Linux Online FAQ

What is Linux?
Linux is a Unix-like operating system originally developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. To get the whole story, see our Page devoted entirely to this question.

Where can I get Linux?
here are literally hundreds of places you can get Linux because there are hundreds of "versions" or distributions of Linux. If you think you might want Linux because you're considering alternatives to Microsoft Windows or Macintosh OS for everyday computer use, you may want to check out a version of Linux called 'Knoppix', which will boot from your CD drive and does not need to be installed. If you're interested in Linux for other reasons, we invite you to look at our list of Linux distributions. You'll likely find what you're looking for there.

What is a Linux distribution?
A Linux "distribution" is version of the Linux operating system made especially by a company, organization or individual. The one thing they all have in common is that they use the Linux kernel. From there on, each developer will add its own programs, tools and other applications. Some are dedicated to specific uses while others are intended for the general public. Again, you'll find more information at our Linux distributions page.

Which Linux distribution do you recommend?
Linux Online tries to be impartial, particularly when it comes to for-profit, commercial distributions. We really don't recommend any one distribution over others. Also, there are so many factors to take into account when choosing a distribution that it would be impossible to make recommendations in general.

Can we have permission to use the Linux penguin logo?
Larry Ewing is the creator of the Linux penguin, Tux. Larry was kind enough to give free license to use it when he created it provided you give the correct attributions. If you're in doubt, please have a look at his website for more information. http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/

Can you please forward this email/letter/gift/etc to Linus Torvalds?
Linus Torvalds does not work here at Linux Online so we don't handle any of Linus' correspondence. At present, he is working full-time on the kernel for the Open Source Development Labs. Please contact them if you need to get in touch with Linus or you wish to send him something. http://www.osdl.org/about_osdl/contact_osdl.html

Can you please send me Linux CDs?
Linux Online is a general information site about Linux. It is not a retailer of CDs, therefore we can't send you commercial versions of Linux. As far as non-commercial versions go, we do not have the staff and means to handle the enormous amount of potential requests for CDs. We do provide a list of retailers who can send you CDs of Linux distributions - some at very low cost.

Where can I find a driver for my hardware?
As Linux grows in popularity, it also gains support for a wider range of hardware. The Linux kernel now supports and enormous amount of hardware and most major Linux distribution incorporate this support into their products. You can also get hardware support by downloading, compiling and installing the latest version of the Linux kernel. In some cases, hardware manufacturers want to provide Linux support without incorporating their drivers into the kernel, so they provide separate drivers. If you're looking for these it's best to consult the manufacturer's website or send them an inquiry by email. Then there are some hardware manufacturers who don't support Linux, so no drivers are available. If you're already running Linux, it's best to check to see if new hardware you want to purchase is supported.

Can I run applications for MS Windows on Linux?
The short answer to this is: no, not automatically and not directly. That is to say, Microsoft Windows and Linux applications cannot run the same applications because they are not designed in the same way. However, there are some ways to run programs for Microsoft Windows on Linux using emulators and other means. If you need/want to run an application designed for Microsoft Windows on Linux, you might want to check out the following applications:
  • WINE
  • Crossover Products
  • Win4Lin
  • VMWare
What does GNU/Linux refer to?
NU/Linux is the name Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project, and its supporters prefer over just Linux. They cite the fact that Linux could not have come into being without tools from the GNU project. Though this is true, use and custom has favored just Linux over GNU/Linux in the public consciousness. This website's use of the term Linux in no way tries to minimize the contributions of the Free Software Foundation. We feel that it's easier for people to identify the operating system by that simpler name and in the end, that helps in its adoption.

Is Linux a company?
There is no company called Linux. Linux is an operating system. There are many companies that develop Linux products and provide services based on Linux, but not one called Linux who "controls" the operating system.

Can I buy stock in Linux?
As we mentioned in the previous answer, there is no company called "Linux", so there can't be any stock in a non-existent company. However, several companies are publicly traded who do provide Linux products and services. Here are a few that directly produce the Linux operating system.
  • Novell (Symbol: NOVL)
  • Red Hat (Symbol: RHAT)
Companies like IBM and Hewlett-Packard have also put tremendous support behind Linux and they are publicly traded.

Who is SCO?
SCO or officially The SCO Group is the latest incarnation of what was founded as Caldera, formerly a Linux distribution company. In 2000, Caldera bought the Unix division of a company known as the Santa Cruz Operation (or SCO) and apparently acquired some rights to distribute the Unix operating system. New management took over at Caldera in 2002 and in early 2003, members of this new management team decided to abandon development of their Linux distribution and in a remarkable about-face, filed suit against IBM alleging that the computing giant had put Unix technology, which it claims it controls, into the Linux kernel in violation of contractual obligations. Caldera shortly after the suit was filed, officially changed their name to The SCO Group and is popularly known as SCO. This has since blown up into a huge controversy. For more information, see our page dedicated to the SCO case.

Does SCO own Linux?
They would like you to believe that they do. They will even sell you a Linux license under the threat that if you don't, they could sue you. However, we believe this is a lot like a paternity suit, just a bit more complicated.

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