As Linux ( dt [li ː nʊks ] ) or GNU / Linux ( see GNU / Linux naming controversy ) is usually referred to free Unix- like computer operating systems based on the Linux kernel and much of the GNU software. The wide, commercial distribution was made possible since 1992 by licensing the Linux kernel under the free GPL license. One of the initiators of Linux was the Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds. He started to wage a coordinating role in the development of the Linux kernel.

The operating system is modular developed by software developers around the world who are involved in the various projects. In the development of businesses, non -profit organizations and many volunteers are involved. When used on computers usually called Linux distributions are used. A distribution summarizes the Linux kernel with different software together to an operating system that is suitable for end use. However, many distributors and savvy users adjust the kernel to their own purposes.

Linux is versatile and extensively used, for example, on desktop computers, servers, mobile phones, routers, netbooks, embedded systems, multimedia terminals and supercomputers. Here, Linux is often used in different ways: For Linux in the server market as well as in the mobile space a fixed size, while it plays a small but growing role on the desktop. Linux is used by numerous users, including residential users, governments and organizations such as the French Parliament, the City of Munich and the U.S. Department of Defense, companies such as Samsung, Siemens, Google, Amazon, Peugeot etc.

  • 2.1 technology
  • 2.2 kernel versions
  • 2.3 What's New in 2.6 kernel
  • 2.4 Development Process
  • 3.1 History of Linux distributions
  • 3.2 Current distributions
  • 3.3 Variety
  • 3.4 Compatibility between the distributions
  • 4.1 Linux on the Desktop
  • 4.2 Linux as a server
  • 4.3 Linux as the smartphone and tablet system
  • 4.4 supercomputer
  • 4.5 ( automotive ) industry
  • 4.6 Other areas of application
  • 5.1 General
  • 5.2 Security Updates
  • 5.3 Technical skills
  • 6.1 Personal Certificates
  • 6.2 Software Certificates
  • 9.1 conventions
  • 9.2 Print and electronic media


Developments in the run-

Launched in 1983 by Richard Stallman 's GNU project had the goal to create a Unix-like, POSIX - compatible operating system. Although in the early 90s, a considerable amount of software has been written, but put the actual operating system kernel still at an early stage and developed only slowly. The equally free Berkeley Software Distribution, which had developed in the 80s, was involved in a legal battle with an uncertain outcome and was for this reason also no alternative free operating system. This was the beginning of the 1990s not a complete, free system is available, which would have been interesting for developers.

Historical development

1991 Linus Torvalds began in Helsinki ( Finland) with the development of a terminal emulation to better understand, among other things his own computer. By the time he realized that the system developed more and more to an operating system and announced it then to the Usenet group topics for Minix, comp.os.minix to. In September of the same year, the system should then be made ​​available to interested persons on a server. The former FTP server administrator Ari Lemmke liked none of the proposed Torvalds name Freax or Buggix, so he published it instead in a directory called Linux. Torvalds was with this name initially disagreed, but gave up his resistance to fast because he had to admit in his own words, that Linux was just a better name.

Linux was released at that time still under its own license, which prohibited commercial use. However, Torvalds soon realized that the hindered the progress of the development. He wanted to give all developers a lot more space and therefore put Linux in January 1992 under the GNU GPL. It was now possible to integrate Linux in GNU and distribute this as the first free operating system. This step made ​​the system for an even larger number of developers interesting because it simplified the modification and distribution., In 1996, Torvalds a competition to find a mascot for the operating system. He laid down in advance that there should be a penguin. As the winner eventually went Tux out of the competition.

The name GNU / Linux

The term was used by Linux Torvalds initially only for the kernel written by him. This was initially used on Minix. Torvalds and other Linux Linux 1992 Authors licensed under the GNU GPL, so that the kernel in GNU could be integrated. This GNU variant has quickly become the most widely used variant, since there was no functioning free kernels at this time. As Torvalds and his followers referred to later also the entire operating system as Linux, tried the founder of the GNU project, Richard Stallman, soon to enforce the name GNU / Linux to give the role of GNU adequate in his eyes validity. This requirement met with mixed reactions. While the GNU project and the Debian project adopted the name, most developers and other Linux distributors rejected this or resisted significantly. This was justified on the one hand with ease, because the name Linux was considered easier and on the other hand, with the indication that now did not originate a considerable amount shipped with Linux software from the GNU project.

