The Linux Portal

Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux
Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux

Linux (/ˈlnʊks/ (listen) LEE-nuuks or /ˈlɪnʊks/ LIN-uuks) is a family of open-source Unix-like 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.

Popular Linux distributions include Debian, Fedora Linux, and Ubuntu, which in itself has many different distributions and modifications, including Lubuntu and Xubuntu. Commercial distributions include Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise. 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, or 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. Because of the dominance of the Linux-based Android on smartphones, Linux, including Android, has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems, . Although Linux is, , used by only 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 is the leading operating system on servers (over 96.4% of the top 1 million web servers' operating systems are Linux), leads other big iron systems such as mainframe computers, and is the only OS used on TOP500 supercomputers (since November 2017, having gradually eliminated all competitors).

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 (GPL). The Linux kernel, for example, is licensed under the GPLv2, with a special exception for system calls, as without the system call exception any program calling on the kernel would be considered a derivative and therefore the GPL would have to apply to that program.

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  • Image 1 Gentoo Linux (pronounced /ˈdʒɛntuː/ JEN-too) is a Linux distribution built using the Portage package management system. Unlike a binary software distribution, the source code is compiled locally according to the user
  • The first-generation Nexus 7 tablet running Android, an operating system using the Linux kernel. While Linux-based operating systems are in common use in tablet computers, they are less frequently adopted as desktop computers.
    The first-generation Nexus 7 tablet running Android, an operating system using the Linux kernel. While Linux-based operating systems are in common use in tablet computers, they are less frequently adopted as desktop computers.
  • Image 3 Ubuntu (/ʊˈbʊntuː/ (listen) uu-BUUN-too) is a Linux distribution based on Debian and composed mostly of free and open-source software. Ubuntu is officially released in three editions: Desktop, Server, and Core for Internet of things devices and robots. All the editions can run on the computer alone, or in a virtual machine. Ubuntu is a popular operating system for cloud computing, with support for OpenStack. Ubuntu
  • A pair of IBM mainframes. On the left is the IBM Z z13. On the right is the IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper.
    A pair of IBM mainframes. On the left is the IBM Z z13. On the right is the IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper.
  • Image 5 Container Linux (formerly CoreOS Linux) is a discontinued open-source lightweight operating system based on the Linux kernel and designed for providing infrastructure to clustered deployments, while focusing on automation, ease of application deployment, security, reliability and scalability. As an operating system, Container Linux provided only the minimal functionality required for deploying applications inside software containers, together with built-in mechanisms for service discovery and configuration sharing. Container Linux shares foundations with Gentoo Linux, Chrome OS, and Chromium OS through a common software development kit (SDK). Container Linux adds new functionality and customization to this shared foundation to support server hardware and use cases. CoreOS was developed primarily by Alex Polvi, Brandon Philips and Michael Marineau, with its major features available as a stable release. (Full article...)
  • Puppy Linux FossaPup 9.5
    Puppy Linux FossaPup 9.5
  • Image 7Besides the Linux distributions designed for general-purpose use on desktops and servers, distributions may be specialized for different purposes including computer architecture support, embedded systems, stability, security, localization to a specific region or language, targeting of specific user groups, support for real-time applications, or commitment to a given desktop environment. Furthermore, some distributions deliberately include only free software. , over four hundred Linux distributions are actively developed, with about a dozen distributions being most popular for general-purpose use. (Full article...)
    Besides the Linux distributions designed for general-purpose use on desktops and servers, distributions may be specialized for different purposes including computer architecture support, embedded systems, stability, security, localization to a specific region or language, targeting of specific user groups, support for real-time applications, or commitment to a given desktop environment. Furthermore, some distributions deliberately include only free software. , over four hundred Linux distributions are actively developed, with about a dozen distributions being most popular for general-purpose use. (Full article...)
  • Image 8 Asahi Linux is a project that aims to port Linux to newer Apple silicon-powered Macs, allowing them to run a different operating system than macOS. The project was started and is led by Hector Martin. Work began in early 2021, a few months after Apple formally announced the transition to Apple silicon, with an initial alpha release following in 2022. The project has been made challenging by the lack of documentation of Apple
  • Image 9 Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution based on Ubuntu (which is in turn based on Debian), bundled with a variety of free and open-source applications. It can provide full out-of-the-box multimedia support for those who choose to include proprietary software such as multimedia codecs. The Linux Mint project was created by Clément Lefèbvre and is actively maintained by the Linux Mint Team and community. (Full article...)
  • Image 10In a series of legal disputes between SCO Group and Linux vendors and users SCO alleged that its license agreements with IBM meant that source code IBM wrote and donated to be incorporated into Linux was added in violation of SCO's contractual rights. Members of the Linux community disagreed with SCO's claims; IBM, Novell and Red Hat filed claims against SCO.On August 10, 2007, a federal district court judge in SCO v. Novell ruled on summary judgment that Novell, not the SCO Group, was the rightful owner of the copyrights covering the Unix operating system. The court also ruled that "SCO is obligated to recognize Novell's waiver of SCO's claims against IBM and Sequent". After the ruling, Novell announced they had no interest in suing people over Unix and stated "We don't believe there is Unix in Linux". The final district court ruling, on November 20, 2008, affirmed the summary judgment, and added interest payments and a constructive trust. (Full article...)
    In a series of legal disputes between SCO Group and Linux vendors and users SCO alleged that its license agreements with IBM meant that source code IBM wrote and donated to be incorporated into Linux was added in violation of SCO's contractual rights. Members of the Linux community disagreed with SCO's claims; IBM, Novell and Red Hat filed claims against SCO.

