What is Linux?

Linux is an Operating System (OS). Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, XP, and Vista are all different Operating Systems. Macintosh OS X is an Operating System, which is where the “OS” comes from. A program written for one operating system will usually not run natively on a different operating system (sometimes th­ey will). You cannot install a Macintosh game on a Windows computer. The same is true of Linux, although many Open Source Software programs written for Linux have Windows and Macintosh versions available for compatibility reasons.

Many fear the Linux will be “too hard to learn.” Most distributions, however, can easily be customized to look and feel like Windows. They contain a Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) which are the similar to Microsoft Windows and Macintosh. In fact, Linux on the desktop recently surpassed Macintosh users.

Linux was created nearly a decade ago by Linus Torvalds because he wanted to play with some Unix “stuff” on his personal computer. You can read more at
Linux is actually only a very small program, called the kernel. When people speak of Linux, they are normally talking about a distribution, which includes often hundreds of add-on programs.