Linux Logo

Linux Operating System

Linux is an open source and free (but there are also few non-free commercial distros), modern, Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux Kernel. There are many linux distributions, the most popular are: Debian Linux, Mint Linux, Ubuntu Linux, CentOS Linux, Fedora Linux, RedHat Linux, SUSE Linux, OpenSuSE Linux. Linux provides many advantages over other operating systems: open-source software available for everyone to contribute, modify, and enhance the source code. It is also available for users to download and use freely. Linux is less vulnerable and more secure than other operating systems.

License (Linux Kernel): OpenSource GPLv2 (GNU General Public License v2)

Written in (Linux Kernel): C, Assembly language

The current release of the LTS Linux Kernel is version 5.15, as of 31 October 2021

Linux Kernel Logo

About about the family of Linux operating systems

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. It is typically packaged in a Linux distribution. Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project.
Linux Distributions - there are both: Free and Commercial Linux Distributions, but all based on open-source software as the Linux Kernel license requires under the GPLv2 License. Despite being freely available there are companies that makes profit from Linux. These companies, most of them are also members of the Linux Foundation, invest substantial resources into the advancement and development of the Linux kernel and related technologies.
The following Linux Distributions - considered popular - are listed below: Debian, Mint, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, RedHat, SUSE, openSUSE.

Debian Linux

Debian Linux Logo
Debian is a free and open source - with full access to all the source code - Linux operating system and a distribution of free and open source software. It is maintained and updated through the work of many volunteer users as an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. Debian is so committed to free software that we thought it would be useful if that commitment was formalized in a written document Debian Social Contract. Although Debian believes in free software, there are cases where people want or need to put non-free software on their machine. Whenever possible Debian will support this. There are even a growing number of packages whose sole job is to install non-free software into a Debian system. Debian Linux is a complete Open Source and Free Operating System and a Community of People !
  • Package Management System: Linux - APT: Aptitude
  • Latest Release: Debian Linux - version 11 (Bullseye)
  • Release Date: 14 August 2021
  • First Release: August 1993
  • Developer: The Debian Project (maintained and updated through the work of many volunteer users)
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: No, available as an extra option only
  • OpenSource: free
  • Licensing Model (Free): GPL License (common)
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Mint Linux

Mint Linux Logo
Mint is a free Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu and/or Debian (vary with release), that provides an elegant, easy to use, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution. It comes bundled with a variety of free and open-source applications and can provide full out-of-the-box multimedia support for those who choose to include some proprietary software, such as multimedia codecs and the Cinnamon Desktop. Linux Mint is an operating system for desktop and laptop computers. It is designed to work out of the box and comes fully equipped with the apps most people need and is completely free of charge, almost everything in Linux Mint is also open-source.
  • Package Management System: Linux - APT: Aptitude
  • Latest Release: Mint Linux - version 21 (Vanessa)
  • Release Date: 31 July 2022
  • First Release: 2006 (by Clément Lefèbvre in France)
  • Developer: Linux Mint Team and community
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, as a choice
  • OpenSource: free
  • Licensing Model (Free): GPLv2 License / Linux Mint License
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Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux Logo
Ubuntu is a free Linux distribution which is based mostly on Debian, composed of free and open-source software. Ubuntu releases have usually 3 editions: Desktop, Server, and Core for IOT. Ubuntu is one of the Linux distros that supports latest hardware without too many issues as it includes by default some non-opensource but free firmware drivers. The mission for Ubuntu is both social and economic. Ubuntu offers a community but also a commercial edition. The community and the commercial teams collaborate to produce a single, high-quality release, which receives ongoing maintenance for a defined period. Both: the release and ongoing updates for core packages are freely available to all users.
  • Package Management System: Linux - APT: Aptitude
  • Latest Release: Ubuntu Linux - version 20.04 LTS Community Editions: Server or Desktop
  • Release Date: 6 August 2020
  • First Release: October 2004
  • Developer: Canonical Ltd. (maintained and updated through the work of many volunteer users)
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, by default
  • OpenSource: free
  • Licensing Model (Free or Restricted): GPLv2 License / Ubuntu License
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CentOS Linux

