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Linux Overview for Solaris Users

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This article provides a technical overview of the Linux operating environment and compares and contrasts it with the Solaris Operating Environment (Solaris OE). The purpose of this article is to quickly familiarize advanced system administrators with the Linux OE and to provide a reference for Solaris to Linux usage. This article is for intermediate and advanced readers who are experienced with the Solaris OE and are tasked with deploying, servicing,maintaining, and using Linux-based systems.
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This article provides a technical overview of the Linux operating environment and compares and contrasts it with the Solaris™ Operating Environment (Solaris OE). The purpose of this article is to quickly familiarize advanced system administrators with the Linux OE and to provide a reference for Solaris to Linux usage. This article is for readers who are experienced with the Solaris OE and are tasked with deploying, servicing, maintaining, and using Linux-based systems.

The Linux information in this article is based on Redhat Linux 8.0 running on Intel architecture hardware. Because the core of all Linux distributions is essentially the same, most of the material here can be applied to any distribution. It is presented as a comparison to Solaris on SPARC® hardware, although there are some references to Solaris x86.

This article contains the following topics:

  • "Linux Origins"

  • "Software"

  • "Hardware"

  • "Kernel"

  • "Networking"

  • "System"

  • "About the Author"

  • "Related Resources"

  • "Ordering Sun Documents"

  • "Accessing Sun Documentation Online"

Linux Origins

Linux is considered a UNIX® like operating system, primarily because no part of it was derived from the source tree of either AT&T or BSD UNIX. It originated as a project in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, then a college student at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

Linus' name is not pronounced "Ly-nus," but rather "Lee-nus." Consequently, Linux is pronounced "Lee-nucks," but in the U.S., it's more commonly pronounced "Lin-nucks," with a short "i" sound. Note that "Ly-nucks" is generally considered an incorrect pronunciation.

Linus wrote his kernel from scratch, using minix as the initial environment to develop his kernel. Minix is a free operating system used primarily as an educational tool to teach about operating systems. Linus soon expanded the kernel, posting the source code to the Internet and, before long, others began to add support for file systems and hardware.

Today, Linux has the same features as those found in other modern UNIX operating systems features such as priority scheduling, virtual memory, and multithreaded processing. It runs on 16 different architectures, including Intel, SPARC, and PowerPC. It has support for over 30 file system types, and has drivers for over 1800 hardware components. It uses software from the open-source GNU project as its operating environment.

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