A trademark for an open-source version of the UNIX operating system.
An open source operating system that is the most widely used OS worldwide. Linux runs on all major hardware platforms, including x86, ARM and IBM mainframes, as well as minor ones. Based on the design principles in Unix, Linux runs in most of the servers on the Internet and in nearly every consumer electronics product controlled by a microprocessor (see embedded Linux). Linux is known for its stability because its Unix-like architecture keeps applications isolated from the core operating system. See Unix.Except for Apple and Microsoft products, Linux is the OS in every smartphone and tablet (Apple's iPhone/iPad iOS is based on Unix). As a personal computer OS, Linux has a tiny market share compared to Windows and Mac, but it is steadily growing due to Google's Chrome OS (see Chromebook).Hundreds of DistrosLicensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), Linux is "the" flagship product of the open source community. Numerous groups modify Linux for various purposes, and there are literally hundreds of versions, known as "distributions" or "distros." Most distros are free, and all use the Linux kernel (the core of Linux). Commercial organizations, such as Red Hat and Suse, sell Linux with tech support for a fee. Linux is also IEEE compliant (see POSIX). See Linux distribution, open source and GNU General Public License.Desktop vs. ServerThe many desktop distros of Linux come with an assortment of free and mostly worthwhile applications, and many more are available for download. Linux versions of word processing, spreadsheets, paint and drawing apps, media players and video editors are full featured programs that often rival their Windows and Mac counterparts. In contrast, server versions of Linux are typically used in a headless mode (no mouse, no keyboard) and include administration and networking tools rather than user productivity apps. See package manager.Not Just One User InterfaceLinux employs the X Window rendering system to create the basic window, but desktop versions of Linux rely on third-party user interfaces to display the borders, buttons, menus, icons and desktop that users manipulate. KDE and GNOME are two of the most popular, and both may be included in a distro. See X Window, KDE and GNOME.From Unix to Minix to LinuxIn 1990, Finnish computer science student Linus Torvalds created Linux. He was inspired by Minix, a classroom teaching tool similar to Unix. Although Torvalds created the kernel, many of the supporting libraries, utilities and applications have come from the GNU Project, which is why Linux is often designated as GNU/Linux. Over the years, a huge number of programmers have contributed. Torvalds maintains the kernel, and Linux is his registered trademark.Linux Is Really "Lee-Nooks"The most common pronunciation is "lynn-icks." However, because in Finnish, Linus is pronounced "lee-noose," Torvalds named it "lee-nooks." It may also be called "line-icks" as many people call Linus "line-iss." See embedded Linux, Minix, Ubuntu, SuSE Linux, UnitedLinux, CoreOS, OS virtualization, GNU, open source, Linux Foundation, Trinux, SCO and Red Hat.
An operating system widely used on Internet servers and embraced by large corporations as an alternative to the Microsoft operating system software. Linux was named after a Finnish man, Linus Torvalds, who started the community development process of this UNIX-compatible operating system. Linux is also viewed as an alternative to commercial flavors of UNIX.
A UNIX-like computer operating system (OS) developed by Linus Torvalds, and numerous collaborators worldwide, that was designed to run on PCs powered by Intel processors. Linux is free, open source software that anyone can modify, although at one's own risk. Many companies package the Linux kernel with a number of utilities and other programs into commercial versions that include documentation and support. See also kernel, open source, OS, program, UNIX, and utility.