GNU/Linux is a free Unix-type operating system, integrating aspects of the Linux kernel with the GNU system, and other software developed. It is distributed under the GNU GPL and other free licenses.
Linux is actually the name of the kernel developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991, which is integrated with components already implemented by the GNU project (gcc, glibc and other utilities) and other software projects.
It has been used as basis for the realization of the open source operating systems and distributions that are usually identified with the same name. According to Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU project, and the Free Software Foundation, the words Linux (without the prefix “GNU /”) for the entire operating system are incorrect.
This is because the name is attributable to the Linux kernel and system only, structured components from the original GNU project should be called GNU / Linux.
Using well-known servers, Linux is supported by companies like IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Red Hat and Novell. And is employed as the operating system on a variety of hardware, from desktops, supercomputers to embedded systems such as cell phones and PDAs, and netbooks.
More companies that collaborate in the dissemination of this operating system whether working in the Linux kernel, providing software solutions or pre-installing the operating system include Intel, Google, AMD, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Silicon Graphics International (SGI), Renesas Technology, Fujitsu, Analog Devices, Freescale, VIA Technologies, Oracle, among others.
Linux is also the operating system most commonly used to run Apache, MySQL and PHP, the software foundation of most web servers around the world. The initials of these three projects, together with the initial of the word Linux, have given rise to the acronym LAMP.
With the evolution of desktop environments like KDE and GNOME, the system offers a graphical interface similar to Microsoft’s Windows or Mac OS X. Which is closer to the needs of novice users, making the transition from one system to another easier.
The essential difference of Linux compared to other competing operating systems – such as Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Solaris – is that its a free operating system, granting users freedoms. As defined by the GNU GPL, making them independent vis-à-vis any publisher, encouraging mutual support and sharing.
Linux could not develop without the presence of standardized protocols used on the Internet. Many free software such as Apache are reference implementations.
Elements of free software point to open formats, including technical specifications that are public, that is, with unrestricted access or implementation, so as not to depend on a single software.
The collection of utilities used for programming is largely the GNU family of compilers. It has ability to compile C, C + +, Java, Ada, and many other languages. It also supports different architectures by compiling cross, which makes it a suitable environment for heterogeneous development.
There are several integrated development environments available for GNU / Linux including Anjuta, KDevelop, Ultimate + +, Code:: Blocks, Eclipse and NetBeans IDE. GNU / Linux also has capabilities for scripting languages, apart from the classic shell programming languages. Or for word processing and regular expression patterns called awk, most distributions have installed Python, Perl, PHP and Ruby.