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The terms "Linux" (commonly pronounced /ˈlɪnəks/ in English; variants exist) and "GNU/Linux" refer to the family of Linux kernel-based operating systems – and not to any one operating system. Their base components, i.e. the Linux kernel (more precisely its System Call Interface (SCI)), the GNU C Library or the uClibc, the GNU Core Utilities and a couple of more packages, make many Linux operating systems behave "unix-like" though none of the Linux distributions has bothered so far to actually become UNIX®-certified, mostly because of financial reasons.

Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software and open source development: typically all underlying source code can be freely modified, used, and redistributed by anyone.

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The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system kernel. It is the namesake of the Linux family of operating systems. Released under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) and developed by contributors worldwide, Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software.

The Linux kernel was initially conceived and assembled by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Early on, the MINIX community contributed code and ideas to the Linux kernel. At the time, the GNU Project had created many of the components required for a free software operating system, but its own kernel, GNU Hurd, was incomplete and unavailable. The BSD operating system had not yet freed itself from legal encumbrances. This meant that despite the limited functionality of the early versions, Linux rapidly accumulated developers and users who adopted code from those projects for use with the new operating system.

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Linus Torvalds.jpeg

Linus Benedict Torvalds About this sound pronunciation  (born December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish software engineer best known for initiating the development of the Linux kernel. He now acts as the project's coordinator.

Torvalds attended the University of Helsinki from 1988 to 1996, graduating with a master's degree in computer science. His M.Sc. thesis was titled Linux: A Portable Operating System.

After a visit to Transmeta in late 1996, he accepted a position at the company in California, where he would work from February 1997 through June 2003. He then moved to the Open Source Development Labs, which has since merged with the Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation, under whose auspices he continues to work.

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...you might as well skip the Xmas celebration completely, and instead sit in front of your linux computer playing with the all-new-and-improved linux kernel version.
— Linus Torvalds,

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The Plasma desktop environment.

The Plasma desktop environment from the KDE community.

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