Development today

The development of the Linux kernel is still organized by Torvalds. This is for an employee of the nonprofit Linux Foundation. Other major developers are often paid by different companies. So, for example, Andrew Morton working on behalf of Google to the Linux kernel and is in the so-called merge window for collecting all the changes and sending it to Torvalds responsible.

In addition to the kernel development, other projects to the operating system have collected, which made it interesting for a greater number of users. To enable graphical desktop environments like KDE or GNOME high user comfort when used as a desktop system. Various designed on the desktop Linux distributions simplified the installation and configuration of Linux so far that they can be easily mastered by beginners.

A worldwide developer and user community creates a variety of other software and documentation about Linux, which have expanded the possibilities enormously. On top of that the proprietary software vendors are increasingly recognizing a market for Linux users and offering increased with time programs for Linux. The development focuses on free software runs both in self-organized projects, consisting of volunteer and paid developers, as well as partially supported by company foundations. Common to all models is that they have strong links on the Internet and there takes place a large part of the organization and arrangement.

Dispute over Linux

Early on there were around Linux for battle. 1992 attacked Andrew S. Tanenbaum on Linux because of an outdated view from his designs and to a liberal model of development. Later Tanenbaum again came into play as Ken Brown wrote in his book Samizdat, searching for clues that Linux is only one copy of Tanenbaum Minix. Tanenbaum Linux took this time to protection. Linux to have a bad design, as it could be written off.

Others dispute existed with declared competitors. Internal Microsoft documents (Halloween documents) were known early on that showed that Microsoft assumed that Linux is the biggest threat to Windows. Later, Microsoft started a campaign to make Windows look like technically well economically in a confrontation with Linux. While the community looked quite left this campaign, launched primarily companies in the Linux environment from campaigns. In autumn 2006, but announced Microsoft and Novell to cooperate in interoperability and patent protection, so as to enhance the collaboration between the different products.

Another competitor, the Unix vendor SCO, again rose in 2003 alleged that employees at IBM Linux developers had copied source code from SCO Unix to Linux. The case was closed in the summer of 2007, the SCO Group has since filed for bankruptcy and was excluded from trading. 2013 retrial was sought. In the article, SCO against Linux, the dispute is documented chronologically.

Also made ​​the trademark Linux to create an early age. So let some individuals enter the mid-1990s the name Linux on what Torvalds again could only be undone with a lot of help. He transferred the administration of the trademark rights to the Linux Mark Institute, which in turn struck in 2005 when it established the licenses for trademark protection on up to $ 5,000 per year. This sum brought mainly the minds of many community projects to boil, whereupon Torvalds felt compelled to take a position in an open letter and make it clear that the money would simply need to ensure that the non-profit working Linux Mark Institute could cover its own costs.

The kernel


The term was used by Linux Linus Torvalds initially only for the kernel, this makes the software an interface with which they can access the hardware without having to know them more closely. The Linux kernel is written in the C programming monolithic kernel. Important part routines and time-critical modules, however, are programmed into processor -specific assembly language. The kernel makes it possible to load only the necessary for the respective hardware drivers. Furthermore, the kernel also handles the allocation of processor time and resources to the various programs that are started on it. The individual technical processes, the design of Linux draws heavily upon his example Unix.

The Linux kernel has since been ported to a large number of hardware architectures. The repertoire ranges from the more exotic operating environments such as the iPAQ handheld computers, GPS devices from TomTom or even digital cameras to mainframes such as IBM's System z and, more recently, mobile phones such as the Motorola A780 and smartphones with the Android operating system. Despite the monolithic module concept basic architecture remained. The orientation of the original version of the popular x86 PCs led early to support a variety of hardware efficiently and to facilitate the provision of drivers and novice programmers. The basic structures engendered spurred the spread.

