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Linux Introduction and Installation
Overview | UNIX, the Precursor to Linux | The Introduction of Linux | General Public License and Linux | Linux Distributions | The Linux Kernel | Linux Installation | Linux Application Packages Overview

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In this week's lecture, we talk about the items in TCO 2. Each student will be required to perform a Linux installation. Planning for the installation is key, as well as deciding which type of Linux to use for either a workstation or server installation. Please use all items in this lecture and the accompanying lab assignment to provide research for your Project Paper as described in TCO 1. UNIX, the Precursor to Linux

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UNIX is characterized as a multiuser, multitasking, stable, reliable, and portable OS. UNIX was developed at AT&T Bell Labs in 1969. Two programmers, Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, had returned to Bell Labs after being loaded on a project named Multics with programmers from MIT and GE. The Multics project (1965–1969) was an attempt to write a dependable timesharing system in the days of batch processing on large mainframe computers. Bell Labs withdrew from the Multics project in 1969.

Upon returning to Bell Labs, Ritchie and Thompson began developing a game called Space Travel using the Multics language and a retired DEC PDP-7 minicomputer. Space Travel led to the development of a file system structure, paging, a command-line shell, and processes. In 1971, UNIX was chosen as the operating system name, a play on the name Multics. Ritchie wrote the C Language (1971–1973) to provide a more flexible programming environment for UNIX; earlier versions were written in the assembler and B languages, which had been written by Thompson.

In 1973, UNIX was selected as the operating system for AT&T's Switching Control Center System (SCCS). In 1983, the Class 5 Electronic Switching System (5ESS) running UNIX was announced by AT&T. UNIX was chosen for its speed, flexibility, and reliability in switching voice and data across the telecommunications infrastructure.

In the early 1980s, UNIX was announced as the OS for the AT&T Computer Systems Division 3B computer product line. Today, AT&T UNIX System V Release 4 (SVR4) is one of two major UNIX releases. In the interim, Berkeley University wrote its own version of UNIX and subsequently became a major developer of UNIX distributions. To separate the university from its UNIX development project, Berkeley formed Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) to distribute BSD-UNIX, the second major UNIX release. Other corporations adopting UNIX were Hewlett-Packard with HP-UX; Sun Microsystems with SunOS and Solaris; IBM with AIX; NCR with SVR4; DEC with Digital-UNIX; Santa Cruz Operations with SCO-UNIX; and Microsoft with XENIX (short lived).

In short, one can see that UNIX is indeed the grandfather of all operating systems in use today. Its high price, though, is a major hurdle for some organizations to overcome. In its place, several organizations have moved to using the Linux operating system. The Introduction of Linux

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UNIX was traditionally developed for minicomputer, mainframe, and supercomputer environments, given their infrequent architectural changes. This fact makes UNIX support less costly to the vendor. However, high cost of supporting UNIX on the personal computer (PC) is prohibitive. In 1990, a student at the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds, decided to port an OS named Minix to the PC as a course project. Finding the project falling behind schedule, Linus sent a request for help out on the World Wide Web (the first ever). An enormous response was received from programmers around the globe volunteering to help. At the suggestion of one such volunteer, Torvalds switched from porting Minix to the PC to porting a more popular OS named UNIX.

Today, Linux (named after Linus and UNIX, and pronounced "lin-uhks") is gaining popularity as an open-source...
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