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Linux: An Overview

Linux is a free operating system. The term 'Linux' actually refers to the kernel (core of the operating system) of a unix-type operating system (derivate). The term is often used as a synonym for the complete operating system (distribution). Further to the programmes necessary in an operating system, e.g. for file and user management, additional graphic frontends, office applications, multi media tools, databases, web browsers and other programmes are covered. Linux is a free software, i.e. the sources are open, which facilitates adjustment of the system to the respective specifications of the application. Linux is freely copiable and there are no software license fees and, in addition, it is non-proprietary.




  • 1969 - Ken Thompson (Bell Labs) develops the 'original UNIX' in Assembler
  • 1978 - UNIX version 7 as commercial product (in C). Many renowned producers license UNIX and port it to their hardware
  • 1979 - first official AT&T version system III
  • 1984 - AT&T version system V
  • 1989 - AT&T version system V.4 (in close cooperation with Sun)
  • 1991 - 17 September 1991 Linus Torvalds publishes the results of his studies on a Unix-related operating system in the news group 'Minix'. In its start version just a rudimentary core was implemented. Linus appeals for furhter contributions to the code which he wants to distribute. This Linux code quickly replaced Minix and further free computer programmes such as Apache, Samba, Python and Bind appear in the market.
  • 1998 - IBM supports the Apache web server. Sun Microsystems and Adaptec join Linux International. Oracle and Informix port their databases to Linux. In the Helloween documents, Microsoft points our the advantages of the Open Source programmes and considers them as real competitor to the Microsoft products.
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