CentOS Linux Logo
CentOS is a free Linux distribution derived from the stable sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a Community-driven free software effort focused on delivering a robust open source ecosystem around a Linux platform. It is a stable, predictable, manageable and reproducible platform with a high level of security and various panel options. It is developed by a small but growing team of core developers. In turn the core developers are supported by an active user community including system administrators, network administrators, managers, core Linux contributors, and Linux enthusiasts from around the world. CentOS Linux is a rebuild of the current released RHEL content. New minor versions consist of large batches of updates. Smaller batches of updates are delivered between minor versions. The CentOS Team recently started a new project named CentOS Stream (different than CentOS Linux) which contains content planned for upcoming RHEL minor releases. The updates for CentOS Stream are not batched up into minor releases, but rather are released as they are ready. Getting changes into CentOS Linux involves contributing to the upstream projects that are included in the distribution. CentOS Stream provides a way to contribute directly, cutting this process down to weeks or days.
  • Package Management System: Linux - RPM: YUM, DNF
  • Latest Release: CentOS Linux | CentOS Stream - version 8.5 | version 9.0
  • Release Date: 16 November 2021 | December 2021
  • First Release: May 2004
  • Developer: The CentOS Team (affiliated with Red Hat, Inc.)
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, as optional
  • OpenSource: free
  • Licensing Model (Free): GPLv2 License / CentOS License
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Fedora Linux

Fedora Linux Logo
Fedora is a free Linux distribution derived from the testing (vanilla) sources of Red Hat Linux, developed by the community-supported Fedora Project. Fedora is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It is built and used by people across the globe who work together as a community. Fedora creates an innovative, free, and open source platform for hardware, clouds, and containers that enables software developers and community members to build tailored solutions for their users.
  • Package Management System: Linux - RPM: YUM, DNF
  • Latest Release: Fedora Linux - version 36
  • Release Date: 10 May 2022
  • First Release: November 2003
  • Developer: The Fedora Project (sponsored by Red Hat, Inc.)
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, as optional
  • OpenSource: free
  • Licensing Model (Free): GPLv2 License / Fedora License
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RedHat Linux

RedHat Linux Logo
Notice: For the RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) just the "Development Use Only Release" is available for download and is restricted - dedicated to developers that want to port or develop their software on RHEL. If the "Development Use Only Release" does not fit your needs you can also Purchase a RHEL License from RedHat Online Store.
RedHat is a commercial open-source Linux distribution (often abbreviated to RHEL) developed by Red Hat Inc. for the commercial market. Red Hat is a leading provider of enterprise open source solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver high-performing Linux related technologies. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is one of the world's leading enterprise Linux platform, certified on hundreds of clouds and with thousands of hardware and software vendors supported. RedHat Linux (RHEL) can be purchased in a flexible manner to support specific use cases.
  • Package Management System: Linux - RPM: YUM, DNF
  • Latest Release: RedHat Linux - version 9.0
  • Release Date: 17 May 2022
  • First Release: February 2000
  • Developer: Red Hat, Inc.
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, available also as an extra option
  • OpenSource: non-free
  • Licensing Model (Commercial): GPL License (common) / RedHat License
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SUSE Linux Enterprise

SUSE Linux Logo
Notice: For the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLES, SLED) just an "Evaluation Copy" is available for download and is restricted to use 60 days only - after that period you have to purchase a Subscription License). If the "SUSE Linux Evaluation Copy" does not fit your needs you can Purchase a SLES or SLED License from SUSE Online Store.
SUSE Linux Enterprise (abbreviated as SLE) is a is a commercial open-source Linux based operating system developed by SUSE. It comes in two editions: Desktop (SLED) and Server (SLES). The Server edition is adaptable to any environment and is optimized for performance, security and reliability. The Desktop edition is easy to install, customize, and centrally manage. Both editions offer enterprise-grade support and security, being designed for mixed environments and including a complete suite of required business applications to support productivity. SUSE Linux is generally a secure, adaptable and easy-to-manage Linux server distro that allows developers and administrators to deploy business-critical workloads on-premises, in the cloud and at the edge.
  • Package Management System: Linux - RPM: Zypper, Yast
  • Latest Release: SUSE Linux - version 15 SP4
  • Release Date: 14 July 2022
  • First Release: March 1994
  • Developer: The SUSE Project
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, available also as an extra option
  • OpenSource: non-free
  • Licensing Model (Commercial): GPL License (common) / SUSE License
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openSUSE Linux

openSUSE Linux Logo
The openSUSE Linux distribution is free (formerly SUSE Linux). OpenSUSE Linux have arround a global community promoting and developing a free Linux distribution and related tools. The OpenSUSE Linux focuses on stability and flexibility, providing you with a platform to Get Things Done. Their tools are innovative, unique and open, supporting other Linux distributions and making it easy to do cool stuff. There are a lot of features that make openSUSE a remarkable Linux distribution.
  • Package Management System: Linux - RPM: Zypper, Yast
  • Latest Release: OpenSuSE Linux - version 15.4 (Leap)
  • Release Date: 8 June 2022
  • First Release: October 2005
  • Developer: The openSUSE Project (sponsored by SUSE Software Solutions Germany GmbH and other companies)
  • Contains Restricted Software / Extras by default: Yes, available also as an extra option
  • OpenSource: free
  • Licensing Model (Free): Open Source, Free
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Linux Screenshots

