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Linux

From Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia written in simple English for easy reading.

Linux operating system
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Linux operating system

Linux is an open source operating system for computers. The operating system of a computer is the basic instructions that tell the electronic parts of the computer what to do and how to work. "Open source" means that everyone can see how it works and change it if they want to.

One of the only downsides is that a lot of the important software made for computers is made for Windows only because it is more popular. There is lots of different software for Linux and since Linux is open source it means that most of the software for it is open source too, and free. This is one of the main reasons why some people like to use Linux more than Windows.

[edit] How Linux was made

In the 1980s, many people liked to use an operating system called Unix. But because they had to pay to use it, some people tried to write a new operating system that would work like Unix but would be open source.

A group of people called the GNU project wrote many different parts of the new operating system, but there was nothing that brought it all together. Then in 1991, a Finnish man named Linus Torvalds wrote the most basic part of the operating system (kernel), that would combine with their work to make a full operating system. Linus called it "Freax" for "free" and "freak", using an X because it is popular in naming projects that are like Unix. The name Linux came from the name of the computer folder that his files were put in, which was named by Ari Lemmke.

Because of the way that the new operating system was created by combining the work of the GNU project and Linus Torvalds, many people say that it's better to use the name GNU/Linux, but most people just say "Linux".

Since then, thousands of developers and companies have worked to make Linux better.

[edit] Tux the penguin

Tux the penguin
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Tux the penguin

The mascot of Linux is a cartoon penguin named "Tux". When you see the penguin on software and hardware, it means that it will work with Linux, and sometimes all systems that are like Unix.

The idea of the penguin came from the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds. The image was made by a man named Larry Ewing in a competition to create a logo. The image, Tux, did not win, but it was picked as a mascot later.

Tux has now become a symbol for Linux, and sometimes even for open source. He can be seen in many different places and when people refer to Linux, they think about Tux. Tux has even been made into its own video game where you move a Tux penguin down an icy slope.

[edit] Linux distributions and software

Another Linux operating system
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Another Linux operating system

People who want to get Linux can download it from the Internet or buy it from a store or a website. Sometimes books and magazines about Linux have a CD with Linux on it. Any certain version of Linux is called a "distribution", or "distro". A Linux distribution includes the basic Linux operating system, along with some extra programs that help the Linux to do different jobs. Different distributions include different extra programs. Some distributions which are used by many people include:

You may have to pay a small amount for a distribution, to pay for the CD-ROM and to help the company to make their distribution better. In most cases where you have to pay, you are paying for the company to help you after you install it, which is known as "support".

Software for Linux includes: