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What is Linux?

Linux was originally created by Linus Torvalds, then a Finnish college student in his early twenties. It is a Unix-like operating system that runs on Intel’s x86 microprocessor architecture (commonly called PCs, or Windows PCs).

The term Linux is actually used in two ways:

  • To refer to the Linux kernel, the heart of the operating system.

  • To more generally refer to a collection of applications that run on top of the Linux kernel. This is also called a distribution. Red Hat Linux 6 is one of the leading examples of a distribution.

While Linus Torvalds retains creative ownership over the Linux kernel, Linux as we know it today has been developed with the assistance of programmers from around the world.

Unlike any other desktop operating system--and like other versions of Unix--Linux is a true multi-tasking and multi-user operating system.

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