Linux: an operating system for everyone

What is Linux ?

Linux is a freely available UNIX-like operating system originally developped for Intel-based personal computers. With millions of users worldwide, it has grown to be the most popular operating system for software development and servers.

Multi-user, multi-tasking

Using Linux, dozens of people can work on a single computer. Linux supports true preemptive multi-tasking. Many processes can run independently on a single processor or even on a multi-processor architecture. Each process runs in its own protected area of memory. Linux uses memory protection so no process can access memory assigned to another process or to the kernel. A misbehaving program can therefore not crash the entire system.

Compatible with the POSIX 1003.1 standard

The POSIX 1003.1 standard defines an interface to operating systems. Linux fully supports this standard. This means that any program which is written to adhere to the standard is easily ported to Linux.

High efficiency and stability

One of the best qualities of Linux is its stability and efficiency. A computer running Linux can remain running for many months or even years without crashing, freezing or needing a reboot. During that time, the computer can perform many tasks for many people; quickly and without using much memory or CPU power. In fact, a large part of the Internet is serviced by old 486 boxes running Linux.

Architecture independent

Since its original release, Linux is ported to many other hardware platforms. It now runs on Intel, MIPS, Alpha, Sparc, PowerPC, M68K and many others. A program originally written for an Intel PC will probably compile and run on a Sparc, a PowerPC or any other architecture.

Includes functionality of UNIX System V and BSD 4.3

Does not require extensive hardware

Large parts of Linux software are developed by students who can not afford to buy the most powerfull computers. It is probably for this reason that the opertating system has a modest requirement for resources. Even an Intel 80386 with 4 Megabytes of RAM is sufficient to run Linux.



History of Linux

Why use Linux ?


Obtaining Linux

Linux Application areas

Linux is less suitable for

Linux Downsides

Linux Cost and Maintenance


The very heart of Linux is the kernel, a piece of software that runs the machine and provides system resources to the application programs.

Available Applications

Over 6000 application files.

Online documentation

Easily extendable (SGML, troff, html)

References and links, nllinux, slashdot,, news: comp.os.linux.*, linux.* (Uitzoeken)