Kernel versions

In all kernel versions are archived. The where -to-find version is based on the reference kernel. In this so-called distribution kernel build, complemented by individual Linux distributions to other functions. A special feature of the, which consists of four numbers separated by dots version numbering scheme is, for example It provides information on the exact version and thus on the abilities of the corresponding kernel. Of the four figures for the last fixes and cleanup is changed, but not for new features or major changes. For this reason, it is also given only rarely, when compared, for example, kernel versions. The second to last, third number is changed when new skills or features are added. The same applies to the first two numbers in this, however, the changes and new features need to be more drastic. Since version 3.0 (August 2011) is dispensed to the second digit.

What's New in 2.6 kernel

The stable 2.6 kernel was developed from December 2001 on the basis of the then 2.4 kernel and has a number of innovations. The most striking effect of these changes is that graphical and interactive applications run much faster.

One major change was to improve the so-called O (1) scheduler, Ingo Molnar for the 2.6 kernel completely redesigned. It has the ability to assign CPU time to different processes to be done independently of the number of processes in constant time. Since kernel 2.6.23, but comes instead of the so-called Completely Fair Scheduler to use.

Another innovation is the introduction of Access Control Lists, with the help of a very finely tuned management of rights is possible, which is very important especially in environments with many users. Likewise, the new kernel has a significantly improved system of monitoring file. In the new version, called inotify, monitoring is in each operation on a file from a message, which is important eg for desktop search engines, which can then update its index with respect to this file.

Development process

The development of Linux is not in the hands of individuals, corporations or countries, but in the hands of a global community of many programmers who exchange primarily through the Internet by the GPL and a very open development model. In many e -mail lists, but also in forums and on Usenet, there is the possibility to follow the discussions about the kernel, to participate in it and to also make active contributions to the development for everyone. Through this simple procedure, a fast and steady development is ensured, which also brings with it the possibility that anyone can make available to the kernel skills he needed. This is Bounded only by the control of Linus Torvalds and a few specially selected programmers who have the final say in the recording of improvements and patches. In this way, every day roughly 4,300 lines of new code, and day are unloaded about 1,800 rows and 1,500 are subject to change (details according to Greg Kroah- Hartman as the average for the year 2007). The development currently has approximately 100 managers ( " maintainer " ) for 300 subsystems involved.


Because the Linux kernel alone would not run or operate, you have to distribute it with auxiliary software together, for example, the GNU core utilities, and many other applications. Such a compilation is called " Linux distribution ", it is a compilation of different software, which may vary depending on the condition. The resulting distributions differ, sometimes very significantly. The editor of a Linux distribution is the distributor.

History of Linux distributions

The need of Linux distributions resulted from the development model of Linux almost immediately. The tools from the GNU project were quickly adapted for Linux, in order to provide a workable system. The first compilations of this kind were 1992 MCC Interim Linux, Linux Soft Landing System ( SLS) and Yggdrasil Linux. The oldest still existing distribution, Slackware by Patrick Volkerding, followed in 1993 and is derived from Soft Landing Linux system.

With the spread of Linux distributions and more people were given the opportunity to test the system, of the distributions further been more and more extensive, so that a larger and larger area of ​​application could be opened up what Linux had increasingly become an attractive alternative to operating systems established manufacturer. Over time, also changed the background of the distributions: Were the first distributions nor the convenience and written by individuals or small groups, there are now some very large community projects volunteers, corporate distributions or a combination of both.

Today's distributions

Behind most, primarily to small distributions are available today on the Internet Projects Coordinated volunteer. The major distributions tend to be managed by foundations and corporations. The application possibilities of the individual distributions differentiated strongly with time. From the desktop PC via server installations and live CDs to distributions on technical research purposes, everything is represented. The composition of a typical Linux distribution for the desktop PC includes a large number of software components that allow for daily work. Most distributions are provided in the form of finished CD or DVD images on the Internet or sold with support contracts or manuals.

For special applications, there are often not directly installable distributions. Here frameworks like OpenEmbedded For example, for routers or mobile phones used to prepare a distribution for use on the device.


This property offers a large number of distributions that allows the user a very fine tuning of the selection criteria to their own needs. The most appropriate distribution for many inexperienced users therefore not easy. The software you are using more weight for home than for companies that want turn more attention to the availability of an official customer support ("Support" ). Also, the policy of the project or the company behind the distribution, eg in relation to proprietary software, play a role, such as the characteristics of the community in this project.

