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Linux is a UNIX like computer operating system assembled under the free and open source software development and distribution model. The defining component of Linux is Linux kernel, which is the first operating system kernel released by Linus Torvalds on September 17, 1991. The free software foundation uses the name GNU / Linux to describe the operating system, which has caused some controversy.

Linux was originally developed for personal computers based on Intel x86 architecture, but has since been ported to more platforms than any other operating system. Due to Android's advantages in smartphones, Linux has the largest installation base in all general operating systems. Linux is also the leading operating system on servers and other large iron systems, such as mainframe, and is used on 99.6% of top 500 supercomputers. About 2.3% of desktops use it. Chromebook runs the chrome operating system based on the Linux kernel, which dominates the K-12 education market in the United States, accounting for nearly 20% of the sales of laptops under $300 in the United States. Linux can also run on embedded systems - embedded operating systems are usually built into firmware and are highly suitable for the system. These include TiVo and similar DVR devices, network routers, facility automation controls, TVs, video game consoles and smart watches. Many smartphones and tablets run Android and other Linux derivatives.

The development of Linux is one of the most outstanding examples of collaboration between FOSS and OSS. Anyone can use, modify and distribute the basic source code in a commercial or non-commercial manner according to the terms of their respective licenses (such as the GNU General Public License). Generally, Linux is packaged in a form called a Linux distribution (or distribution for short) for use by desktops and servers. Some of the most popular major Linux distributions include arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo Linux, Linux mint, mageia, openSUSE and Ubuntu, as well as commercial distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The distribution includes Linux kernel, supported utilities and libraries, many of which are provided by GNU Project, and usually a large number of application software to meet the intended purpose of the distribution.