Linux is an operating system based on the free software concept. The thoughts on creation of the Linux was developing since the success of UNIX. The UNIX operating system released in 1970 became influential to other system authors because of its availability and portability. From that time many developers are investing their time on projects regarding the creation of a UNIX-like system. The GNU Project, started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, had the goal of creating a "complete Unix-compatible software system" composed entirely of free software.
In 1991, in Helsinki, Linus Torvalds began a project that later became the Linux kernel. Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention Freax, a blend of "freak", "free", and "x" (as an allusion to Unix). He wrote the program specifically for the hardware he was using and independent of an operating system because he wanted to use the functions of his new PC with an 80386 processor. Development was done on MINIX using the GNU C compiler, which is still the main choice for compiling Linux today. Ari Lemmke, Torvald's coworker at the University of Helsinki who was one of the volunteer administrators for the FTP server at the time, did not think that "Freax" was a good name. So, he named the project "Linux" on the server without consulting Torvalds. Later, Torvalds consented to "Linux".
Torvalds first published the Linux kernel under its own licence, which had a restriction on commercial activity. In 1992, he suggested releasing the kernel under the GNU General Public License. Linux and GNU developers worked to integrate GNU components with Linux to make a fully-functional and free operating system.
Torvalds announced in 1996 that there would be a mascot for Linux, a penguin. The name Tux was suggested by James Hughes as derivative of Torvalds' UniX. Some Tux graphics are shown below.
The largest part of the work on Linux is performed by the community: the thousands of programmers around the world that use Linux and send their suggested improvements to the maintainers. Various companies have also helped not only with the development of the Kernels, but also with the writing of the body of auxiliary software, which is distributed with Linux.
The major Linux distributions are Debian, Fedora(RedHat), Gentoo Linux, Mandriva Linux, openSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu, Slax, Puppy Linux, PCLinuxOS, Linux Mint, Sabayon Linux, etc.
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