There has been a lot of buzz recently about Windows XP’s End of Life next year, and a lot of people think of Hackers when they think of, or hear about Linux. What a lot of people fail to understand is, not all hackers are bad, the primary definition of a hacker is, “An enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user.”
Most hackers are people who take something and use it in a manner it wasn’t intended, or build their own version of something. This is where open source comes in, the theory behind open source is free information for all. Which is essentially what the “bad” hackers are doing, taking information and making it free to the public. But the difference is, one is perfectly legal and the other is not. Can you guess which is which?
So, What is Open Source? It’s free software/hardware that you are free to use and modify however you wish, and you can redistribute it after you’ve made your changes. Almost all versions of Linux are Open Source, there are a few out there that are Enterprise and really all you’re paying for there is the support and the name, it’s kinda like buying a pair of Nike’s, they are like every other pair of shoes, except there is a brand name attached to them.
Without giving you a crazy long history of Linux, Prior to October 5th 1991, Linux didn’t exist, Linus Torvalds wrote the original Linux kernel and still to this day, any additions must have his final say. Prior to that there was Unix which is a closed source operating system that only a few companies have the ability to modify, which is why Linus created the Linux Kernel, to provide a free open source system that anybody can modify. Since it’s inception in 1991 Linux has grown like a wildfire. More than 90% of today’s 500 fastest supercomputers run some variant of Linux, including the 10 fastest.
Why is Linux and Open Source such a good thing? Imagine that you create something, that to you is awesome and works great, but then someone else see’s where it can be improved and made even better. Now imagine that happening with thousands of volunteers all at once, across several different versions of what you created. That is what Open Source is, and it’s so great because it provides not only multiple options for people, but what you created is constantly getting better. All at no cost to you.
Which is why Open Source is so great for business, when you buy a computer with Windows or Mac on it, you get updates and security patches but when the next version comes out, you have to fork over whatever amount of money their asking for that version. Unless of course you use Linux, then it’s absolutely Free.
So every time a new upgrade comes out for your version of Linux, you can upgrade and not pay a dime for the operating system. Thanks for thousands of volunteers who tirelessly fix issues and add new features.
Did You Know!?
Linux is a leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and supercomputers?
So, the next time you have a computer that is a little old and doesn’t run Windows or Mac as well anymore, instead of tossing it out, either donate it, or put Linux on it and give some new life to that old machine!