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Old 03-31-2004, 10:28 PM   #1
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Question How is Open Source related to UNIX and LINUX?

How is Open Source related to UNIX and LINUX?
Old 03-31-2004, 10:44 PM   #2
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What a wide open question! I'll just start things with something easy. The Linux kernel, the core of the operating system, is released under the GPL, as are many open source projects. The GPL is short for GNU General Public License and is written in the long forgotten language of the devil. The heart of the GPL, though, says that anything released under the GPL can be (re)distributed freely (and also commercially) as long as the source is made freely available to the public as well.
Old 03-31-2004, 10:45 PM   #3
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Open source movement

The open source movement is an offshoot of the free software movement that advocates open-source software as an alternative label for free software, primarily on pragmatic rather than philosophical grounds.

The movement was founded in 1998 by John maddog Hall, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, and others. Raymond is probably the single person most identified with the movement; he was and remains its self-described principal "theorist", but does not claim to lead it in any exclusive sense. In contrast with the free software movement, which has always been essentially directed by a single figure (Richard Stallman), the open source movement is "steered" by a loose collegium of elders that includes Raymond, its other co-founders, and such notables as Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, and Guido van Rossum.

The founders were dissatisfied with what they saw as the "confrontational attitude" of the free software movement, and favored advocating free software exclusively on the grounds of technical superiority (a claim previously made by Raymond in his essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar) It was hoped that "open source" and the associated propaganda would become a more persuasive argument to businesses. Raymond's comment was "If you want to change the world, you have to co-opt the people who write the big checks." (Cygnus Support had been pursuing exactly this approach for a number of years already, but not advertising it widely.)

The group adopted the Open Source Definition for open-source software, based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines. They also established the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as a steward organization for the movement. However, they were unsuccessful in their attempt to secure a trademark for "open source", to act as an imprimatur and to prevent misuse of the term. Despite this, the OSI developed considerable influence in the corporate sphere and has been able to hold abuse of the term to a tolerable minimum through vigorous jawboning. With the FSF, it has become one of the hacker community's two principal advocacy organizations.

The early period of the open-source movement coincided with and partly drove the dot-com boom of 1998-2000, and saw a large growth in the popularity of Linux and the formation of many "open-source-friendly" companies. The movement also caught the attention of the mainstream software industry, leading to open-source software offerings by established software companies such as Corel (Corel Linux), Sun Microsystems (StarOffice), and IBM (OpenAFS). By the time the dot-com boom busted in 2001, many of the early hopes of open-source advocates had already borne fruit, and the movement continued from strength to strength in the cost-cutting climate of the 2001-2003 recession.


This article is about Linux-based operating systems, GNU/Linux and related topics. See Linux kernel for the kernel itself.

Linux is a computer operating system. It is probably the best known example of free software and of open-source development.

"Linux" strictly refers to the Linux kernel, but the name is often used to describe the entire Unix-like operating system formed by combining the Linux kernel with the GNU libraries and tools. This system is also known as GNU/Linux.

The term "Linux" is also used for whole Linux distributions, which typically bundle large quantities of software along with the operating system, such as web servers, programming languages, databases, desktop environments like GNOME and KDE and office suites like Such distributions have experienced rapid growth in popularity, overtaking many proprietary versions of Unix and even challenging the dominance of Microsoft Windows in some areas.

Linux supports a vast range of computer hardware and has been deployed in applications ranging from personal computers to supercomputers and embedded systems such as mobile phones and the TiVo PVR.

Initially developed and used mostly by individual enthusiasts, Linux has since gained the support of large companies like IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Analysts attribute this success to its vendor-independence, its low hardware cost and high speed compared to proprietary Unix and its security and reliability compared to Windows. These traits also serve as evidence of the utility of the open-source development model.


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