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Linux

The GNU Operating System


By Jeanette A. Russo

My Resume

Linux is the free clone of the UNIXOperating System. Unix was invented by Ken Thompson Bell Labs as a research operating System. Linux runs on the x86 Processor, Intel, AMD, Cyrix. Linux is Open Source which is why I like it. Linux can be modified by anyone who has the source code. Linux can be downloaded for free but is available for a nominal fee on CD-ROM.

Linux was developed in 1992 by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki in Finland, as a class project to develop a better version of MINIX which was used at the time to teach UNIX to students. MINIX was created by Andrew Tanenbaum who was a well known Computer Science professor and an expert in operating system design. There was at the time, a series of famous debates between Torvalds and Tanenbaum regarding who had the better kernel design.

What's up with all these Penguin's you ask? His name is Tux. The Penguin is the mascot of Linux. Why a Penguin? I am not sure but I think Linus Torvalds got bitten by one when he was at a zoo once, or something like that. Well that's a funny story so I put it in here but here is the real one. The following is a quote from Linus Torvalds:

Now, when you think about penguins, first take a deep calming breath, and then think "cuddly". Take another breath, and think "cute". Go back to "cuddly" for a while (and go on breathing), then think "contented". With me so far? Good.. Now, with penguins, (cuddly such), "contented" means it has either just gotten laid, or it's stuffed on herring. Take it from me, I'm an expert on penguins, those are really the only two options. Now, working on that angle, we don't really want to be associated with a randy penguin (well, we do, but it's not politic, so we won't), so we should be looking at the "stuffed to its brim with herring" angle here. So when you think "penguin", you should be imagining a slighly overweight penguin (*), sitting down after having gorged itself, and having just burped. It's sitting there with a beatific smile - the world is a good place to be when you have just eaten a few gallons of raw fish and you can feel another "burp" coming. (*) Not FAT, but you should be able to see that it's sitting down because it's really too stuffed to stand up. Think "bean bag" here. Now, if you have problems associating yourself with something that gets off by eating raw fish, think "chocolate" or something, but you get the idea.

Ok, so we should be thinking of a lovable, cuddly, stuffed penguin sitting down after having gorged itself on herring. Still with me? NOW comes the hard part. With this image firmly etched on your eyeballs, you then sketch a stylizied version of it. Not a lot of detail - just a black brush-type outline (you know the effect you get with a brush where the thickness of the line varies). THAT requires talent. Give people the outline, and they should say, sickly sweet voice, babytalk almost "Ooh, what a cuddly penguin, I bet he is just stuffed with herring", and small children will jump up and down and scream "mommy mommy, can I have one too?". Then we can do a larger version with some more detail (maybe leaning against a globe of the world, but I don't think we really want to give any "macho penguin" image here about Atlas or anything). That more detailed version can spank billy-boy to tears for all I care, or play ice-hockey with the FreeBSD demon. But the simple, single penguin would be the logo, and the others would just be that cuddly penguin being used as an actor in some tableau.

Linus

We also have to mention Richard Stallman who created the Free Software Foundation. Stallman created the Copyleft which is the license that makes the software free and open and is the heart of the Open Source movement. Stallman believes all software should be Free

A good place to read up about Linux is Linux Online and Linux.com A good place for some technical help getting you started is The Linux Newbie Also there are some good Linux Tutorials. Also Josh's Linux is a very helpful site for a new user. Here is a One Page Linux Guide Which is great for quick reference. You can find some very helpful information about some common Linux configuration issues at Linux Troubleshooters I also have to mention The FAQ's Frequently asked questions, although they can be a bit terse for a new user, but hey! you may be more advanced beginner than I was. Also the Linux Documetation Project can be helpful. If DISASTER STRIKES Try this page for help. I have found one new page that looks great The Linux Eclectic Very helpful.

There is a searchable Linux Knowledge Base here where you can look your questions up. But you sure can't discount the help you can get from your local LUG or Linux user group. This is a group of users dedicated to helping each other.

There is also a guy named Henry White who gives a Free Linux Training Course and its very good I took it myself. Or the free Linux Manual by Laurence Hunter you can download. I use it! You don't want to pay for Linux books? Get the online here, Free ITLibrary Just type in Linux in the search box when you get here. Or you can register here and get Personal Bookshelf Lots of good Linux books are here too FREE! Also IDG Books has posted some of their Linux Open Books online for your use.

Now you like Linux so much you want more? How about a Linux Start page to use as your portal? Or Google has a Google Search Linux search engine.

Once you get your Linux up and running here are some places to check out for some new software, all free of course.

Linux does everything any other Unix computer can do including TCP/IP,(SLIP, PPP, PLIP,), X Windows, Gnu C Compiler, Emacs, and all the rest. It is publicly available from CD vendors(Walnut Creek,Pacific HiTech) and many ftp sites including

If you do run into trouble the Linux community will come to your assistance. There are some good Linux Newsgroups you can checkout. I find them very helpful for getting answers to specific problems. You can try alt.linux, or comp.os.linux. Of course you can try the groups for your specific distribution such as alt.linux-mandrake or linux.redhat.misc.


Webmaster: Jeanette Russo jrusso@suba.com