What Is Linux?

Linux is the kernel of operating systems that look like and perform as
well or better than the famous operating system from AT&T Bell Labs.
Linus Torvalds and a loosely knit team of volunteer hackers from
across the Internet wrote (and still are writing) Linux from scratch.
It has all of the features of a modern, fully fledged operating
system: true multitasking, threads, virtual memory, shared libraries,
demand loading, shared, copy-on-write executables, proper memory
management, loadable device driver modules, video frame buffering, and
TCP/IP networking.

Most people, however, refer to the operating system kernel, system
software, and application software, collectively, as "Linux," and that
convention is used in this FAQ as well.

Linux was written originally for 386/486/586-based PC's, using the
hardware facilities of the 80386 processor family to implement its
features. There are now many ports to other hardware platforms.
("Ports to Other Processors.")

There are also Linux distributions specifically for mobile and
handheld platforms. An API specification and developers kit for the
Crusoe Smart Microprocessor developed by Transmeta Corporation are at
http://www.transmeta.com/. Information on the Linux distribution for
the Compaq iPAQ is at http://www.handhelds.org/

Refer also to the Linux INFO-SHEET for more details as well as the
answers to "Where Is the Documentation?", "What Hardware Is
Supported?", and "Ports to Other Processors.", below. A list updated
weekly is at: http://lwn.net/ Archive of many of the distributions are
on line at: ftp://ftp.tux.org/ and http://planetmirror.com/pub/linux.

The Linux kernel is distributed under the GNU General Public License.
("What Is Linux's Open-Source License?")

There is a historical archive of all versions of the Linux kernel at

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