The list of Linux distributions contains a list of the most important or most popular distributions.

Compatibility between the distributions

The variety of distributions that have partially different binary formats, own directory structures, and similar differences, leads to a degree of incompatibility between distributions, the date could not be resolved by policies such as the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. Thus, software is provided for the distribution of A, not necessarily be installed on the distribution of B. Different perspectives and approaches to this problem are examined in detail in the main article Linux distributions.

Areas of application

The areas of application of Linux have been constantly expanding since the first version and cover today from a wide range.

Linux on the Desktop

Linux or a Linux distribution, can be operated as a single operating system installed, but use even within a multi-boot system. Can install parallel to Linux, for example, next to Microsoft Windows, BSD or Mac OS X. New distributions such as OpenSUSE, Debian or Ubuntu guide the user with the help of graphical user interfaces through the installation on the PC and detect other operating systems almost always independent. For well over a thousand free programs an individual combination can be selected. Word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia, networking tools, games or scientific applications cover most application areas that are important in everyday office life and in the private sector.

Despite security lead over the most widely used Windows operating system and the possibility of parallel installation and extensive, free software offering Linux is used on desktop computers hesitant. Although the most common Linux desktop environments can be operated similar to a Windows or Mac OS X, they are distinguished by various system functions from them. Therefore, as with almost every change of the operating system, a certain training period be necessary. In contrast to the low penetration on the desktop Linux is on server systems, to embedded systems, and on smartphones already an established operating system.

The installation of most distributions is easy and gives common settings, also the installation of applications usually runs fully automatically, since it is usually done by a package manager. Since the exact procedure but not all Linux distributions are uniform, may require training period, a change of the Linux distribution. The installation of programs that do not belong to the scope of the distribution may be different: Ideally, a package source, the program developer, which are included in the package manager and can be installed over these then exist. There are also a number of programs packages that are tailored to the distribution available for download. In the worst case, the software must be purchased as source code and compiled for the respective system. Applications that were brought by the provider only for Mac OS X or Windows on the market, you can usually under Linux using API implementations like Wine, CrossOver, Cedega or GNUstep or alternatively use by setting up a virtual machine with the original operating system. In other cases, one must resort to alternative applications that are available for Linux.

The two widely used desktop environments Gnome and KDE have different operating concepts, which is why many distributors publish standards and guidelines to almost bring both developers and users dealing with different desktop environments and to unify it.

Have become known major migrations of companies or institutions that have converted hundreds or thousands of computers to Linux desktops, such as the city of Munich as part of the LiMux project or the conversion of 20,000 desktops at Peugeot Citroën. With the delivery of the installed operating systems through some dealer as well as the growing popularity of some distributions, such as Ubuntu Linux use on desktop computers grew from early 2007 to mid-2008 to almost 30 percent. In the UK, the market share in 2008 was about 2.8 percent. Worldwide was first determined a market share of one percent in April 2009 in the Market -share report from Net Applications. After falling in 2010 according NetMarketShare again to 0.9%, the market share increased to 1.41% by December 2011.

Linux as a server

Because of the compatibility of Linux along with other Unix-like systems, Linux has established itself very quickly in the server market. Since fully free standing and largely for Linux early on but many common and unnecessary server software, such as web servers, database servers and groupware available, the market share grew steadily there.

Since Linux is to maintain stable and simple, it also meets the special conditions that are placed on a server operating system. The modular design of the Linux system also enables the operation of a compact, dedicated server. In addition, the port of Linux has led to a variety of hardware components to the fact that Linux supports all known server architectures.

It is used here for virtually all tasks. One of the most famous examples is the Linux server configuration LAMP in Linux using Apache, MySQL and PHP / Perl (sometimes Python) is combined. Even proprietary business software like SAP R / 3 is now available on various distributions and has reached a figure of more than 1,000 systems installed. The Linux Terminal Server Project allows it, except the BIOS of the client to manage all software centrally.

