Apart from the fact that it's freely distributed, Linux's functionality, adaptability and robustness, has made it the main alternative for proprietary Unix and Microsoft operating systems. IBM, Hewlett-Packard and other giants of the computing world have embraced Linux and support its ongoing development. More than a decade after its initial release, Linux is being adopted worldwide as a server platform primarily. Its use as a home and office desktop operating system is also on the rise. The operating system can also be incorporated directly into microchips in a process called "embedding" and is increasingly being used this way in appliances and devices.
Throughout most of the 1990's, tech pundits, largely unaware of Linux's potential, dismissed it as a computer hobbyist project, unsuitable for the general public's computing needs. Through the efforts of developers of desktop management systems such as KDE and GNOME, office suite project OpenOffice.org and the Mozilla web browser project, to name only a few, there are now a wide range of applications that run on Linux and it can be used by anyone regardless of his/her knowledge of computers. Those curious to see the capabilities of Linux can download a live CD version called Knoppix . It comes with everything you might need to carry out day-to-day tasks on the computer and it needs no installation. It will run from a CD in a computer capable of booting from the CD drive. Those choosing to continue using Linux can find a variety of versions or "distributions" of Linux that are easy to install, configure and use. Information on these products is available in our distribution section and can be found by selecting the mainstream/general public category.
Linux has an official mascot, Tux, the Linux penguin, which was selected by Linus Torvalds to represent the image he associates with the operating system. Tux was created by Larry Ewing and and Larry has generously given it to the community to be freely used to promote Linux. More information on use of the image can be found on his webpage. More links to variations on the image and alternative logos can be found on our logo page
Many people are not sure of the pronunciation of the word Linux. Although many variations of the word exist, often due to native language factors, it is normally pronounced with a short " i " and with the first syllable stressed, as in LIH-nucks. You can hear how Linux creator Linus Torvalds pronounces the word in Swedish and in English .