Introduction

I Have been writing about Linux for almost 4 years now, but I have never wrote an article about Linux itself, I mean the Linux Story and some stuff like that.

I think it is time to dedicate some space in this blog to the great operating system Linux is.

Linux Kernel or GNU/Linux

One of first things we need to have clear here, is what we are calling Linux is it the GNU/Linux or the just the Linux Kernel. Well usually when people talk about Linux they are referring to GNU/Linux, but what is the difference?

Well first lets talk about the GNU project, and from Wikipedia we have:

The GNU Project, started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, had the goal of creating a "complete Unix-compatible software system" composed entirely of free software. Work began in 1984. Later, in 1985, Stallman started the Free Software Foundation and wrote the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) in 1989. By the early 1990s, many of the programs required in an operating system (such as libraries, compilers, text editors, a Unix shell, and a windowing system) were completed, although low-level elements such as device drivers, daemons, and the kernel were stalled and incomplete. Linus Torvalds has said that if the GNU kernel had been available at the time (1991), he would not have decided to write his own.

So, the GNU project created all an operating system needs but the "Kernel"

Now, Linus Torvalds in 1991, created the Linux Kernel, and once again from Wikipedia:

Torvalds began the development of the Linux kernel on MINIX, and applications written for MINIX were also used on Linux. Later Linux matured and it became possible for Linux to be developed under itself.

Yes, Linus decided to create its own Kernel because he can not use the MINIX (Mini Unix) for all purposes the wants. Later GNU applications were added to the Linux Kernel by a lot of contributors.

Main Contributors (Distributions)

Some of the biggest contributors to Linux (Talking about distributions) are:

Slackware

Slackware is a free and open source Linux-based operating system. It was one of the earliest operating systems to be built on top of the Linux kernel and is the oldest currently being maintained. Slackware was created by Patrick Volkerding of Slackware Linux, Inc. in 1993. The current stable version is 13.37, released on April 27, 2011.

Which was once the most used distribution

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Linux, assembled by the company Red Hat, was a popular Linux based operating system until its discontinuation in 2004.

Red Hat Linux 1.0 was released on November 3, 1994. It was originally called "Red Hat Commercial Linux" It was the first Linux distribution to use the RPM Package Manager as its packaging format, and over time has served as the starting point for several other distributions, such as Mandriva Linux and Yellow Dog Linux

Maybe the first distribution for a lot of Linux Gurus out there.

Debian

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 free software 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 relatively strict adherence to the Unix and free software philosophies as well as using collaborative software development and testing processes. Debian can be used as a desktop as well as server operating system. It focuses on stability and security and is used as a base for many other distributions.

Debian, is a great contributor, and most of the most popular distributions these days are based on Debian.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu: is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu ("humanity towards others").

Ubuntu is designed primarily for desktop use, although netbook and server editions exist as well. Web statistics suggest that Ubuntu's share of Linux desktop usage is about 50%, and indicate upward-trending usage as a web server. Ubuntu holds an estimated global usage of more than 12 million users,[11] and it is considered by DistroWatch to be the most popular distribution of Linux. (The second-most popular distribution, Linux Mint, is itself a derivative of Ubuntu.)

Well, Ubuntu gave Linux the popularity it now has, you may even find people talking about Ubuntu, like if Ubuntu was Linux, and only just one of the Linux distributions available.

I know there are a lot of other contributors, but I can't list them all. There are also literally thousands and thousands of anonymous contributors, those who submit bugs, those who contribute with some few lines of code, those who translate man and documentation pages.

Future

I think that Linux or GNU/Linux (properly talking) has a great future, it will continue to gain followers, and as it is more and more user friendly with each new release of the Kernel and also of the main distributions, this is a non-stop trip to the success.

Thanks

I use Linux daily and for all my computer requirements, so I would like to use this opportunity to thank to all people to make Linux possible, and also thanks in advance to all those contributors to come.