Since Linux can be run on a variety of different types of hardware, and the Linux server hardware used for similar extensive. Also modern hardware as that of IBM eServer p5 is supported and enabled there, the parallel running of up to 254 Linux systems (Model P595 ). On IBM mainframes of the current System z Linux line runs either natively, using PR / SM in up to 30 LPARs or any of them under z / VM in potentially unlimited many real tens of thousands of virtual machines.

In October 2012, at least 32% of all websites on a Linux server were hosted. Since not all Linux servers identify themselves as such, the actual proportion could be as much as 24 percentage points higher. This is an actual market share of up to about 55 % can not be excluded. The market share of selling Linux server systems, for the second quarter 2013 was 23.2 %. Since servers often from a customer even another operating system is installed, this number is only limited information on the effective use of Linux on server systems.

Linux as the smartphone and tablet system

For smartphones and tablets have been optimized Linux distributions. They offer in addition to the voice and SMS functions, various PIM, navigation and multimedia features. The operation is typically via multi-touch or with a stylus. Linux - based smartphone systems are usually developed by a consortium of firms or a single firm and sometimes differ very much from the otherwise classic desktop, embedded and server distributions. Unlike in the embedded space Linux - based smartphone systems but are not limited to a specific device, but they serve as an operating system for devices of very different model ranges and are often used across manufacturers.

The architecture of these smartphone and tablet distributions has partially little to do besides the Linux kernel with the classical distributions. Thus, only a small part of the usual GNU software environment is used by Android. Most commonly used on Linux UNIX-like services and tools to be replaced to a large extent by a Java runtime environment. This creates new programming interfaces that emulate on any other platforms or can be implemented. Other Smartphone distributions, such as Firefox OS, Ubuntu for phones, Maemo, Tizen, Mer, Sailfish OS and MeeGo use larger pieces of classical GNU software environment so that these distributions can be partially easier supplemented with classical Linux applications and thus more Linux distributions in the classical sense correspond.

The WebOS was developed by Palm HP also is based on the Linux kernel, but the userland is composed of a proprietary development under another license. Even the formerly developed by Samsung Bada was used in addition to an RTOS kernel on a Linux kernel, which was never sold by Samsung in this combination.

Linux - based distributions have taken the lead in the fast- growing smartphone market since the end of 2010. They exhibited in July 2011 at a market share of at least 45 %. Mostly Android Devices Apple iOS, Windows Phone and Symbian OS have successfully pushed back.


Since Linux can be customized and optimized arbitrary, it has spread widely in data centers where specially adapted versions on mainframe computers, computer clusters ( see Beowulf ) or run supercomputers.

In the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers (November 2013) lists a total of 482 operated exclusively on Linux systems and 4 partial ( CNK / SLES 9) on Linux -powered systems. Thus, 96.4 % and 97.2 % run completely at least partially under Linux. Almost all other systems are operated on a Unix or Unix-like systems. The largest in the desktop segment competitor Windows plays in the field of supercomputers with 2 systems ( space 237 and 309) only a minor role ( 0.4%). In June 2011, there were four systems ( including number 40 ), which were operated under Windows.

( Automotive ) industry

Linux is made up of a variety of reasons, more and more in industry, especially in the automotive industry, by. The world's first powered by Linux infotainment system developed by General Motors in cooperation with Bosch. The GENIVI Alliance defines requirements for a Linux distribution specifically for infotainment systems in vehicles. The largest market penetration has Linux in Japan. Among the well-known companies that use Linux are: Ashisuto, Aisin AW, JVC KENWOOD Corporation, NTT DATA MSE and Turbo Systems.

Other areas of application

May make use of operating system and NAS storage systems or wireless router Linux. Advantage is that a very active developer community that their resources ( the kernel with the interfaces, memory management and network functions, but eg also big development programs, existing code as the user OPIE or GPE Palmtop Environment, experience, etc. ) producers can access it.

