mode provides total control, such as the explanation given by numerous hackers and advanced users. But for the millions of ordinary users, it's a big effort in the direction of learning the system.

The existing X-Windows system and window managers did not live up to the expectations of ordinary users.

This was one of the main arguments made by those who were going to the Windows camp.

But things have started to change in recent years.

The appearance of KDE and GNOME desktops, with their professional look, completed the painting. The latest versions of these desktops have changed for the better the general perception regarding the ease with which Linux is used.

Although users complain that much of the purity of hacker culture has been lost, this change in people's mentality has increased the popularity of Linux.

5. Linux in the World of Development

Perhaps the biggest change is the spread of Linux among users in underdeveloped countries. In the days before Linux, developing countries were far behind in the field of computers. The cost of components fell, but the price of software was a big burden on poor enthusiasts in Third World countries. Desperate, they resorted to hacking all kinds of programs. Piracy has caused billions of dollars in damage. But still, the price of commercial products was well above the powers of those in developing countries. For example, an operating system costs at least $100. But in countries where per capita income is 200-300 doldrums, that means a lot.

The emergence of Linux and other open-source products changed everything

Because Linux can run even on computers with very few resources, it has become a suitable alternative for users with little money. The ancient 486/Pentium1 computers that have become history in the developer world are still used in developing countries.

Linux has made it possible to unleash the full potential of these computers. The use of open-source software has also spread and, as proof of the global nature of Linux, localized distributions have appeared in the most obscure parts of the world.

Linux documentation now includes documents written in almost all major languages, as well as in minor languages such as Vietnamese.

6. From Desktop to Super-Computers

When Liux was first designed by Linus Torvald, it was just a hacker's hobby. But Linux has come a long way since the first Intel 386 car that ran the first kernel. The most notable use of Linux today is in the field of supercomputers and parallel calculations.

7. The journey continues

Linux's journey from a hacker's project to globalization has been more of an evolutionary experience.

The GNU project, started in 1980 by Richard Stallman, has laid the foundation for the development of open-source software. Professor Andrew Tanenbaum's operating system, MINIX, brought the study of an operating system from the theoretical base to a practical one. And finally, Linus Torvalds' limitless enthusiasm for perfection gave birth to Linux.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have formed a global community that cared for him and made him a glorious place in the annals of the computer revolution. Today Linux is not just a hacking project of any student, it is a worldwide phenomenon bringing together companies like IBM and millions of people from all over the world in the spirit of the open-source software movement. In the history of computers, it will remain as one of man's most amazing achievements.

8. TUX Penguin: Linux Logo

The Linux logo is a penguin. Unlike other commercial operating systems, Linux does not have a formidable symbol that looks serious.

Rather Tux, as the cute penguin is called, symbolizes the carefree attitude of the whole movement.

This cute logo has a very interesting history. At first no logo had been selected by Linus for Linux. Once, Linus went on vacation in the southern hemisphere. There he met a penguin, similar to the current logo. Trying to caress him, he was pinched by the penguin's hand. This funny incident led to the selection of the penguin as the logo for Linux some time later.

9. A few curiosities on Linux

Here are some famous words belonging to Linus Torvalds:

(Linus Torvalds, in kernel/sched.c)

How do I know if it works? That's what beta testers are for. I just wrote the code..

(Assigned to Linus, somewhere in a post)

I'm a complete idiot. That took at least five minutes to find out....

(Linus' response to reporting a bug) < br / > If you want to go around the world and be invited to talk in a lot of places, just write a Unix operating system..

(De Linus Torvalds)

Besides the fact that it has a cool name, can someone explain to me why I should use Linux instead of BSD? No, that's it. The name, that's it. I worked hard to create a name that is liked by most users and it was definitely worth it: thousands of people use Linux just so they can say OS/2? Ha! I have Linux. What a cool name. 386BSD made the mistake of putting a lot of strange numbers and abbreviations in their name and scares a lot of people because it sounds too technical.

(Linux Torvalds answering a question about Linux)

The day Linux is served better by someone else, I will abdicate. I don't think it's something that people should worry about. I don't see that happening in the near future. I like to work at Linux, even if it means some work and I have not received complaints (some shy reminders about a patch that I forgot or ignored, but nothing negative so far). The top doesn't mean, the day someone complains, I'll stop working. I'm pretty hardened (Lasu, who reads over my shoulder says stubborn would rather be the right word) to endure criticism. If I wasn't, I'd stop the day I was ridiculed on comp.os.minix. I mean, although Linux is my child, I don't want to get in the way of those who want to make something better out of it (*). Hey, maybe I should ask for a holy robe from the Pope. Does anyone know his e-mail address? I'm so cool, you want to throw up..

(Taken from Linus's answer given to someone worried about the future of Linux)

When you say 'I created a program that killed Windows', people stare and say 'Hey, I got them with the system, *for free*'.

There are currently estimated over 8 million Linux users

and the core of Linux has over 200 authors. In addition to these 200 authors should be added the several thousand people who test and find bugs.

What type of computer can Run Linux ?

To run Linux you need at least one i386 computer with 4 Mb RAM and 50 Mb free space on the hard drive.

If you want to use the X-Windows system, the minimum RAM is 8 MB.

Some complex programs may require a lot of memory. Linux has the ability to simulate RAM using a hard drive swap file, but it is much slower.

In addition, excess memory is used to speed up disk operations, so the more RAM, the more Linux your Linux is. performs better.

Where can you get Linux? How much does it cost?

There are several Linux distributions (Slakware, RedHat, Debian, SuSe, ...)

A distribution represents the Linux kernel along with certain configuration files and certain programs.

They differ only in the way of installation and maintenance.

These distributions can be downloaded free of charge from the Internet. However for those who do not have access to the Internet, CDs can be bought containing these distributions at prices between $30 -$50. These prices represent the cost of processing the CD, shipping fees, etc.

Programs available under Linux:

Most Linux distributions include compilers for various programming languages, network utilities (email, telnet, ftp, www), document creation and handling, printing, archiving, and more.

Besides these there are available on the Internet a wide variety of programs, some free, others not, and more recently the big software houses have started to port their software on Linux.

Here are some examples:

  • Libre Office, Open Office (verysimilar to MS-Office, free for non-commercial use)
  • WordPerfect (Known word processor, also available under Linux)
  • Firefox (formerly Netscape), Opera (Web browsers)
  • Oracle (databases)
  • Mathematica (symbolic calculation and not only)
  • GIMP for graphic processing
  • Inkscape for vector graphics
  • Audacity for sound processing.


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