Operating Systems – Linux

Running Head: Operating Systems – Linux Operating Systems – Linux Prepared by Jackie Riddick University of Phoenix November 18, 2007 Operating Systems – Linux Brief History. Linus Torvalds created the Linux operating system in 1991 while he was still a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He developed and released the Linux kernel under the GNU General Public License so that its source code would be free to all and others could modify it to meet their specific needs. The Linux kernel is “at the heart of all Linux systems” (linux. rg, 2007) and many companies and individuals have developed and released operating systems around this kernel. Unlike Microsoft operating systems, Linux is non-proprietary and the “GNU General Public license is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software–to make sure the software is free for all its users” (linux. org, 2007). The most recent release of the Linux kernel is version 2. 6. 23. Many people have developed Linux operating systems and have made it a “real alternative to Windows and UNIX systems” (cite). Windows continues to dominate the desktop market and UNIX – based systems dominate the server arena.

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Hardware Platforms. According to Linux. org, Linux is compatible with “most PC-based CPUs such as Intel, AMD, and Cyrix and non-PC based platforms such as Macintosh, Digital Alpha, and Sun SPARC” (linux. org, 2007). Some major corporations have embraced Linux because it is easy to use on larger systems that run mission-critical applications. This acceptance has led to Linux making major progress in enterprise. However, this acceptance has been mainly as a server platform because Linux was originally designed to improve upon the standards of a Unix-based server system called Minix.

The acceptance of Linux is growing in the server market but struggling in the desktop market and many businesses still resist adopting Linux based operating systems because: •Learning/training difficulty. •Lack of easily available technical support. •Too many versions. •Insufficient number of trained personnel. •Fragmentation of packages and installation routines. •Not enough business applications. •Suspicion that free software is not enterprise-class (Greiner, 2007) In spite of this resistance new Linux systems continue to be developed as well as new applications to address these concerns and issues, and growth continues.

This growth has apparently been significant enough to get Microsoft’s attention as it “is becoming ‘more open’ in terms of releasing a few protocols to developers and has demonstrated some license pricing flexibility, particularly for large government contracts. It has even announced support for Linux in its Virtual Server. ”(Greiner, 2007) Supported Applications. Numerous software applications have been developed specifically for Linux operating systems as well as for multiple operating systems including Linux systems. Most of these applications are released under the GPL and are free to the public just like the Linux kernel.

Indeed there are entire websites on the Internet dedicated to the further development of the Linux kernel and standardizing the various Linux operating systems, but because it is freeware there is no ‘official’ Linux website or organization. Sites such as Linux Online – www. linux. org, and Linux. com – www. linux. com are two of the many sites that provide a wealth of information about Linux in addition to download links for the kernel and applications. From utilities to entertainment software to office automation software, the number of applications for Linux continues to grow. Vendors.

Since the Linux kernel is open source many companies have created their own commercial distributions of Linux operating systems and in the process created a multi-billion dollar industry. Red Hat, Novell/SuSE, Mandriva, Linspire, and Xandros are a few of the numerous commercial Linux distributions. IBM’s z is another commercial Linux distribution. Dell recently started offering desktops and laptops with Linux pre-installed. Red Hat continues to be the industry leader in commercial Linux distributions. Outlook. The outlook for Linux and other open source software is extremely positive and industry adoption continues to grow.

The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) Group lawsuit against IBM claiming IBM put Unix technology into the Linux kernel has created a huge controversy and their claim is hotly contested by the open source community. Thus the lawsuit has not hindered the growth of Linux systems and applications. According to Greiner, more governments are mandating the evaluation of Linux alternatives to Microsoft operating systems to save money and that they believe open source systems to be more secure than Windows-based systems although that is debatable. In the desktop arena Linux is still behind Microsoft and Apple operating systems.

Linux may never totally usurp Microsoft, Apple, or Unix operating systems, but it has and will continue to put pressure on them to become more open with regard to source code. References Greiner, L. (2007, July). Linux operating systems. Faulkner Information Services. Retrieved November 16, 2007, from FACCTs database. Linux. com. (2007). What is linux. Retrieved November 16, 2007, from http://www. linux. com Linux Online. (2007). General info. Retrieved November 16, 2007, from http://www. linux. org Linux Timeline. (2006, May 31). Linux Journal. Retrieved November 16, 2007, from http://www. linuxjournal. com


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