Zero Administration Linux
| Free Software Historic Archive
| Old Versions
Linux is a freely-distributed operating system originally created by
Linus Torvalds. Developed under the GNU General Public License,
the source code for Linux is available to everyone. As a result of this
availability, other developers have taken the Linux source code
and created a variety of different Linux distributions that have
slightly different functionality from each other. The number of Linux users
is estimated by different sources to 10-27 million. Very likely the actual
number is in the upper part of this range.
Among its many benefits are:
- Open Source: Distributed in source form and in easy-to-install
- Enormous flexibility: Linux runs on numerous systems ranging
from small embedded systems through normal PCs, servers, and workstations
up to systems which rival the power of large supercomputers. Additionally
it can be extended with realtime capabilities and be used in
- Many applications available. Most of them are free and
of excellent quality. Some applications that cost real money on other
systems are available for free on Linux!
- Thousands of Unix applications run flawlessly under Linux,
if the source code is available. If it isn't, then the application
probably runs with the help of an emulator (iBCS).
- No trouble and no limitations with software licenses.
- Installation can be fully automated.
- No dependency on a single software vendor.
- It's not limited to PCs. If you want to get a high-end workstation
(Sun, Compaq, SGI, HP, IBM), a Mac, Atari, Amiga or an Acorn you can
have the environment you're used to on these systems too.
- Very stable and reliable. It is in use in high-end systems
with millions of HTTP hits per day, mail servers with over 100000
emails per day, and fast SMP machines (servers and workstations).
- If you don't need absolute stability and want to experiment,
you can get the latest development kernels and patches.
- Compliant with all relevant open standards. Linux does not
introduce any proprietary standards that reduce compatibility with
- It is developped at a fast pace, and is the leading operating
system from a technical point of view. Meanwhile it has also become the
fastest and most reliable operating system for PCs.
- High security: Due to the multiuser concept every program can run
with the least set of rights it needs. Availability of all sources makes
the system comprehensible, and backdoors are impossible.
- It is perfect for low cost router or realtime systems.
- It can be fully administered remotely and therefore run without
monitor or keyboard. This can save costs in several ways: hardware cost
and cost for personnel for administration.
- Most customizations can be done via simple changes in
configuration files and don't require a reboot.
- Several journaling file systems are available.
And a few disadvantages:
- Support of the newest hardware can be lagging. But it depends
on the manufacturers will and ability to provide drivers.
- Few big commercial games (but see my
Linux Games page).
- No homogenous look&feel of the GUI. Different desktops like KDE,
GNOME and others can coexist, but as soon as programs from different
are used simultaneously, one again has different look&feel. Also this
will increase memory requirements.
- Windows programs don't run under Linux. (Some programs do run
under the free Windows emulator Wine).
Though from my point of view this is one of its greatest advantages...
The nice little penguin Tux, unofficial mascot of Linux 2.0, can be found
Larry Ewing's Home Page.
Created by hjb