Linus Benedict Torvalds, born December 28, 1969, is a Finnish American genius and humanitarian, who is known the world over as the Creator and Principal Developer of the Linux Kernel. The concept of Open Source, which made it possible for the poorer majority of the human population to participate triumphantly in the Digital Revolution, is largely due to this man (and the FSF, or Free Software Foundation). Linux has had an enormous influence on the progress and development of programming languages to the stage it is today. This article is meant to be an introduction to linux.
In 1991, while still a student at the University of Helsinki, the idea of Open Source inspired young Linus. In the mode of UNIX and similar to MINIX, he created a new FREE operating system Kernel. The Linux Kernel has since been growing constantly. It was developed using Intel processors on PC hardware. Since then, it is ported to several hardware platforms when compared to different operating systems. It can comfortably run on embedded systems or on older hardware. It is reliable, stable, and secure. The First version of Linux was released by Red Hat Enterprise on February 22, 2000. It was then titled “Red Hat Linux Advanced Server”. Version 2.4 was released by Linus Torvalds personally on January 4, 2001. Incidentally, the Source Code for Linux is under copyright by its many individual authors, and is licensed under GPLv2 license.
What Can Linux Do?
Open Sourced and Free, Linux can do the following (which its proprietary sourced competitors, like Windows, cannot):
- You can run Linux without restarting it for several years.
- There is no registry for fragmentation, no weakening memory management problems and no unnecessary corporate software.
- When using Linux, the User is in complete control. It never does anything that is mandatory. It does not force the User to restart, patch or update.
- Linux does not deteriorate with time. It can therefore be trusted in devices that run with little or no supervision. A good example is a Satellite.
- Updating of software may sometimes require shutting down and restarting the machine. Linux can update almost any software on the machine, without shutting the machine down or restarting it. This includes patches and minor Operating System version updates.
- Because the Open Source Linux carries out its entire development process in the open, with constant scrutiny by its vast battery of Users and Backers, it can be proved that Linux is completely free of Backdoors and Trackers. With each release people make a point of viewing all the changes and analyzing the function of the OS as whole. This is the reason why, the Open Source Firefox is better for the User’s privacy, than a Closed Source browser than Chrome.
- Linux can be adapted for new purposes by individual Users, as well as, large corporate houses. This is because of the freedom granted to alter the code, to anyone, by Torvalds and the Linux Foundation. Now Linux runs User’s Home TVs, the DVR, and Router, as well as Train, Airplanes, Air Traffic Control, and possibly almost all of the Power Grid that supplies Electricity to everyone. Servers for almost all websites will be run by Linux, and there are even more applications in the new discipline of Data Science. This is because Linux is extremely reliable and predictable, does not cost anything and is totally free (to change or alter the code).
- Linux can be rewritten, modified, explored and redistributed as the User intends. This is done under an easily understandable equal-share license, for which no law degree is required; there are no contracts, and no messy protracted legal actions.
- Linux is able scale powerfully. In-fact, over 99% of the top 500 super computers run on Linux.
There are many Applications that Linux can do, which its proprietary source competitors cannot do. These are some of the examples:
- Virtual Desktops: This feature allows the user to call up several Desktops using a single screen. Windows need to have multiple physical screens and the few apps which permit it are very limited.
- File Unlinking: In Windows it is not possible to delete or unlink a file if it is in use, but Linux permits it.
- USB Layer: This is easy with Linux Kernel, but very difficult in Windows.
- Crash Reports: When there is an undecipherable crash, even Microsoft offers a blue screen, and very patchy back-tracing. Linux back-traces fully, with amazing ability to store the system as it was post-debugging.
- GUI (Graphical User Interface): Windows has gradually struggled to shed the GUI. But Linux and UNIX have been functioning without a GUI for the last 30 years, and do not need it today.