Linux is a Unix-Like computer operating system released under the model of free and open-source software development and distribution.  Linux was initially developed for personal computers purpose based on the Intel x86 architecture, and since then the use of Linux has increase to more platforms than any other operating system. The majority of  operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers is leaded by Linux and is used on 99.6% of the TOP500 supercomputers. In 2015 it was used by around 2.3% of desktop computers.

The development of Linux is under a free and open source software GNU (General Public License), this means that everyone can use and modify the source code under the terms of its of GNU.

There are some popular Linux distributions such : Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, Ubuntu and many of these are provided by the GNU Project.

The first implementation of Unix operating system was at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories in United States by “Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and others. It was released in 1971, and it was written entirely in assembly language, but later it was rewritten in the C programming language by Dennis Ritchie.

In 1991 Linus Torvalds student at the University of Helsinki began to work on his own operating system kernel, which eventually became the Linux kernel. Development was done on MINIX using the GNU C compiler. The GNU C Compiler is still the main choice for compiling Linux today. The code however, can be built with other compilers, such as the Intel C Compiler. The first publication of Linux kernel was under a license that was created by Torvalds. The software to use with the kernel was software developed as part of the GNU project licensed under the GNU General Public License, a free software license. The first release of the Linux kernel, Linux 0.01, included a binary of GNU’s Bash shell.

In 1992, he suggested releasing the kernel under the GNU General Public License. December 1992 he published version 0.99 using the GNU GPL Linux and GNU developers worked to integrate GNU components with Linux to make a fully functional and free operating system.

Around 2000 Torvalds clarified that the used license for the linux kernel is exactly the GPLv2, without the common “or later clause”.

In 2007, after years of draft discussions, the GPLv3 was released and Torvalds and the majority of kernel developers decided against adopting the new license for the linux kernel.

“Linux” was initially used by Torvalds only for the Linux kernel. The kernel was, however, frequently used together with other software, especially that of the GNU project. This quickly became the most popular adoption of GNU software. Linux was referred to as a “free UNIX clone”, and the Debian project began calling its product Debian GNU/Linux. The GNU and Debian projects use the name, although most people simply use the term “Linux” to refer to the combination.


  • Developer:                         Community
  • Written in:                         Primarily C and assembly
  • OS family:                          Unix-like
  • Working state:                  Current
  • Source model:                  Mainly open-source, proprietary software is also available.
  • Initial release:                   September 17, 1991; 25 years ago
  • Marketing target:             Personal computers, mobile devices, embedded                                                devices,servers,mainframes, supercomputers
  • Available in:                      Multilingual
  • Platforms:                         Alpha, ARC, ARM, AVR32, Blackfin, C6x, ETRAX                                                CRIS, FR-V, H8/300,Hexagon, Itanium, M32R, m68k, META,                                                Microblaze, MIPS, MN103, Nios II, OpenRISC, PA-RISC,                                                PowerPC, s390, S+core, SuperH, SPARC,TILE64, Unicore32, x86,                                                Xtensa
  • Kernel type:                       Monolithic (Linux kernel)
  • Userland:                            GNU and various others
  • Default user interface:     Many
  • License:                              GPLv2 and other free and open-source licenses,                                                 except for the “Linux” trademark