Since then, more than 250 developers have contributed directly to the kernel, untold thousands have written applictions, and millions of people have been running Linux every day, providing valuable testing. This makes Linux powerful, robust and stable. It supports several different architectures, runs well as a server, workstation, or development machine.
Linux is distributed under a free license (free as in political freedom, not cost): the GNU GPL (General Public License). Anyone is allowed to download and modify the source as they see fit; usually patches are contributed back to the original maintainers through goodwill and a strong sense of cooperation.
This license was created by Richard Stallman, as part of the GNU Project. Software written for the project is a fundamental part of Linux, as many of the tools, such as the compiler (gcc), a very popular editor (emacs), and the system librares (glibc) were created by GNU.
Recent announcements of support have come from Netscape, Oracle, Informix, IBM, and many others. Some of them have invested in Redhat, some have ported products to Linux, some have yet to contribute, but support has been widespread.
There are many Open Source (and commercial) products available for Linux: word processors, high-quality graphic manipulation tools, compilers, games, and email and web clients. Almost any software that exists on other platforms has an implementation or similar (if not superior) product available that will run under Linux.
The level of technical support for Linux, both commercial and free, has increased dramatically. There is documentation written by people all around the world (and consequently in many languages); there are mailing lists, newsgroups and websites ready to answer any question about Linux; there are Linux User Groups in most large populated areas providing a high level of support to veteran and new users alike.
The kernel is currently at version 2.2.9 (released on May 13, 1999), the development stream has just been released and is at version 2.3.3 (released on the same day). As the kernel develops independently of nearly all the application software available, upgrading has become much less error-prone and dangerous than the early days.
Linux has recently been making large improvements recently by adding desktop systems to X Windows: KDE, and Gnome. KDE is a fully intergrated system, including a window manager, and many useful applications. Gnome is a system which exists alongside the window manager, allowing configurability. These, along with the plethora of applications that have been written, are drawing attention from desktop computer users.
|Linux / DEC Alpha||http://www.alphalinux.org/|
|Linux for DECstations||http://decstation.unix-ag.org/|
|ELKS: Embedded Linux Kernel Subset||http://www.uk.linux.org/ELKS-Home/|
|Linux / m68k (Atari and Amiga)||http://www.linux-m68k.org/|
|Linux / m68k (Macintosh 68k)||http://maclinux.wwaves.com/|
|Linux / MIPS||http://lena.fnet.fr/|
|Linux for Power Macintosh (MkLinux)||http://www.mklinux.apple.com/|
|Linux / Microcontroller||http://ryeham.ee.ryerson.ca/uClinux/|
|Linux / SGI (Silicon Graphics)||http://www.linux.sgi.com/|
|Linux for SPARC Processors (S/Linux)||http://www.ultralinux.org/|
|Linux / sun3||http://www.netppl.fi/~pp/sun3/|