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1. History and Standards > A Brief History of Linux

A Brief History of Linux

The term Linux is commonly used to refer to the entire UNIX-like operating system of which the Linux kernel forms a part. However, this is something of a misnomer, since many of the key components contained within a typical commercial Linux distribution actually originate from a project that predates the inception of Linux by several years.

The GNU Project

In 1984, Richard Stallman, an exceptionally talented programmer who had been working at MIT, set to work on creating a “free” UNIX implementation. Stallman’s outlook was a moral one, and free was defined in a legal sense, rather than a financial sense (see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html). Nevertheless, the legal freedom that Stallman described carried with it the implicit consequence that software such as operating systems would be available at no or very low cost.


  

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