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The Melonfire Community - The HITG Report
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David Versus Goliath
A free operating system supported by volunteers around the world poses the first real threat to Windows.

A long time ago, in a country far, far away, a shepherd boy named David smote a giant to the ground with a stone, and made Biblical history in the process. Years later, we find history repeating itself in that hotbed of technology we insiders like to call SillyCon Valley - except that, this time, the stone-thrower is Linux, a free operating system [OS] for computers, the goliath in queston is Micro$oft, arguably the world's most powerful software development company, and the battlegound is, as always, the hearts and minds of the digital community at large!

Linux [pronounced lih-nucks] has been responsible for quite a few dead trees in the past couple of months. Eminent publications like PC World, PC Computing and Wired! have written thick treatises simultaneously praising Linux's features, stability, reliability and open-source-code model, and at the same time confidently predicting the demise of Bill Gates' Redmond empire. So this week, we thought we'd take a look at just why Linux is so hot, together with some of the best Web sites for Linux news, information and software...and we won't even have to decimate the rain forest to do it!

Let's begin at the beginning, with the story of how Linux was introduced to an unsuspecting world. If you haven't heard it, sit back and relax - if you have, it certainly bears repetition!

In the early days of August 1991, a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland posted a message to the comp.os.minix newsgroup with the words:

Hello everyone out there using minix -

I'm doing a free operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.

That student was Linus Torvalds [our erstwhile David] and the hobby he refers to ultimately became what we today call Linux - easily the most impressive achievement of free software development to date!

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