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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Linux and the Open Source movement

~ Contributed by Prabhu Shiv Singh ~

It's techno-geek saying "hello" again.........

The Windows Operating system is ubiquitous in the computer world. There is no 10 yr old kid who does not know how to find his/her way around Windows. We have seen so many versions of it : Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

But there is another revolution sweeping the computer world. It started in the 1990s and is stronger than ever. Its called Linux. Linux is an operating system that is a direct descendent of the Unix operating system.

Why is Linux so special? Because it is open.

Let me explain.

The source code for the Windows Operating System is proprietary, i.e. no one can contribute to it because it is closed. But Linux is open. Anyone and everyone around the world can view the source code and contribute his/her little tweaks and patches to improve it. Linux is an ever-evolving operating system constantly being improved by the open source community - a totally peoples' software...

Linux was born in 1991 when a 21 year old computer science student in the University of Helsinki by the name of Linus Torvalds broke down the Unix kernel and wrote his own variant. Well the inspiration behind making it free goes like this, Linus Torvalds parents were members of the Socialist Party in Finland. They believed in a free and open society. Linus used this philosophy to propagate his software.

Linux has swept the world. All major companies around the world are using it and funding its development. IBM, Google and Amazon,all use Linux based servers because of their speed and robustness. Linux is an extremely stable and secure operating system. Like all great inventions, this too had its critics writing it off as obsolete and insignificant, but it has come out strong and competitive,ready to take the lead.

The logo of Linux is Tux - the penguin. It symbolizes the cool, carefree attitude of the open software movement which has captured the fearless imagination of the software world.

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