A Brief Review of the Kernel and the Various Distributions of Linux

A Brief Review of the Kernel and the Various Distributions of Linux

Jurgen Mone (Business College of Athens, Greece), Ioannis Makris (Business College of Athens, Greece), Vaios Koumaras (Business College of Athens, Greece), and Harilaos Koumaras (Business College of Athens, Greece)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch396
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The first attempts to create an open source software system was made by Richard Stallman in 1983 with the establishment of the GNU project which had as a goal to create a free UNIX – like operating system that could be used widely by the users(gnu.org, 2013). During the following years after finding the necessary software he managed in 1990 to create a fully functional operating system the “Hurd” which didn’t had a great impact in the industry and due to the lack of interest was abandoned (gnu.org, 2013).

A similar attempt was also made some years before Stallman’s project by the University of California, Berkley which created the BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) in 1977 based on the 6th version of UNIX that was published by AT&T. This attempt also failed to make a difference in the industry due to the fact that the company that owned the copyright of UNIX (AT&T) filled a lawsuit in 1990 against the use of their system by the UC Berkley limiting this way the adoption that BSD would have (McKusick, M, K., 2000).

In 1987 Andrew S. Tanenbaum released a UNIX – based system named MINIX which was going to be used for academic purposes. The characteristics of MINIX that made it related to the open source software was the fact that the source code was available but not for redistribution or further modification (minix3.org, 2005).

Those attempts that were made and the lack of a widely adopted free kernel made Linus Torvalds to start the development of a project that would be known later as Linux (gondwanaland.com, 1993). The project began in 1991 at Helsinki where Torvalds with the use of the university servers created a terminal emulator specifically written for the hardware that he was using independently of the operating system. The development was done in MINIX environment with the use of the GNU C compiler which is still the main option to compile Linux source code even these days (groups.google.com, 1991). The initial release of Linux was made by Torvalds on the august of 1991 in the Usenet newsgroup when he posted that he created a new free operating system for the 386(486) AT clones (Torvalds, Diamond, 2001). The name that was given to the operating system came from Torvalds name Linus and the official publish release under the GNU General Public License was done in 1992 (kernel.org, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Programming Languages: A formal language that is designed to communicate instructions to a computing machine as a part of a computer program or an algorithm expression.

UNIX: A computer operating system which supports features like multitasking and multi- user access.

Computer Architecture: A specification of how software and hardware technology interact in order to form a computer system or a platform.

GNU Compiler Collection: A compiler system produced by the GNU project in order to support various programming languages in the operating system.

Kernel: A computing program that manages input/output requests from software and translates them data processing instructions for the CPU (central processing unit) and the other components of the computer system.

Super – Computer: A computer system that performs at the highest operational rate for computers. This category of computers is used most of the time for great scientific researches and evens or in order to perform extremely complicated calculations for large engineering projects.

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