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Linux
  • Family of UNIX operating systems for personal computers.
  • n. The free UNIX workalike created by Linus Torvalds and friends starting about 1990. This may be the most remarkable hacker project in history -- an entire clone of UNIX for 386 and 486 micros, distributed for free with sources over the net. This is what GNU aimed to be, but the Free Software Foundation never produced the kernel to go with its UNIX toolset (which Linux uses). Other, similar efforts like FreeBSD and NetBSD have been much less successful. The secret of Linux's success may be that Linus worked much harder early on to keep the development process open and recruit other hackers, creating a snowball effect.