Linux began in 1991 at the University of Helsinki in Finland when a student named LinusTorvalds created it as an exercise to learn more about operating systems. This quickly ledto a public development effort with many people contributing work -- that is devicedrivers -- to the Linux kernel. The low-priced UNIX functionality provided by thecombination of software, which was free for downloading, running on inexpensiveIntel-based hardware platforms proved far too irresistible, especially among computerscience students.

Linux 1.0 was officially released in 1994. As of this writing, Linux is a mature andstable operating system, with Linux 2.2 about to be released. It runs on Intel, Alpha andSPARC CPUs. The Alpha version is 64-bit and very fast. It has all the features one wouldexpect from a "UNIX-type" operating system, including the X Windows graphicaluser interface and robust networking capabilities. It can handle nearly any computingapplication and is widely used for Web hosting platforms and file and print sharingapplications.

Please note that Linux has been a support-it-yourself proposition. But if you want totry Linux, buy a shrink wrap version for around $50. Various versions are available fromCaldera, Red Hat, Walnut Creek and others. No, the CDs ARE NOT being given away -- that'sa popular misconception. Your $50 goes toward the cost of CDs, manuals and packaging. Thepackages generally include the base OS and collections of software from various publicdomain archives. Each vendor usually includes a simplified setup program. But if you musthave it for free, you can download Linux from various FTP sites.

Linux Web Links
Linux Internations

Linux Online

The Open Group (official UNIX certifications)

GNU and the Free Software Foundation

Linux Journal

Caldera Systems, Inc. (commercial Linux)

Infomagic, Inc. (commercial Linux)

Red Hat Software (commercial Linux)

Walnut Creek CDROM (commercial Linux)

FreeBSD (the other freeware UNIX)