Linux and Security


The reasons for the assessment of Linux as a secure system are different and depend on its tasks and the software configuration used. So Linux as a desktop system has a strict division of access rights that is not observed with other popular desktop systems in the normal case. This leads, among other things, that many principles of operation of common worms and viruses can not access Linux, or only one user to another, but can not compromise the whole system. So far, very few viruses occurred under Linux, for example Staog and Bliss. Compared to other desktop systems Linux has experienced the first major distribution among users with a highly technical and security-conscious environment. The development thus came to pass, compared with other popular desktop systems, under the eyes of a very safety-critical audience. Unlike desktop systems, the security of server systems primarily depends on the degree of the administrators experience with the system from itself. Linux scores here by the free availability, which allows administrators to install the system at no extra cost in various test scenarios and to study there extensively. There are also a number of specially hardened Linux distributions, which put special emphasis on safety aspects. Initiatives such as SELinux endeavor there to meet the high safety standards.

An advantage is that Linux is not set to a hardware architecture. Worms and viruses can always spread only on the part of the Linux systems on which hardware they are tailored. In addition, Linux is open source software. Everyone can thus study, examine and adapt the source code. This leads among other things to the fact that the source code ( be it for the purpose of adjustment, for the purpose of training, from the security interests of the institution or company or out of personal interest ) is studied by more people than is possible with proprietary programs the case may be, which vulnerabilities notice faster (and then can be solved ).

Security Updates

An essential feature of many Linux distributions is that they offer security updates for all software provided free and automated. Although this function also exists in other popular operating systems, recognized there but not all software provided does not work through automatically or is not free, so the hurdle einzuspielen such updates for other operating systems is higher than in Linux.

Because of security updates generally available anti -virus programs for Linux are not widespread. Instead of searches with an antivirus program for malware that exploits known vulnerabilities in the installed application software vulnerabilities are already closed on security updates. The existing anti-virus programs for Linux are therefore particularly used to examine file and e -mail server for viruses for other operating systems.

Technical skills

From a technical point of view, Linux has many abilities that requires a demanding safety environment. This includes both a simple user and group permission management using Role Based Access Control, as well as a more complex rights management using Access Control Lists. In addition, many recent distributions also implement Mandatory Access Control concepts using the SELinux / AppArmor technology.

Likewise, virtually every Linux distribution, a Secure Shell implementation ( usually OpenSSH ), with the authenticated encrypted and therefore secure connections can be guaranteed between computers. Other encryption, such as Transport Layer Security are also fully supported.

In the context of encryption for stored data on media is the cryptographic tool dm -crypt is available that allows a hard disk encryption. It offers the possibility of encryption according to current standards such as the Advanced Encryption Standard. Transparent encryption, in which only individual files are encrypted instead of entire hard disks that run encryption extension EncFS and ReiserFS are available. The security certificates that were acquired in connection with Linux, see the section software certificates.


Personal Certificates

In order to make the degree of knowledge of technicians and administrators to measure, a number of Linux certificates were launched. The Linux Professional Institute (LPI ) provides for a globally recognized Linux certification in three levels, the first two levels ( LPIC -1 and LPIC -2 ), each with two exams and the third level ( LPIC - 3) with a Core exam (301) and multiple optional extension tests. The major Linux distributors such as Red Hat, Novell and Ubuntu have its own training certificates, but they are designed in part to the distributions and their peculiarities.

Software certificates

To assess the degree of certainty of technology products, there are also a number of certificates, many of whom were awarded for certain Linux distributions. For example, the Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9 Linux distributor Novell receive of the safety certification of EAL4 Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation, Red Hat has just received for his Redhat Enterprise Linux 4 distribution EAL4 certification. One problem with the certification set for many distributors, however, the high cost dar. will cost certification to EAL2 about 400,000 U.S. dollars.

Hardware Support

As one of the main criticisms of Linux is often called, that not all hardware will support Linux or device drivers for Linux are not available. Although Linux has more drivers supplied as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, however, provide the hardware manufacturers themselves seldom Linux drivers for their hardware. While are drivers available for hardware with open documented, generic interface (such as mice, keyboards, hard drives and USB host controller ), this is for other classes of hardware (eg, network interfaces, sound cards and video cards ) is not always the case, since each manufacturer uses its own hardware, hardware-specific interfaces. The specification of these interfaces are also usually not published, so they have to be developed by means of black-box analysis and reverse engineering. Examples are Intel HD audio interface and its Linux implementation " snd- hda -intel " or the free 3D graphics driver " nouveau " for specific 3D graphics chips from Nvidia. The Power Management ACPI standard is very complicated and tailored to the motherboard, so a full Linux implementation is not easy.

