The Story of Linux

Curitiba, July 2000 - Volunteer and community work: This is the recipe for Linux, the operating system, which came to life in early 1991, though the initiative of Linus Torvalds, at the time a Computer Science student at the University of Helsinki.

The initial idea was to create an operating system which was "cloned" from Unix for domestic use, although a commercial available at the time would cost about us$5.000 and would only run on workstations which value would spin on the us$10.000 margin.

After writing the first Linux kernel, Linus figured he would not advance this development on his own. He imaged a community of developers would maybe achieve better results, this way, in 1991, he launched onto the Internet the invitation for programmers all over the world the participate together in the development of an operating system that could be adapted to their custom needs.

Along with the message, he released the source-code for the program that he had begun to develop, in exchange he asked that others interested in the system's improvement would do the same thing. This drew the attention of world-wide programmers, which all responded to the proposal with optimism, and soon Linux became an item that universities could not do without.

Linux came to development though e-mails, a still today, many bugs are found and solved using this method. People from all over the world aid in the development of several applications which allow for the migration of other operating systems to Linux, tools, making tools which handle the widest span of computer applications, and others.


Curitiba, July 2000- Linux is an operating system based on the POSIX standard, multiuser, multi task and multi processed, of free distribution. It began development around 1991 by Linus Torvalds, a Computer Science student from Finland, who, at the time, searched for an alternative to operating systems available on the market.

Initially, this system was almost exclusively present in the academic field. Today, the system is used as a work tool in scientific organizations, government companies, large corporations, among others.

This movement stimulated the creation of a planetary community, whose collaborators have as their main objective the perfection of the system, offering users a direct contact with the developers of Linux and fast updating of software.

Currently, Linux contains several graphic interfaces which make using it easier, for beginning users, and also offers several softwares that compose the group of free distribution programs.

It is estimated that about 30 million people use Linux today, and the reasons for this are many, that make the user, company, hardware integrator, developer, technician, and others, use Linux.

The system is recognized world-wide for its stability, robustness, security, flexibility, by the extent list of compatible hardware, among other features which provide a great of the system to the user. Besides that, it can be a free distribution system with programs that are also free, which compose it, having costs in implementing reduced drastically.

These and other advantages make Linux the operating system with the highest proportional growth in the world. Only in Brazil, in 1999, a growth of over 200% was stated. Also growing is the list of installed systems, serving from small to large corporations.

The GNU Project: the beginning of free Software

Curitiba, July 2000 - The GNU Project was launched in 1984 by Richard Stallman, with the objective of developing an completely free operating system. In this case, the term "free" is used in the sense of freedom to share and modify free software, and not the price.

This project does not only predict the development and distribution of some free programs, has a main objective with user freedom. tem como idéia principal a liberdade do usuário. This freedom, along with access to free software, help each other mutually and shape out the philosofy of the GNU Project.

The first idea for the project came from Stallman himself, when he was denied the access to the source-code of the control program of a printer in the Artificial Intelligence lab from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From this date, he and a series of other developers decided to elaborate a free operating system, where any person could have access to their sources and could also freely copy it. The first step was to adapt this system so that it would be compatible with UNIX, this way several UNIX users could easily migrate to GNU. This name was taken-up by by a hacker tradition and means "GNU's NOT Unix"

In 1984, Stallman shut himself out of the Artificial Intelligence at MIT, to dedicate himself exclusively to the GNU project, so this way he could escape the property software standards imposed by the institution.

In order for free software to be regulated, the GNU Public license, was developed which, contrary from other licenses, imposes the liberty to share and alter the software submitted to the project. Some restrictions do exist inside this license, such as authorship copyrights. This is enforced to guarantee the reputation of the program's author in case it is distributed.

What about Linux? How did he get into the project? The Linux Kernel was made available allowing many people to have access to its development. This made Linux a functional system because users may execute, distribute, modify, improve and study it, freely.

Users must have in mind the benefits of the freedom to share and modify programs provided by the GNU Project, allowing each time, for more people to access to programs and help its development and distribution. Only this way, can Information be a democracy, leaving the hands of a few large companies who monopolize the market by restricting their software.

