About Linux
Section 1: About Linux NOW
Section 2: Linux History
Section 3: Linux Features


Linux NOW! was created by a group of students at the *California Institute of Technology to provide better access to Linux-related information. As experienced Linux users, we were often frustrated by the lack of a centralized database of Linux software that is browseable, fast, and efficient. Our Online Library is our attempt to make Linux software more accessible.

Linux NOW! was designed fully by *Hypertech Media, a web hosting and design organization run by Caltech students. All page design was done with *The Macromedia Freehand Graphics Studio. In particular, all digital images were created with *Macromedia xRes. Yes, these are Windows NT programs (unfortunately, you can't use Linux for everything). All programming for the file library and benchmark area were done with GNU g++ in C++ using *XEmacs on a Pentium 133 with 64MB of RAM. Currently our site is run by the Apache Web Server housed at *Vservers. Comments may be addressed to webmaster@hypertechmedia.com.

The Definitive Sunsite Catalog:
File LibraryThe Linux NOW! library is an automated catalog of the sunsite archive which is mirrored throughout the world. The Linux NOW! software queries sunsite every day and generates the content for the site automatically. Therefore you can be sure that the file information on Linux NOW! is current and relevant.

Reliable Benchmark Results:
BenchmarksOur benchmark area provides Linux users with a reliable and fast means to compare system speeds. Anybody can submit results to Linux NOW!, please visit our submission page for more information.

Complete Documentation:
FAQs and HOWTOsThe Documentation Archive is our attempt to consolidate the vast amount of Linux documentation currently available on the network. The archive is the first comprehensive collection of Linux documentation that is browseable, searchabe, and up to date.

The Linux Forum:
BenchmarksThe exclusive Linux Forum is an interactive knowledge base in which users can post questions and have them answered by experts who frequent the site. The forum is categorical and searchable, and it will even email you if your post gets a response!

Linux NOW! is always growing:
We plan to greatly enhance and expand all of the areas of Linux Now to make sure it always contains the most useful and high quality information available.


What is this thing called Linux?

The roots of Linux can be traced back to the origins of UNIX. UNIX began as the first real attempt to create a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system. This work began in the last 1960's at AT&T Bell Labs by Ken Thompson and *Dennis Ritchie who first coined the name UNIX. Soon after, Ritchie rewrote UNIX in his new language C which greatly eased the operating system's portability to other platforms. The most familiar incarnations of UNIX today include BSD ("Berkeley System Development" developed by the University of California at Berkeley), SCO's XENIX, SunOS for SUN systems, Mach for NeXT machines, and Linux for Intel based PCs, DEC Alphas, Sun SPARCS, Amigas, Ataris, and PowerPCs.

As mentioned, Linux is a member of the UNIX family. Originally, Linux was a hobby project of *Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He based the project loosely on the small MINIX operating system. The first official version of Linux, version 0.02 (Linux is now on release version 2.0) which ran on the 80386 platform. Although the system could only run bash and gcc, it marked a major step in creating a multi-user, multi-tasking and highly stable OS for PC's. Linux reached version 1.0 in 1994 and version 2.0 was officially released recently.

An important aspect of Linux is that it was programmed completely by UNIX experts and programming studs around the Internet and much of the discussion took place on newsgroups. Linux contains no AT&T code. Today, a lot of the application development is done by the *GNU project at the * Free Software Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Much thanks and appreciation should be extended to the numerous programmers who have worked hard to make Linux the best operating system for a multitude of computing platforms!


What makes Linux so great?

  • It's a fully 32-bit protected mode OS that provides amazing stability.
  • Multi-User extensions found on typical Unix style servers.
  • Highly stable built in networking such as:
    • TCP/IP for internet communications.
    • IPX, NETBEUI, Appletalk compatibility.
  • Built in compatability to DOS FAT, Win95 VFAT, and many other filesystems.
  • Linux is free (GPL) to anyone who wants to download it. It can also be purchased through retail channels on archive CD's.
  • Fully supports the X Window system and a plethora of X software has been ported to it.
For another introduction to the Linux Operating System, please see linux.org. For more information how to obtain and install Linux, see our Installation Page.

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