    On August 10, 2007, a federal district court judge in SCO v. Novell ruled on summary judgment that Novell, not the SCO Group, was the rightful owner of the copyrights covering the Unix operating system. The court also ruled that "SCO is obligated to recognize Novell's waiver of SCO's claims against IBM and Sequent". After the ruling, Novell announced they had no interest in suing people over Unix and stated "We don't believe there is Unix in Linux". The final district court ruling, on November 20, 2008, affirmed the summary judgment, and added interest payments and a constructive trust. (Full article...)
  • Image 11 Debian (/ˈdɛbiən/), also known as Debian GNU/Linux, is a Linux distribution composed of free and open-source software, developed by the community-supported Debian Project, which was established by Ian Murdock on August 16, 1993. The first version of Debian (0.01) was released on September 15, 1993, and its first stable version (1.1) was released on June 17, 1996. The Debian Stable branch is the most popular edition for personal computers and servers. Debian is also the basis for many other distributions, most notably Ubuntu. Debian is one of the oldest operating systems based on the Linux kernel. The project is coordinated over the Internet by a team of volunteers guided by the Debian Project Leader and three foundational documents: the Debian Social Contract, the Debian Constitution, and the Debian Free Software Guidelines. New distributions are updated continually, and the next candidate is released after a time-based freeze. (Full article...)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.0, showing its desktop environment GNOME 40.
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.0, showing its desktop environment GNOME 40.
  • Image 13 Canonical Ltd. is a UK-based privately held computer software company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects. Canonical employs staff in more than 30 countries and maintains offices in London, Austin, Boston, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo and the Isle of Man. (Full article...)
  • An example of LSB output in a terminal (Debian version 11)
    An example of LSB output in a terminal (Debian version 11)
  • Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish
    Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish

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A map of the Linux kernel.

A map of the Linux kernel.

