What is Linux?

Linux (pronouced lih-nucks) is an open source operating system (OS) based on Unix. The development of the Linux kernel was started in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, then a graduate student at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He posted the 0.02 version of his code on the schools ftp server and invited other programmers to comment on his work.

In true open source fashion the ftp administrator thought the name Freax (from Free and Unix) which Torvalds had chosen, reeked so badly that it must be changed. He decided that Linus and Unix combined as Linux was a better name and arbitrarily changed it (Torvalds had used the name during development on his machine but thought it too egotistical for public release). Several people not only commented on the code but made improvements and returned them to Torvalds. Thus Linux was born. A great deal of code from the MIT based Free Software Foundations GNU project and others was added around the Linux kernel resulting in a full featured OS based on source code that is freely available to the public. Something that was previously unheard of in the computer industry.

Today millions of computers run what is considered by many to be the most scalable and flexible OS ever written. Thousands have contributed to the project and much of the Internet runs on this software. While Linux is most often used on servers or embedded systems there is a nascent movement afoot to use Linux on the desktop as a replacement for the monopoly OS that dominates that space today. Linux runs on everything from set-top boxes (like TiVo) to handhelds to supercomputer clusters and mainframes. Most Hollywood CGI studios operate on Linux, it has even been used in Space Shuttle missions. Weather.com, Amazon.com, Google and Akamai all rely on Linux. IBM, Compaq, SGI and other computer firms install and fully support it.

Utilizing Linux, file and print services for Windows and Macintosh can be seamlessly integrated into existing networks and best of all there are no license fees to pay. Sound like a dream come true? Just wait, there's more. Linux can also run your domain, act as a firewall, handle mail, databases and integrate legacy mainframe systems.

What can LUGOJ do for you?

If you are a do-it-your-self person, our group will help you get started. If you need professional services our list membership contains many companies and people who can help you for a fee. Membership in our group and meetings are free. All we ask is that you share your knowledge and skills in customary open source fashion. You are invited to join our mail list and attend our meetings. There is always a spirited discussion going on about current computer topics from hardware to software to programming to networking and more.