Okay for my computer tech class final exam, part of it we were supposed to write about Windows Vista. I suggested to the teacher we write about something else because there isn't too much we can do about it so he said well since some of you will take the course next year and it touches on Linux, you can write an overview about that. I said, freakin' sweet. So I turned around and wrote a few paragraphs of what I knew off the top of my head while the rest of my class struggled because they all new zilch. So here, I present to you my writeup;
Linux is an operating system similar to Windows. It was created by a Finnish software engineer by the name of Linus Torvalds during his college years in the early 1990s. It is an open source operating system that is free to be modified and improved by any programmer who wishes to make changes to the code. Linux was derived from a kernel and opearting system called Minix. It was developed to be a Unix based operating system, that ran on the PC. Linus now coordinates the kernel in Linux. He organizes what goes into each release, when it will be released and more. Similar to a kernel in Windows, the Linux kernel contains all the instructions for the computer to function. It also contains drivers for any hardware to be used by the computer. Linux is well known among computer geeks as a stable operating system and has been widely accepted as such.
Most people assume that you must be a geek to use Linux because everything is done manually through commands. Although this was true in the early stages, groups of people have created Graphical User Interfaces (GUI, similar to Windows over DOS) and this has made Linux just as easy to use as Windows and to an extent, even easier. There are two companies, who created the most popular GUIs for Linux; KDE and Gnome. KDE is namely made to look good and somewhat like Windows (although Windows borrowed a lot of ideas from KDE) and is made to be easy for users switching from Windows to Linux. Gnome is made strictly for simplicity and therefore it tends to lack the beautiful appearance to KDE. Both are, like Windows hard on the RAM usage and other resources because they are such large programs and run a lot of eye candy. There are other Window Managers (GUIs) such as Openbox and Enlightenment which are a lot easier on the systems but they tend to be overly simplistic.
Although Linux is essentially free, there are a few large companies such as Red Hat and Novell that provide it at a small cost which covers the cost of support. These two companies are more or lest the largest in the Linux industry and tend to be the biggest supporters of all things Linux. In the late 1990s, Red Hat stopped making a Linux for the desktop OS but began supporting a new distribution called Fedora. The current stable version is Fedora Core 4. Novell who recently purchased a German company (Softlanding Linux System) provides their version of Linux called Suse, currently at version 10. They also have Novell Professional and Server versions of their Linux.
Linux is notorious for bad hardware support. Up until recently, there were a lot of problems getting all hardware to work with it. Now a lot of people who don't wish to upgrade their version of Windows (and lose legacy hardware support) will switch to Linux because it tends to have support for older hardware. This hardware is usually very well supported. With each new release of the kernel, currently at version 2.6.15 (stable), the support for most new hardware becomes increased. A lot of the most common hardware components will work out of the box and others will work with some configuration.
Linux has come a long way since first being created by Linus for geeks who wanted a stable operating system that they could modify as needed. Now it is available for anyone to use (freely or with paid support) and has become just as easy to use, if not easier than Windows. Just as long as you're willing to give it a chance, and learn it, Linux can be used by anyone. Although unlike Windows, not everyone can use it right away. Ut takes time to learn it but it has advanced a long way and become a lot easier. Gone are the days of editing files manually by hand, and coming are the days of ease similar to that of Windows but with enchanced security, stability and best of all, FOR FREE!