Linux is a multi-tasking operating system for businesses, education, and individual programming. Linux is the name of the operating system kernel. Despite the fact that the kernel has a monolithic architecture and is not considered progressive, it supports most of the modern technologies and is multi-user and multi-tasking. Linux operating systems can be found everywhere – starting from the simplest smartphone and ending with the virtual backbone of the world of the Internet or the largest and most powerful computer. Linux belongs to the family of UNIX-like operating systems. It can run on Intel 80386, 80486, and Pentium computers. It is the flexible implementation of OS UNIX freely distributable under the general license GNU. People install Linux in the network of machines and use the operating system for data processing in finance, medicine, distributed processing, and telecommunications. This operating system is the third most popular. Nowadays, Linux is a good competitor to operating systems developed by giant corporations and it is still gaining popularity around the world.
It is rightly believed that Linux has two progenitors. It is the UNIX operating system and the project GNU. In the book A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it is mentioned that “The Linux operating system grew out of the UNIX heritage to become a popular alternative to traditional systems”. The first UNIX system was developed in 1969 in Bell Labs division of AT & T. At that time, AT & T company was prohibited from engaging in the computer business. In such a way, the UNIX operating system was distributed free of charge and its source code were open. This fact contributed to the spread of the system in the university environment and its rapid development. Students and professors added improvements to it and created utilities. Commercial companies developed clones of UNIX. The system rapidly gained popularity.
In 1983, the protocol stack of TCP/IP was implemented. It significantly expanded its networking capabilities. As a result, in the 80s, the intensity of the struggle between the manufacturers of UNIX reached a maximum. In 1983, the ban on the engagement in the computer business was canceled from AT & T. The company was engaged in the commercialization of its development. It closed source code of the system. Moreover, companies using these codes were subjected to the patent harassment. After several years, the development of UNIX virtually stopped. UNIX computers gave way to competing systems, such as MS-DOS and Apple Macintosh.
The second progenitor of Linux is the GNU Project by Richard Stallman. It originated in 1983. Its goal was to create a completely free operating system. The circumstances arising in 1982 were the impetus for the birth of the project. At that time, Richard Stallman worked in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The laboratory bought the commercial operating system. The terms of the licensing of the system applied restrictions on the distribution of the program source code. It significantly impeded the process of software development and required re-design of existing components.
Being a very talented programmer, Richard Stallman decided to begin the development of the GNU project. The author Christopher Negus mentions that “In 1985, Richard M. Stallman started the GNU project recursively named by the phrase GNU is Not UNIX”. Its goal was to create a Unix-compatible operating system, which would have kernel and all related utilities. There was also the possibility of free obtaining the source code of the project. All interested people were invited to participate in the project. The first program developed under the project was the text editor Emacs. In the book Red Hat Linux – Study Guide, the author states that “To organize the work on the GNU project, Stallman and other people created an organization, Free Software Foundation”. It was a charitable foundation for the development of free software. The next important step was the creation of the General Public License. The program could be run for any purpose. Anyone could redistribute the program having the opportunity to help others. It was possible to copy, modify, and transmit software released under this license.
By 1990, within the framework of the GNU project, there were most of the components required for the functioning of a free operating system. In addition to the text editor Emacs, Stallman created a compiler gcc and the debugger gdb. A library of C language and a shell BASH have been also developed. However, there was no kernel. At the same time, the Finnish student Linus Torvalds developed the kernel of Linux. It appeared at the right time. Nowadays, the symbiosis of these two developments is called GNU/Linux.
In his youth, Linus Benedict Torvalds had a personal computer based on the Intel 80386 processor with 4 MB of RAM and a clock speed of 33 megahertz. Impressed by Andrew S. Tanenbaum’s book – a developer of educational operating system Minix, Linus installed the operating system Minix on his computer. However, the young student was not satisfied with the system. Linus Torvalds did not like the work of the terminal, with which it was connected to a University computer and to the Internet. Linus began writing his terminal. After the terminal was ready, there was a problem with the downloading and uploading files. Thus, Linus had to write drivers for the floppy drive and then the file system, since there were problems with multitasking at the Minix file system. In such a way, there was a draft of the future operating system.
Linus Torvalds became interested in an idea of creating his operating system. On August 25, 1991, Torvalds wrote the e-mail in the mailing list of Minix members. He reported that he was developing the operating system and requested to specify the comments and suggestions from Minix users. This day is considered the birthday of Linux. On 5 October, Linus released the kernel of the version 0.2 and put the source code on the Internet. Many people were interested in this system. In 1992, the version 0.12 was released under license GPL. Linux became the property of the whole world. The version 0.96 was released in April 1992. Only two years later, there was the first stable release – the version 1.0. By this time, there were already thousands of people in the ranks of the developers. The system was developing dynamically. Industrial and small companies started to develop, sell, and add their versions of the open OS in their devices. There were Linux distribution disks.
Distribution disks of Linux is a set of software packages including the basic components of the operating system with the kernel Linux, some set of software applications and installation program that allows installing of the computer operating system GNU/Linux and a suite of applications required for a particular system application. In such a way, it is a complete, full-featured system that is already adapted for the usage by the end users. The first Linux distributions appeared soon after Linus Torvalds released the developed kernel under the GPL license. Some programmers have started to develop program installations and other applications, the user interface, and package management. They also released their distributions.
After the release of the version 1.0, the kernel continued its development in two branches. The first branch was stable recommended for wide use. The second was experimental. It was a test version, which included new features. The development of Linux gathered pace all the time. If the version 0.1 had only 8400 lines of code, the version 1.0 had already 170 000. In June 1996, the system supported multiple architectures and multiprocessing technology. Further development was mainly aimed at improving the performance and support of new technologies and hardware. At this time, Torvalds almost withdrew from the direct kernel development. His main responsibility was the management of the development process. In 1996, a symbol of the system appeared. It became a penguin Tux, the distinguishing feature of which – yellow legs and a beak.
Wide dissemination of the Linux operating system began with the appearance of a stable kernel version 2.2 in January 1999. It drew the attention of the producers of server applications, databases, Web-servers, and applications for all kinds of PC security. It largely happened due to the wide dissemination of the web server Apache. To date, about 65% of web-servers are running on operating system Linux. The infrastructure of the most popular search engine Google.com and a site wikipedia.org is built on the basis of multiple servers with Linux. It is clear that this system has a great future. In many countries worldwide, there is a process of implementation of Linux and free software at schools and public institutions.
What was conceived as a program for the connection to the university computer has turned into the most ambitious project of the world of free software. A model of the participatory development of open source software has proven its viability. An open source significantly reduces the cost of developing of closed systems for GNU/Linux and allows reducing the price of the solution for the user. My opinion is that it is a reason why the GNU/Linux has become a platform often recommended for many products. Linux operating system is the most popular project of the UNIX system. Today, the pace of the market development of this system is the most intense in comparison with other well-known operating systems. My opinion is that Linux has many advantages compared to other operating systems. These advantages include free distributions and programs, flexibility, modern design, and the presence of interesting things that distinguish it from other systems. It gives a user new experience. It is easy to use, has low system requirements, functional, and reliable.
Linux is a common name of the UNIX-like operating system based on the eponymous kernel, collected libraries, and system software. Linux has two progenitors – the UNIX operating system and the project GNU. GNU/Linux is not a product of a single company. It makes the operating system completely free. This fact gives many advantages to this operating system. This operating system has a great future.