An often cited reason for non- deployment of Linux drivers, the development model of the Linux kernel: Because he has no fixed driver API, drivers must be adapted to changes in the various kernel versions again and again. Directly integrated into the kernel drivers are indeed mostly mitgepflegt of the kernel developers, but must be released under the GNU General Public License (GPL ), which some hardware manufacturers refuse. But externally provided drivers also need to be constantly adapted and released in new versions, which brings a huge development effort. Moreover, the legal position of such external modules that are not under the GPL, controversial because they technical reasons must contain GPL - licensed components of the kernel in compiled form.

The problem of hardware support through so-called binary driver ( Grant binaries without disclosing the source code ) is a controversial issue in the Linux environment: While some for exclusion of proprietary kernel modules plead in favor of others that some manufacturer ever - provide driver - necessary even proprietary with the argument that Linux users would be disadvantaged without it, because they would otherwise be cut off from certain hardware simple.

However, drivers for many device classes (eg, all connected via USB or network devices ) can also be programmed without any kernel code, which is in fact the preferred approach.

Digital rights management

Linus Torvalds emphasizes that do not exclude Linux and digital rights management ( DRM) technology. Even free DRM method for use under Linux are available.

In practice, however, the use of DRM protected media on Linux is rarely possible than with other systems, because due to the principle of digital rights management can decide on which DRM systems, their media rights holder may be used alone. The methods used therein are not standardized, but are controlled by the respective manufacturers, and the two largest manufacturers of digital rights management systems in the consumer environment, Microsoft and Apple have published as of October 2009, no corresponding programs for Linux or given only appropriate intentions known.

However, there are Windows -DRM certified software that can be used under Linux, as used for example in the AVM FRITZ! Media 8020.

In principle, in the DRM procedure, the need for the data to which the user should have only limited rights, the user may be provided in unencrypted form available at any time, because otherwise he could indeed make an unencrypted copy at this moment. Because Linux is open source, it is easy for users possible to replace the corresponding part of a local program, purely software-based DRM system by own code that does exactly this.

Events and media


The annual LinuxTag is the largest annual fair on the topics of Linux and free software in Europe. In addition to the exhibitions of all well-known companies and projects in the Linux environment to visitors and a presentation program will be offered on various topics. LinuxTag even exists since 1996 and moved last a year more than 10,000 visitors. In addition to the large LinuxTag there are still a number of smaller and regional Linux days, often organized with the support of universities.

Other events of the international Linux congress heard - Linux System Technology Conference in Hamburg. A curiosity is the annual Linux Beer Hike, the Linux enthusiasts around the world will give an opportunity to the common "Celebrate, hiking and drinking beer ."

Besides the general trade fairs and congresses held every year the LUG- Camp instead. This is being organized since 2000 by Linux users from the room Flensburg through to Switzerland and visited.

Print and electronic media

With the increasing popularity of Linux there is also a range of print media has developed that deal with the topic. Besides a large number of books on all aspects of Linux are also regularly published magazines have established in the market. The best-known representatives are here, the individual issues of the Medialinx AG, the monthly ( Linux-Magazin, Admin Magazine, Linux users ) or quarterly (Easy Linux) appear. Already since a while also produce other large publishers such as IDG computer with the bimonthly Linux world and Heise with appearing in irregular sequence c't Linux publication series or special issues to long-standing journals, namely PCWelt and c't.

In addition to the printed journals, which are often flanked by a ( subscription-based ) parallel electronic online edition, also a free e - magazine has established itself on the Internet, which is made ​​available to the public under the name freiesMagazin. In this e-Magazine posts about Linux and Open Source issues will be published, probably by their own initiative make authors.



The discovered on 12 October 1994 Asteroid ( 9885 ) Linux is named after the Linux kernel.


The topic on Linux was also treated in a number of documentaries. So the cinema documentary film Revolution OS deals with the history of Linux, free software and open source and is supported thereby largely on interviews with several well-known representatives of the scene. The TV documentary Code Name: Linux, broadcast in Germany by Arte, is similar paths, but also represents a chronological history of the development of Linux and Unix