Linux Operating System (Graduate Level Cis Term Paper)

5784 words - 23 pages

1. What Is Linux?Linux is an operating system that was initially created as a hobby by a young student, Linus Torvalds, at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linus had an interest in Minix, a small UNIX system, and decided to develop a system that exceeded the Minix standards. He began his work in 1991 when he released version 0.02 and worked steadily until 1994 when version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel was released. The current full-featured version is 2.4 (released January 2001) and development continues.Linux is developed under the GNU General Public License and its source code is freely available to everyone. This however, doesn't mean that Linux and its assorted distributions are free -- companies and developers may charge money for it as long as the source code remains available. Linux may be used for a wide variety of purposes including networking, software development, and as an end-user platform. Linux is often considered an excellent, low-cost alternative to other more expensive operating systems.Due to the very nature of Linux's functionality and availability, it has become quite popular worldwide and a vast number of software programmers have taken Linux's source code and adapted it to meet their individual needs. At this time, there are dozens of ongoing projects for porting Linux to various hardware configurations and purposes.Linux has an official mascot, the Linux Penguin, which was selected by Linus Torvalds to represent the image he associates with the operating system he created.Although many variations of the word Linux exist, it is most often pronounced with a short " i " and with the first syllable stressed, as in LIH-nucks.2. Overview Of a Linux SystemIn this section we will try to give an understanding of the system as a whole with a considerable lack of detail. First, the major services provided by the operating system; then the programs that implement these services will be described.2.1. Various Parts Of LinuxA Linux operating system consists of a kernel and some system programs like its predecessor UNIX. There are also some application programs for doing work. The kernel is the heart of the operating system. It keeps track of files on the disk, starts programs and runs them concurrently, assigns memory and other resources to various processes, receives packets from and sends packets to the network, and so on. The kernel does very little by itself, but it provides tools with which all services can be built. It also prevents anyone from accessing the hardware directly, forcing everyone to use the tools it provides. This way the kernel provides some protection for users from each other. The tools provided by the kernel are used via system calls. By the way kernel is often mistakenly considered to be the operating system itself, but it is not. An operating system provides many more services than a plain kernel.The system programs use the tools provided by the kernel to implement the various services required from an...

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