An Introduction To Linux


What is Linux ?

Linux is a free (GPL Licensed), from scratch operating system based heavily on the POSIX and UNIX API's. It supports both 32 and 64 bit hardware and provides a stable multiuser internet ready operating system.

Linux itself is not Unix, although many people call it that and you would be very hard pushed to tell the difference. This is because the Unix trademark is specific to systems that meet a complex set of X/Open standards and has a cost. Some Linux vendors however are working on "Unix" branding.


Some of the many applications for Linux are: X11 Desktop, File server, Computing Backend, Web Server, Usenet News, Terminal Server, FTP Archive, and Firewall.


Linux uses internet and industry standard components and protocols giving a system with complete network integration. The operating system can act as a server for most major file serving protocols, and provide all the major internet applications. The *X window system provides a networked and platform independant graphical interface that (unlike proprietary user interfaces) allows one desktop to access applications running on multiple machines across local and wide area networks.

Linux is normally obtained as a "distribution". This is a combination of the Linux operating system kernel and other tools, utilities and applications. Some of these are available for free over the internet, and others on CD-ROM. Because Linux itself is free software that can be freely copied, many distributions are available both over the internet and sold on CD-ROM with added convenience and support.

A wide selection of distributions are available.



Return to Index
These pages are held by *CymruNET Ltd
Page maintained by: Alan.Cox@linux.org