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Updated Sep 18, 2018 at 01:45PM EDT by Don.

Added Dec 04, 2014 at 02:30AM EST by Particle Mare.

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Linux is a family of freely available, open-source computer operating systems based around the Linux kernel. Often considered as a more complex alternative to other mainstream operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X, it is notable for its prioritization of functional utility over aesthetic appeal. Its primary market is on servers and embedded devices, but its usage in personal computers has increased in recent years, most notably with the advent of Google's Android, Chrome OS and Steam OS.


The first version of Linux was developed and released on October 5th, 1991 by Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds.[2] The creation of Linux was heavily inspired by MINIX, another operating system created by professor Andrew S. Tanenbaum as a teaching tool.

The Linux Kernel

The Linux kernel, a monolithic operating system kernel, serves as the core for Linux. Torvalds at first didn't originally intend the kernel to be cross-platform, as it was initially written with Intel i386/486 CPUs in mind[3] but has since been ported to numerous other platforms, namely PowerPC, SPARC, MIPS, and ARM, of which the latter two have been used for Android.

Android OS

Android's open nature, unlike other mobile systems, made it an attractive platform for hobbyist development, which has led to third-party forks namely AOKP, Cyanogenmod and Replicant, a fully-libre Android distribution aiming to replace all non-free Android components and drivers with open-source equivalents. Rooting, a process that allows for full system access on one's device is also a popular practice among hackers[4]; numerous safeguards implemented on certain phones and tablets, notably on popular Samsung and HTC models, prevent this, but workarounds exist to defeat such restrictions.

On a typical user's standpoint, this means more freedom compared to iOS, as installing applications, themes and media from third-party sources other than those provided by the device, e.g. Google Play or SlideME, is of trivial matter, but this has also led to bigger piracy rates owing to lax security measures.

Linus Torvalds' 2018 Break

On September 16th, 2018, Torvalds sent an email[12] to the Linux kernel developers mailing list announcing he would be taking a break from working on Linux, saying he needed to "get some assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately." In the message, Torvalds also apologized for his "flippant attacks in emails." Meanwhile, Torvalds uploaded the Linux Code of Conduct.[13] On September 17th, Redditor emp2s0 submitted a post titled "Linux's new CoC is a piece of shit" to /r/linux,[14] where many Redditors criticized the revised Code of Conduct as "political." That same day, Redditor swigganicks submitted a post asking "Why is Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, taking a break?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop,[15] where it garnered more than 3,100 points (93% upvoted) and 520 comments within 24 hours. In the comments section of the post, Redditor date_glass linked to an email exchange from 2012 in which Torvalds stated that a coder should have been "retroactively aborted" (shown below).[16]

"Of course, I'd also suggest that whoever was the genius who thought it was a good idea to read things ONE F*CKING BYTE AT A TIME with system calls for each byte should be retroactively aborted. Who the f*ck does idiotic things like that? How did they not die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a tit to suck on?"

Online Presence


Tux is the official mascot of Linux. Although most commonly depicted as a sitting penguin, different distributions of Linux often feature their own unique stylistic versions.[1]

The yellow black and whtie penguin which is the mascot for Linux, Tux

Richard Stallman

Marker style cartoon of Richard Stallman offering a kid free software from the back of a van

Richard Stallman, often referred to by his webhandle rms, is the head and founder of the GNU Project, an online mass collaboration from which most Linux distributions draw their userspace from. Stallman is known for his fanatical dedication to free software, to the point that he accuses other contributors of being "traitorous",[5] and vehemently insists that people refer to all Linux distributions as "GNU/Linux" (Pronounced Gahnoo slash Linux, read more below).[6] Because of this, in many online communities, Stallman is often depicted as having a personality similar to a drug addict or a conspiracy theorist.

GNU/Linux Copypasta

The GNU/Linux copypasta is a Richard Stallman quote used to dismiss what he believes is the wrong definition of Linux. This quote (as can be seen above) have been taken from the GNU blog around early-mid 2011.[7] The copypasta mostly saw use on 4chan's /g/ board and other technology-related online communities.

I'd just like to interject for moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called Linux, and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called Linux distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux!

Install Gentoo

On 4chan's /g/ board and elsewhere, Install Gentoo is a sarcastic phrase used to mock inexperienced users into replacing their current operating system with Gentoo Linux, a distribution known for being oriented toward advanced users. The meme can be seen as analogous in usage to Alt+F4 and Delete System32.

Sudo Apt Get

Sudo apt-get refers to an administrative (sudo) command used to manually download and install or update applications on a system using the Debian's APT package manager.
There are also "easter eggs" in some package managers. Such as "apt-get moo", which creates an ASCII cow on the terminal saying "Have you mooed today?".

ascii cow asking if you have mooed today

rm -rf /

rm -rf / is a terminal command that has similar popularity with delete system32, generally used to troll newbie Linux users.
rm is the typical command to remove files, which the usernames at the end of the command. The option "-r" removes directories and their contents, not just files; and the other one, "-f", stops the computer from prompting the user to confirm that they want to delete the files. The slash at the end represents the directory under which every single file is located, making this command remove every accessible file on the system. Adding "sudo" to the beginning of the command, making sudo rm -rf /, is meant to give the user permission to delete any file on the system.[10].

Notably, modern versions of rm now include an option that, by default, will not allow it to be used on /.[11]

Fork Bomb / :(){ :|: & };:

Fork bomb is an infinite loop function for "bash", the program under which most Linux users enter commands. It makes copies of itself and never exits until the system runs out of the resources. This command, as well, is used to troll inexperienced users.
In addition, this command has also inspired some fan works, including some in the form of text art or tattoo photography.[9]

fork bomb tattoo on the back of a woman, photographing it in a mirror fork bomb code as tattoo on the back of a person's neck black and white pic of a fork bomb tattoo on back of someone's arm

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Linux

[2] Wikipedia – History of Linux

[3] Usenet – What would you like to see most in minix?

[4] XDA-Developers – Framaroot

[5] OS News – RMS: De Icaza Traitor to Free Software Community

[6] GNU Project – Linux and the GNU System

[7] Lurkmore Wiki – Linux Rant

[8] Digitalocean – Top 10 linux easter eggs

[9] Jaromil.dyne – Forkbomb Art

[10] Urbandictionary – sudo rm -rf /

[11] GNU rm manual – rm(1)

[12] – Torvalds apology

[13] – Code of Conduct

[14] Reddit – /r/linux

[15] Reddit – /r/OutOfTheLoop

[16] – Linux Torvalds

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