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Linux® For Dummies®, 8th Edition by Richard Blum, Dee-Ann LeBlanc

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Linux: Revolution or Just Another Operating System?

Contrary to popular belief, penguins are not the salvation of modern technology. Neither do they throw parties for the urban proletariat.

—Anonymous

Author note: Cute quote . . . obviously Anonymous has never been to a Linux convention!

Before going any farther into Linux, I need to get some terminology out of the way.

Tux is the formal name of the mascot penguin that represents Linux. Rumor has it that Linux’s creator, Linus Torvalds, is rather fond of these well-dressed inhabitants of the Antarctic.

An operating system is the software that runs your computer, handling all interactions between you and the hardware. Whether you’re writing a letter, calculating a budget, or managing your recipes on your computer, the operating system provides the essential air that your computer breathes. Furthermore, an operating system isn’t just one program; it consists of hundreds of smaller programs and utilities that allow us humans to use a computer to do something useful. You then run other programs (such as your word processor) on top of the operating system to get everything done.

In recent technological history, Linux has evolved from water-cooler techie chatter to a rock-solid solution for the business enterprise. The same software that was once dismissed as rogue is now being adopted and promoted by industry leaders such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Microsoft, and Intel. Each of these computer manufacturers has, in some way, ...

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