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Learning more about Linux

In 1991 a Finnish college student named Linus Torvalds developed a Unix-like operating system kernel "just as a hobby." He named it after himself, calling it "Linux." The Linux kernel was mated to a collection of free operating system applications known as the GNU project, started by former MIT programmer Richard Stallman. The combination of GNU/Linux provided a powerful, free operating system, which became popular wilth a growing global community of online enthusiasts.

Over the years Linux has developed into a very powerful, yet low-cost operating system. Most of the applications running under GNU/Linux have been developed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Unlike other software licenses the GPL is intended to guarantee the freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users.

Using Linux can save big bucks. Take software licensing, for instance: When you upgrade Windows or Windows based products, you must pay a licensing fee for each computer running that software. These costs can add up quickly. On the other hand, a Linux distribution such as SuSE Professional or Red Hat can be purchased once for less than $100 and be copied, legally, to every PC or server in the company. All major Linux distributions contain powerful office suites, such as Sun's Star Office -- many of which are compatible with Microsoft Office documents such as those generated by Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Perhaps the greatest cost savings lie in the fact that Linux is more secure. Consider these facts:

  • Linux is safe from nearly all viruses, without special antivirus software.
  • Users cannot self-install software from home.
  • Users cannot make major configuration changes to their workstations.
  • All software can be centrally and remotely managed.
  • The open nature of Linux guarantees that security problems are found and fixed quicker than with proprietary software.

Don't be fooled by Linux myths. Talk to people who use it every day.

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