Why use Free software?

Curitiba, July 2000 - We live today in a society that is extremely dependent on technology for its functioning. This includes, in large scale, the use of computers. What we see lately is an unfair situation, where users of the whole world pay a high price for the acquisition of programs that define its function.

The licensing of programs and softwares establishes the creation of another barrier to the access of technology. In a near future this implies in the incrimination of populations and countries who do not have access to the necessary resources for investment in this area. As citizens we must guarantee at any cost the free access to technology and information, without that, we would be fatally doomed to the condition of citizens of 5th world countries.

Besides that, the current economy in Brazil and the apparent lack of information technology, greatly increase the importance of approval of laws that defend the use of free software like Linux, by the law makers, public and private, under control of public administration.

The free software brings several features, and undoubtly, the main feature is in relation to the major cost reduction with programs, besides the liberation of your copy so that it can be freely installed, in as many machines needed.

In this context, also included is Linux, which is a platform known world-wide for its stability, robustness and security. The fact that it is a free operating system, enables it for constant updating, not owing nothing to proprietary software when it comes to quality. It's flexibility makes it so that each program is adapted for each type of application.

In the beginning os its development, in 1992 and 1993, Linux was present almost exclusively in the academic field. Prior to that, its use was spread to other fields. Scientific organizations, government companies and high-tech corporations began using Linux as a work-tool. This sparked the creation of a world community, which constantly works on the final quality of the software.

Nine years later, the Linux grew-up and matured. Academics and developers all over the world aid in its development, together with scientific orgs., software companies, corporate giants like IBM, Sun, Oracle, among others.

The more than 30 million users around the world, the annual growth of over 200% and the recognition of its quality, makes Linux bring a new concept in the world of Information Technology: stability, speed, low cost and thousands softwares and applications available free.

The development and maintenance of any technology requires large investments. Why not start the proliferation of free operating systems in governments? A way to show the whole population that the Government is concerned with current economy by not over-spending on high fees for licensing of software, if we have a no-cost option, why pay?

Today, Linux has been taking action in the liberation of operating system use. This is the reason we believe we should invest in the computerization, and the development of our country, without this evoking high costs for public administration. This is exactly what Linux is proposing to do: offer low-cost computerization.

There are several examples of companies and public offices who chose to use Linux as there main tool. Among them, the Health System, and the Mayor's Office at Foz do Iguaçu.

Dedicated to improve the quality of services for the population, the Public Health System, by way of Datasus, who is responsible for the development of systems that computerize hospitals and health centers, took up free software as their computer policy. Two systems were developed based on Linux, which already eliminate lines, making the service quicker and more efficient.

Another case is the Municipal Mayor's Office of Foz do Iguaçú,which found in Linux a low cost solution that serves their needs. The department concerned with Computers, chose to substitute the only existent Risc server, for eight Intel servers using Linux. One of these machines has the function of Intranet server and the other for Internet. As an ISP, the Mayor's Office will give Internet access to 55 schools and 18 municipal health centers, besides the Library and other offices connected to the mayor.

It's not only in Brazil that we find examples of Linux use in public organs. The Mexican government has launched a national campaign for the computerization of its schools based exclusively on Linux and other free software. This program seeks to equip from 20 to 35 thousand labs annually, during the next five years.

Besides that, we can accompany several governmental initiatives for the implementation of free software by the public administration. Bringing Linux to several counties, cities, states and and countries spread around the world releasing their projects of free software in public offices.

These are a few examples of the information democracy. That is why we believe that there is nothing more fair than to increase the use of free software in a democracy such as Brazil. Only this way, will all public offices have access to computers without this meaning huge investments. that may bring losses to the public accounts.

This development of free software is what gives us the hope to make software available to a vast universe of people for several reasons: first, through the reduction of costs on programs and the possibility of reusing obsolete machines, also, for the religious aspects of the free software movement followers, which guarantees a great line of support for who needs it.