15 February 2007

What is Linux ?

Linux is an operating system for your computer, in a similar way that Microsoft Windows and Apple's OSX are operating systems for your computer. Linux is very different however (and we believe, better!).

Linux was started in 1992 by then university student Linus Torvalds, who released his software for free, including all of the source code. Because Linus made his source code freely available, thousands of developers around the world have downloaded it, made changes and sent improvements back to him!

Because of this global collaboration effort, Linux is stable, extremely flexible and well supported. It is the fastest growing operating system in the world and it is freely available for you to install onto your computer! Sound great? It is!

Linux comes with thousands of free applications, which are maintained by thousands of volunteers around the world. These projects also release their source code, which means they too are 'open source'.

"But how can they do all this for free?" I hear you ask. The Linux and open source communities do all this for free because they love the software, not because they try to make money from it. They are doing it for prestige, honour and because they believe in open source ideals.

It is important to note that due to the nature of open source software (the ability to customise it however you like) there are many different version of Linux. This is great because you can find a version that suits you best! These different versions of Linux are called 'distributions'. This is because the creators of the various versions take Linux and make their own changes to it, add their own packages and then distribute it for free. It might sound complicated, but it's not. So don't worry, we'll help you get started on the right track!

We invite you to look further into Linux and welcome you to 'make the move' into an amazing new world.

Please read on, or skip through to the 'Get started!' section if you're ready to jump right in!