Screenshot: Linux - Console Screenshot: Linux - Desktop

Free and OpenSource Software ported to Linux:

Each Linux distro is shipped with at least one binary Package Management System that vary from distro to distro.
There are two major Package Management Systems currently available: "Debian Advanced Package Tool" (APT) and "RedHat Package Manager" (RPM).
The spirit of Linux is existing as open source software. The code used to create Linux is free and available to the public to view, edit, and-for users with the appropriate skills-to contribute to. One of the big advantages of most Linux distributions (distros) isn't just that they are free and open source - so are most of the software applications used for Linux.
Except few, most of the open-source software is ported or run natively on Linux operating system, but there can be small differences depending on Linux distro. Example: some distros are shipped with LLVM others with GCC and most of them have both. Another difference between distros is that some have older programs or libraries than others so if a software depends on them it can be limited to some older versions because of that.
Another difference makes the version of the Linux Kernel the distro is shipped with. Older Linux Kernels may not support some new features required by a software application.

Linux Kernel Releases TimeLine for (LongTerm Support) LTS versions

31 July 2022

Linux Kernel 5.19

Significant changes:
* Numerous Networking Additions: the most notable is Big TCP support which allows for larger TSO/GRO packet sizes for IPv6 traffic
* Graphical Improvements regardless of your hardware
* Intel Overheating and Battery Drain Fixes
* LoongArch CPU Architecture Support
* ARM-Related Performance Boosts, especially for Apple M2 MacBook Air

31 October 2021

Linux Kernel 5.15 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* Adds a new NTFS read-write implementation
* Support for putting all the processes within a cgroup in the SCHED_IDLE scheduling class
* Btrfs support for fs-verity and id mapping
* A new in-kernel SMB 3 server
* support in the Device Mapper for IMA-based remote attestation; support for avoiding scheduling 32 bits tasks on 64-bit only CPUS in systems with mixed CPUs

13 December 2020

Linux Kernel 5.10 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* XFS Patch for the Year 2038 Problem
* Hardware monitoring for AMD Zen3 processors
* Support for 'fast commits' with the EXT4 filesystem
* Memory hints for other processes
* Display support for Raspberry Pi 4

24 November 2019

Linux Kernel 5.4 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* Kernel symbol namespacing
* A new kernel lockdown mode that aims to improve the separation of UID 0 (aka root) and the kernel
* virtio-fs, a bridge to share file systems with virtualized guests
* mark EROFS as stable and add experimental support for exFAT file systems
* Early support for Intel Tiger Lake hardware and improves display colour management under the Nouveau open source driver

22 October 2018

Linux Kernel 4.19 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* Multiple security improvements for issues fixing the Meltdown/Spectre (multiple variants)
* Better networking experience with the CAKE queue management algorithm
* Block I/O latency controller
* New asynchronous I/O polling interface
* Preliminary Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) support

12 November 2017

Linux Kernel 4.14 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* Bigger memory limits: Increases the hard limits to 128PiB of virtual address space and 4PiB of physical address space, up from 256TiB of virtual address space and 64TiB of physical address space
* New Realtek Wi-Fi driver (RTL8822BE) Btrfs Zstd compression support
* Add support for AMD Secure Memory Encryption
* Zero-copy from user memory to sockets
* Asynchronous buffered I/O support

11 December 2016

Linux Kernel 4.9 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* Memory Protection Keys (MPK) are now mainlined
* Support for vmapped kernel stacks, one of Torvalds' favorite features
* The introduction of a new subsystem, Greybus
* Shared data extents + copy-on-write support on XFS

10 January 2016

Linux Kernel 4.4 (LTS)

Significant changes:
* Faster and leaner loop device with Direct I/O and Asynchronous I/O support
* TCP listener handling completely lockless, making TCP servers faster and more scalable
* LightNVM adds support for Open-Channel SSDs
* 3D support in virtual GPU driver

See the Full Versions History for the LTS Linux Kernel Releases