What is Linux?
Linux is an operating system that evolved from a kernel created by Linus Torvalds. He created this kernel when he was a student at the University of Helsinki.
Linux as an operating system is used as an alternative to other operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, MS-DOS, Solaris and others.
Linux is not a program or a set of programs. Linux is an interface between computer/server hardware, and the programs which run on it.
Brief History of Linux
Linus Torvalds was using a version of the UNIX operating system called ‘Minix’ for his project when he was studying at the University of Helsinki. He created his own operating system that would take into account users’ comments and suggestions for improvements, after Andrew Tanenbaum, creator of Minix refused Linus requests for modifications and improvements of Minix.
In 1984 Richard Stallman, who was working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, left MIT and founded GNU with the goal to produce software that is free to use, distribute and modify.
In 1991, Linus created Linux kernel but he did not have his own programs. Richard Stallman and GNU had programs but no working kernel.
Late in 1991, Linus wrapped few GNU programs with his kernel and he showed other people what he had done. People all over the world with extensive computer programming knowledge decided to offer their help. Developers began writing programs to run under Linux. They began writing drivers for different video cards, sound cards and other gadgets. Later different versions of Linux with different numbers of distros came into existence.