family of Unix-like operating systems that use the Linux kernel and are open source / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux or GNU/Linux is a Unix-like operating system (or family of) for computers. An operating system is a collection of the basic instructions that manage the electronic parts of the computer allowing running applications and programs. The Linux kernel (the basis of the operating system) is free software, meaning people can use it, see how it works, change it, or share it.

Quick facts: Developer, Written in, OS family, Working sta...
Tux the penguin
Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux[1]
Written inPrimarily C and assembly
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Source modelMainly open source, proprietary software also available
Initial release1991; 32 years ago (1991)
Marketing targetPersonal computers, mobile devices, embedded devices, servers, mainframes, supercomputers
Available inMultilingual
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux kernel)
user interface
LicenseGPLv2[2] and other free and open-source licenses, except for the "Linux" trademark[lower-alpha 1]

There is a lot of software for Linux and—like Linux itself—a lot of the software for Linux is free software.

The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel,[4][5][6] an operating system kernel that Linus Torvalds developed, at first alone.[7][8][9] Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short). Distributions also include supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project.

Popular Linux distributions[10][11][12] include Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu. Commercial distributions include Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. Desktop Linux distributions include a windowing system such as X11 or Wayland, and a desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE Plasma. Distributions intended for servers may omit graphics altogether, and include a solution stack such as LAMP. Anyone may create a distribution for any purpose.

Linux was originally developed for personal computers. Linux is the leading operating system (OS) on servers such as mainframe computers, and the only OS used on supercomputers[13] (at least on the TOP500 list, since November 2017). It is used by around 2.3% of desktop computers. The Chromebook, which runs Chrome OS based on the Linux kernel, dominates the US K–12 education market and represents nearly 20% of sub-$300 notebook sales in the U.S.

Linux also runs on embedded systems, which are devices whose operating system is typically built into the firmware and is highly tailored to the system; this includes mobile phones (especially smartphones),[14] tablet computers, network routers, facility automation controls, televisions,[15][16] digital video recorders, video game consoles and smartwatches.[17] In fact, the Android operating system, a mobile operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems.[18] In March 2017, it was reported that there were more users on Android than on Microsoft Windows, which is not based on Linux.[19]

Linux is an example of free and open-source software collaboration. The source code may be used, modified and distributed—commercially or non-commercially—by anyone under the terms of its respective licenses, such as the GNU General Public License.