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This chapter is from the book

The Evolution of Linux

Linux is an operating system for personal computers developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Initially, Linux supported only the Intel 80x86 processor. Over the years, support has been added so that Linux can run on various other processors. Currently, Linux is one of very few operating systems that run on a wide range of processors, including Intel IA-32, Intel IA-64, AMD, DEC, PowerPC, Motorola, SPARC, and IBM S/390.

Linux is similar to UNIX in that it borrows many ideas from UNIX and implements the UNIX API. However, Linux is not a direct derivative of any particular UNIX distribution.

Linux is undoubtedly the fastest-growing operating system today. It is used in areas such as embedded devices all the way to mainframes. One of the interesting and most important facts about Linux is that it is open-sourced. The Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL); the kernel source code is freely available and can be modified to suit the needs of your machine.

As we move on to the next section, we’ll take a more comprehensive look at the architecture of the Linux kernel.

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