Intoduction To Linux

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[edit] What is Linux?

Linux is the name used to describe a free distribution of software including the GNU/Linux operating system that you can download, install, run, and modify. Officially Linux is just the kernel, but common use of the term has moved on to mean the entire system. Generally a Linux distribution will come with everything you need to use your computer, and almost all of them are completely free!

[edit] Where did Linux Come From?

Until the 1980's software was generally shared and worked on by many people. In the 1980's companies began to sell software and not give users the source code. This made some people angry because it meant they no longer had control and couldn't fix issues in the software they now had to buy. Richard Stallman is one of those people and he decided to start the GNU project - its goal to develop an entirely free operatating system for everyone to use, share, and contribute to. In 1991 a student at the university of Helsinki helped to start the last piece of that puzzle - the operating system kernel called Linux, and today we have all this software that millions of people around the world have created and shared for free. Many people even get paid to work on free software, and in fact you might be surprised to learn that IBM, Redhat, Google, HP, and others are paying some of their employees to do just that.

[edit] Where is the Catch?

There is no catch. As a user you are expected to be a part of the community, report problems and fix things if you have the ability to. Some people write code, some create artwork, some write documentation and help files, some work on website, and others translate programs to other languages. You are not obligated to do anything, however, and are free to use and modify all of this free software in any way you wish. The only catch when modifying the software is that you have to give everyone else your modifications so that everyone benefits from everyone else's work. See The GNU Philosophy.

[edit] How Easy is Linux to Use?

The common myth is that Linux is hard to install, hard to use, and has no games. While there may be some truth to the issue of not having the same number of games available as Microsoft Windows, with the advent of Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSe and other desktop-oriented Linux distributions installing and using Linux has become a breeze. Nearly anyone with a little computer knowledge can go to e.g. http://www.ubuntu.com and download a disk image to burn, boot, and install. Every year Linux gets easier to install and use. You might also be surprised to find out that Unreal Tournament 2004, Doom 3, Quake 4, Enemy Territory, and other games have Linux versions.

[edit] But I love Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X

That's perfectly okay. Keep using them. Just know you have another option available, especially when it comes time to upgrade. Linux is about community, about being open and sharing and about helping others. Because of this, there is no central person or company you have to pay to upgrade Linux, and you can upgrade all the software on your machine in one easy click. Best of all everything is totally free so you can try it whenever you like and it costs you nothing but a bit of your time.

[edit] Where can I Learn More?

[edit] Where can I Download Linux?

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