The operating system kernel of Linux in known as Linux kernel. Linux kernel was designed and developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Since then its popularity soared considerably. As per a survey conducted in June,2010 Linux market share is 4.8%. The market share increased by 0.3% since May,2010, which indicates that popularity of Linux is still growing.
Free and Open Source Software
Linux is one of the finest examples of free and open source software collaboration. Free and open source software is a software which is is munificently licensed to grant the right of users to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code. All the underlying source code of Linux could be used, changed and redistributed, for both business and non-business purposes, under the GNU General Public License.
Linux belongs to the Unix family. Much of its basic design has been derived from Unix design principles. Linux uses a monolithic kernel, called Linux kernel. Linux kernel handles networking,process control, peripheral and file access. Generally, Device drivers are integrated with kernel straightaway. Another option is to add device driver as modules while the system is running. The system’s higher level functionality id provided by separate projects which are interfaced with kernel. The graphical user interface has been designed on the model of X Windows system.
User Interface Of Linux
Linux provides both command line interface and graphical user interface to its users. The default mode for desktops is graphical user interface. Command line interface is used by most of the low level Linux components. Command line interface is suitable for automating the repetitive tasks because it provides very simple inter process communication. The command line interface from the Linux desktop could be accessed through a graphical terminal emulator. KDE plasma desktop,GNOME and Xfce are the most popular user interfaces among the desktop systems. Many favorite user interfaces have been designed based on X Windows Systems.
Programming On Linux
Linux supports most of the programming languages. GNU tool-chain contains most of the utilities including GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Build systems. GNU Compiler Collection consists of Ada,C,C++,Java and FORTRAN compilers. Apart from that Linux supports Intel C++, IBM XL C/C++, Sun studio compilers. Among dynamic languages, Perl,Python,PHP and Ruby are supported by Linux.
Linux is not only used for desktops and servers, but also for computer architecture support, real time applications,embedded systems,etc. Linux is one of the most widely ported operating system kernels. Linux kernel can run on a wide range of computer architectures including ARM based iPAQ, IBM mainframe systems Z9 and Z10,etc. Some specialized Linux distributions have been designed to run on less popular mainstream architectures. ELKS kernel fork has been developed to run on 16 bit architecture of Intel x86 processors. Linux kernel could also be configured to run on Apple Macintosh Computers based on Power PC and Intel processors, portable music players,video game consoles and smart phones. PC Support for Linux machines is widely available nowadays in case a Linux machine starts malfunctioning. Apart for PC and small device applications, Linux distributions are also used as server operating systems. Use of Linux has been increasing on Mainframes due to economic factors and availability of Remote Support.