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LINUX in Operating System

Features of modern OS
  • Provide a user interface
  • Organize files on disk 
  • Allocating resource to different users with security control 
  • Co-ordinate programs to work with devices and other programs

Before Linux
  • In 80's, Microsoft's DOS was the dominated OS for PC
  • Apple MAC is better, but expensive
  • UNIX is much better, but much much expensive. Only for minicomputer for commercial applications
  • People were looking for a UNIX based system, which is cheaper and can run on PC
  • Both DOS, MAC and UNIX are proprietary, i.e., the source code of their kernel is protected
  • No modification is possible without paying high license fees.
GNU project
  • Established in 1984 by Richard Stallman, who believes that software should be free from restrictions against copying or modification in order to make better and efficient computer programs
  • GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix"
  • Aim at developing a complete Unix-like operating system which is free for copying and modification
  • Stallman built the first free GNU C compiler in 1991. But still, an OS was yet to be developed.
Beginning of Linux
  • A famous professor Andrew Tanenbaum developed Minix, a simplified version of UNIX that runs on PC 
  • Minix is for class teaching only. No intention for commercial use
  • In sept 1991, Linus Torvalds, a second year student of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, developed the preliminary kernel of Linux, known as Linux version 0.0.1
Confrontation and Development
  • Message from Professor Andrew Tanenbaum
  • " I still maintain the point that designing a monolithic kernel in 1991 is a fundamental error. Be thankful you are not my student. You would not get a high grade for such a design :-)" " Linux is obsolete".
Linux Pros and Cons
Advantages over Windows
  • It's almost free to relatively inexpensive
  • Source code is included
  • Bugs are fixed quickly and help is readily available through the vast support in Internet
  • Linux is more stable than Windows.
Disadvantages compared with Windows
  • My program cannot run on Linux
  • Isn't as popular as Windows
  • No one commercial company is responsible for Linux
  • Linux is relatively hard to install, learn and use

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