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Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux

Linux (/ˈlɪnəks/ (About this sound listen) LIN-əks) is a family of free and open-source software operating systems built around the Linux kernel. Typically, Linux is packaged in a form known as a Linux distribution (or distro for short) for both desktop and server use. The defining component of a Linux distribution is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Many Linux distributions use the word "Linux" in their name. The Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to refer to the operating system family, as well as specific distributions, to emphasize that most Linux distributions are not just the Linux kernel, and that they have in common not only the kernel, but also numerous utilities and libraries, a large proportion of which are from the GNU project. This has led to some controversy.

Linux was originally developed for personal computers based on the Intel x86 architecture, but has since been ported to more platforms than any other operating system. Because of the dominance of the Linux kernel-based Android OS on smartphones, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems. Linux is also the leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers, and the only OS used on TOP500 supercomputers (since November 2017, having before gradually eliminated all competitors). It is used by around 2.3% of desktop computers. The Chromebook, which runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS, dominates the US K–12 education market and represents nearly 20% of the sub-$300 notebook sales in the US. Linux also runs on embedded systems, i.e. devices whose operating system is typically built into the firmware and is highly tailored to the system. This includes TiVo and similar DVR devices, network routers, facility automation controls, televisions, video game consoles and smartwatches. Many smartphones and tablet computers run Android and other Linux derivatives.

The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open-source software collaboration. The underlying source code may be used, modified and distributed—commercially or non-commercially—by anyone under the terms of its respective licenses, such as the GNU General Public License.

Some of the most popular and mainstream Linux distributions are Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo Linux, Linux Mint, Mageia, openSUSE and Ubuntu, together with commercial distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Distributions include the Linux kernel, supporting utilities and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project, and usually a large amount of application software to fulfil the distribution's intended use. Desktop Linux distributions include a windowing system, such as X11, Mir or a Wayland implementation, and an accompanying desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE Plasma; some distributions may also include a less resource-intensive desktop, such as LXDE or Xfce. Distributions intended to run on servers may omit all graphical environments from the standard install, and instead include other software to set up and operate a solution stack such as LAMP. Because Linux is freely redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any intended use.

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The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system kernel. It is the namesake of the Linux family of operating systems. Released under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) and developed by contributors worldwide, Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software.

The Linux kernel was initially conceived and assembled by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Early on, the MINIX community contributed code and ideas to the Linux kernel. At the time, the GNU Project had created many of the components required for a free software operating system, but its own kernel, GNU Hurd, was incomplete and unavailable. The BSD operating system had not yet freed itself from legal encumbrances. This meant that despite the limited functionality of the early versions, Linux rapidly accumulated developers and users who adopted code from those projects for use with the new operating system.

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Linus Torvalds.jpeg

Linus Benedict Torvalds About this sound pronunciation  (born December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish software engineer best known for initiating the development of the Linux kernel. He now acts as the project's coordinator.

Torvalds attended the University of Helsinki from 1988 to 1996, graduating with a master's degree in computer science. His M.Sc. thesis was titled Linux: A Portable Operating System.

After a visit to Transmeta in late 1996, he accepted a position at the company in California, where he would work from February 1997 through June 2003. He then moved to the Open Source Development Labs, which has since merged with the Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation, under whose auspices he continues to work.

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...you might as well skip the Xmas celebration completely, and instead sit in front of your linux computer playing with the all-new-and-improved linux kernel version.
— Linus Torvalds,

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Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark"

Ubuntu 17.10, the latest Linux Ubuntu distribution.

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