If you searched the definition for open source software, it would make sense to find a description of Linux.
Linus Torvalds is the software engineer who wrote Linux. It started as a personal project and grew to become the largest community driven computing effort ever recorded. Linux is considered an open source version of Unix. The file system is hierarchical, with the top node referred to as the root. Additionally, processes, devices, and network sockets are all represented by file-like objects. The benefit is that these representations can be worked with like they are regular files.
Linux is a multitasking, multiuser operating system. Its built-in networking and service processes are known as daemons in the UNIX world. To understand the power and popularity of Linux, just consider that it powers roughly 80% of financial transactions, and 90% of super computers.
What probably gives it the definition for open source software is that it is a collaborative effort. Technical skills and willingness are all you need to contribute to the effort. The Linux Kernal is 15 million lines of code. A major new kernal comes out every 2-3 months. This rate of development is unmatched in the industry. Thousands of developers contribute to its evolution, but Linus Torvalds has ultimate authority over new releases.
Arguably, the most important decision Torvalds every made was to grant Linus a GPU license. This gave people freedom to use, change, and share Linux.
The Linux Community
If you work in Linux, then at some point you will want to engage with the Linux community: you can post queries on relevant discussion forums, subscribe to discussion threads, and even join local Linux groups.
The popularity of Linux at the enterprise level helped create an ecosystem of enterprise support, with contributions coming from major tech companies. IBM is recognized as one notable contributor.
Linux users connect with each other the following ways:
- Linux User Groups (both local and online)
- Internet Relay Chat (IRC) software (such as Pidgin and XChat)
- Online communities and discussion boards
- Newsgroups and mailing lists
- Community events (such as Linux and ApacheCon)
The most powerful resource for the Linux community is linux.org. This site is hosted by the Linux Foundation. It has many discussion threads, tutorials, and tips.