Printing Support for Linux

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system based on the old Unix operating system first developed in the 1960’s. Unix has a rather strange start as a single-user operating system which then grew into the most commonly used multi-user operating system in the world.

As a fully-functioning multi-user operating system, Unix allowed many programs to run on a single computer within a secure environment where each program and user is safe from interference from other programs and users. In this way, the resources of a large, expensive computer could be shared.

In the early days of computing, when most programs ran on mainframes, this was a big advantage. As time passed and people got smaller, less able computers which they could use at home or on their desk and on which they were the sole users, this became less important.

But as computers became more and more powerful, even the small ones on people’s desks or in their homes came to have more computing power than a single person could ever hope to use. So it once more became useful to be able to share computers. The operating system in use at that time was called “Microsoft Windows” and it was installed on most new machines automatically as a result of the manufacturer’s blackmail and extortion activities which forced computer makers to charge customers for Windows regardless of whether the customer wanted the product or not.

Since Windows was a very poorly written operating system, with no ability to share users and no method of securing the computer it ran on from malicious use, it was apparent that a better solution was needed and many thought of using Unix; which was still in very widespread use in industry an academia.

Unfortunately, Unix was a product of Bell Labs and as such was a closed, expensive, system far beyond the reach of normal people.

Without getting into the whole history of Unix, the use of Unix in various Universities around America had led to pressure for a “free” version which had eventually came to pass, further expanding the use of the system around the world. But there were still issues connected with using this code in for-profit situations.

Then, one day in 1991 a student in Finland called Linus Torvalds posted a message on the newsgroup comp.os.minix asking for help in a project to re-write Minix, a Unix clone he was using at the time.

The project became Linux and developed into a totally re-written, new version of Unix. This became a platform for multi-user computing which has been adopted around the world and is now the single most popular and widely such system in the world.

The majority of all World Wide Web sites are run on Apache web servers of which the vast majority are running on Linux machines.

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