Linux is growing steadily year after year. With a passionate community backing it, with big companies Like IBM and HP pledging their support for it, it’s no wonder Linux- the wonder operating system for servers of the past, has also made it to the desktops of today. Not in a sweeping way yet, but in ways that will help you –the user. PC prices are already on their way down. And you get more choice with operating systems and applications. From being an OS only computer professionals had heard about, Linux, in a short time, has made a transition into the lucrative and high profile home PC segment. Most of the decision to switchover sounds very economical. From a measly base of a few thousand users, Linux now boasts of close to 50 million users, cracking the monolith of Microsoft’s monopoly. Companies like IBM, HP and Dell have also taken to Linux in a big way.
Microsoft doesn’t agree with the free concept at all-the software is free but the support isn't Windows code to outsiders so they could build on to it. Very recently though, the company has allowed part of the code to be opened up to some US government are vying with each other to get tech-savvy and help the citizens through e-governance, the opening up of the OS code is important, countries like India need a variety of regional language fonts and content to be created which can’t done without Microsoft’s help, if the choice is Windows. Since this isn’t happening much, they have gone ahead with adopting Linux.
Linux is based on the commercial OS, UNIX. All the OSs tries to pack in command line management of systems. System administrators of companies use command lines all the times as their lifeline, but it’s not really meant for regulars users. But UNIX and Linux are not all about just command line stuff. UNIX has had a graphical user interface for 30 years. In its 11 years Linux has always had always had a GUI too-in fact a choice of GUIs.
If there are so many people working on it. There’s likely to be many Linux versions too. Many companies working on Linux have come up with what are called Linux distributions. There are Linux versions that are compiled and packaged and released with various additional software.