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The following are images from various Linux-related articles on Wikipedia.
  • Image 1TiVo DVR, a consumer device running Linux (from Linux kernel)
    TiVo DVR, a consumer device running Linux (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 2Fedora 15 (Lovelock), the first release with GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell. (2011-05) (from Fedora Linux)
    Fedora 15 (Lovelock), the first release with GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell. (2011-05) (from Fedora Linux)
  • Image 3Fedora Workstation 35 installation summary (from Fedora Linux)
    Fedora Workstation 35 installation summary (from Fedora Linux)
  • Image 4A Debian 10.0 Buster box cover (from Debian)
    A Debian 10.0 Buster box cover (from Debian)
  • Image 5Debian 6 (Squeeze), 2011 (from Debian)
    Debian 6 (Squeeze), 2011 (from Debian)
  • Image 6Ubuntu Unity Logo (from Ubuntu)
    Ubuntu Unity Logo (from Ubuntu)
  • Image 7HP 9000 C110 PA-RISC workstation booting Debian Lenny (from Debian)
    HP 9000 C110 PA-RISC workstation booting Debian Lenny (from Debian)
  • Image 8An iPod booting iPodLinux  (from Linux kernel)
    An iPod booting iPodLinux (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 9Redevelopment costs of Linux kernel (from Linux kernel)
    Redevelopment costs of Linux kernel (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 10The "swirl" logo is said to represent magic smoke. (from Debian)
    The "swirl" logo is said to represent magic smoke. (from Debian)
  • Image 11Iceweasel running on Debian 7 (Wheezy) (from Debian)
    Iceweasel running on Debian 7 (Wheezy) (from Debian)
  • Image 12Debian GNU/Hurd running on Xfce (from Debian)
    Debian GNU/Hurd running on Xfce (from Debian)
  • Image 13Logo of GNU Hurd (from Debian)
    Logo of GNU Hurd (from Debian)
  • Image 14Linux kernel 3.0.0 booting (from Linux kernel)
    Linux kernel 3.0.0 booting (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 15The Linux kernel supports various hardware architectures, providing a common platform for software, including proprietary software. (from Linux kernel)
    The Linux kernel supports various hardware architectures, providing a common platform for software, including proprietary software. (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 16Debian 11 (Bullseye) running its default desktop environment, GNOME version 3.38 (from Debian)
    Debian 11 (Bullseye) running its default desktop environment, GNOME version 3.38 (from Debian)
  • Image 17Map of the Linux kernel (from Linux kernel)
    Map of the Linux kernel (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 18Boot messages of a Linux kernel 2.6.25.17 (from Linux kernel)
    Boot messages of a Linux kernel 2.6.25.17 (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 19Screenshot of GDebi Package installer (from Debian)
    Screenshot of GDebi Package installer (from Debian)
  • Image 20Four interfaces are distinguished: two internal to the kernel, and two between the kernel and userspace. (from Linux kernel)
    Four interfaces are distinguished: two internal to the kernel, and two between the kernel and userspace. (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 21Debian 10 installation menu (BIOS Mode) (from Debian)
    Debian 10 installation menu (BIOS Mode) (from Debian)
  • Image 22Cloud Ubuntu Orange Box
    Cloud Ubuntu Orange Box
  • Image 23Ubuntu family tree[dubious  – discuss] (from Ubuntu)
    Ubuntu family tree[dubious ] (from Ubuntu)
  • Image 24Fedora Workstation 36 showing its desktop environment, GNOME 42. (from Fedora Linux)
    Fedora Workstation 36 showing its desktop environment, GNOME 42. (from Fedora Linux)
  • Image 25Debian 10 console login and welcome message (from Debian)
    Debian 10 console login and welcome message (from Debian)
  • Image 26Fedora 21, a version that brought experimental Wayland and HiDPI support (2014-12). (from Fedora Linux)
    Fedora 21, a version that brought experimental Wayland and HiDPI support (2014-12). (from Fedora Linux)
  • Image 27Eucalyptus interface (from Ubuntu)
    Eucalyptus interface (from Ubuntu)
  • Image 28Ubuntu 22.04 LTS "Jammy Jellyfish" (from Ubuntu)
    Ubuntu 22.04 LTS "Jammy Jellyfish" (from Ubuntu)
  • Image 29At XDC2014, Alex Deucher from AMD announced the unified kernel-mode driver. The proprietary Linux graphic driver, .mw-parser-output .monospaced{font-family:monospace,monospace}libGL-fglrx-glx, will share the same DRM infrastructure with Mesa 3D. As there is no stable in-kernel ABI, AMD had to constantly adapt the former binary blob used by Catalyst. (from Linux kernel)
    At XDC2014, Alex Deucher from AMD announced the unified kernel-mode driver. The proprietary Linux graphic driver, libGL-fglrx-glx, will share the same DRM infrastructure with Mesa 3D. As there is no stable in-kernel ABI, AMD had to constantly adapt the former binary blob used by Catalyst. (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 30The core values of the Fedora community (from Fedora Linux)
    The core values of the Fedora community (from Fedora Linux)
  • Image 31Fedora Core 1, a Fork of RedHat Linux version 9.0 with GNOME version 2.4 (2003-11) (from Fedora Linux)
    Fedora Core 1, a Fork of RedHat Linux version 9.0 with GNOME version 2.4 (2003-11) (from Fedora Linux)
  • Image 32Text version of the Debian Installer  (from Debian)
    Text version of the Debian Installer (from Debian)
  • Image 33Graphical version of the Debian Installer (from Debian)
    Graphical version of the Debian Installer (from Debian)
  • Image 34Using Aptitude to view Debian package details (from Debian)
    Using Aptitude to view Debian package details (from Debian)
  • Image 35Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux (from Linux kernel)
    Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 36Iceweasel logo (from Debian)
    Iceweasel logo (from Debian)
  • Image 37Package installed with Aptitude (from Debian)
    Package installed with Aptitude (from Debian)
  • Image 38Debian 4 (Etch), 2007 (from Debian)
    Debian 4 (Etch), 2007 (from Debian)
  • Image 39Linus Torvalds at the LinuxCon Europe 2014 in Düsseldorf  (from Linux kernel)
    Linus Torvalds at the LinuxCon Europe 2014 in Düsseldorf (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 40An example of Linux kernel panic (from Linux kernel)
    An example of Linux kernel panic (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 41The Linux Storage Stack Diagram (from Linux kernel)
    The Linux Storage Stack Diagram (from Linux kernel)
  • Image 42Logo of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (from Debian)
    Logo of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (from Debian)
  • Image 43XFCE is default on CD images and non-Linux ports (from Debian)
    XFCE is default on CD images and non-Linux ports (from Debian)
  • Image 44Cinnamon-logo (from Ubuntu)
    Cinnamon-logo (from Ubuntu)

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