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Chapter 1. Introduction > Why Linux? - Pg. 2

Introduction 2 Note that this really covers only the Linux kernel, and the GNU utilities included with most distribu- tions. This does not prevent a company like Red Hat from assembling all these programs, adding a few special ones (installation and administration scripts, for example), producing a CD-ROM, and charging you $80 for it. The Linux kernel and source code is there. The source code to all the other GNU utilities is either also available or pointers to the source code exist. Thus, these companies have met their end of the GNU license. Many of these also sponsor Linux-related events or offer free CD-ROMs to software contributors. Companies such as Red Hat have a more expensive product, but they add things that may not be covered by the GNU Public License (GPL). For example, Red Hat sells a copy of their distribution for three different architectures for about $80. Why Linux? So why would you (or your company) want to use Linux in a personal or business setting? The answer goes past the shortsighted "anti-Microsoft" response. Microsoft makes a fair product for a new user. But so does Apple. Linux gives you things that Windows 95 can only dream about: · Source code for the entire kernel. · Full configurability of the operating system. · Ability to turn features of the system on and off without rebooting. · Full 32-bit operating system, or 64-bit for the Alpha and Sparc series processors. As new chips arrive (Pentium III and Merced), Linux will be ported to these new chips. · Access to the 25 years of software experience that make up the UNIX world. This includes compilers, Web servers, editors, games, and Internet tools.