Linux ( (listen) LIN-əks) is a family of free and open-source software operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short).
Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word "Linux" in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.
Popular Linux distributions 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. Because Linux is freely redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any purpose.
Linux was originally developed for personal computers based on the Intel x86 architecture, but has since been ported to more platforms than any other operating system. Linux is the leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers, and the only OS used on TOP500 supercomputers (since November 2017, having gradually eliminated all competitors). It is used by around 2.3 percent of desktop computers. The Chromebook, which runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS, dominates the US K–12 education market and represents nearly 20 percent of sub-$300 notebook sales in the US.
Linux also runs on embedded systems, i.e. devices whose operating system is typically built into the firmware and is highly tailored to the system. This includes routers, automation controls, televisions, digital video recorders, video game consoles, and smartwatches. Many smartphones and tablet computers run Android and other Linux derivatives. Because of the dominance of Android on smartphones, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems.
Linux is one of the most prominent examples 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.
Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software especially under the GNU General Public License and other open-source licenses. The primary form, Debian GNU/Linux, which uses the Linux kernel and GNU OS tools, is a popular and influential Linux distribution.
It is distributed with access to repositories containing thousands of software packages ready for installation and use. Debian is known for strict adherence to the Unix and free software philosophies as well as using collaborative software development and testing processes.
The Debian Project is governed by the Debian Constitution and the Social Contract which set out the governance structure of the project as well as explicitly stating that the goal of the project is the development of a free operating system.
Thus, the Debian Project is an independent decentralized organization; it is not backed by a company like other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, and Mandriva. The cost of developing all the packages included in Debian 4.0 etch (283 million lines of code), using the COCOMO model, has been estimated to be close to US$13 billion.
||...you might as well skip the Xmas celebration completely, and instead sit in front of your linux computer playing with the all-new-and-improved linux kernel version.
||— Linus Torvalds,
In the news