Many users consider Linux to be an open source software but are not aware that there is actually one caveat in this statement. Linux is not considered to be an open source in the sense that it is available for free to any user who wishes to develop it and then redistribute it. For example, Linux started life as an open source project, but at some point the developers decided to charge for support and licensing. The developers describe this decision as follows: \"ending support for the public\" is their description of the change they made in July of 1997. At that point Linux was no longer being supported by the general free software community, and those who were still using Linux had to pay for support. While that policy might seem mildly limiting on the surface, it actually has several useful benefits for current and would-be users.
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Let's take a look at how Linux started out. The original developers started with a distribution like Unix, operating systems like Linux were often free and open source. In other words, anyone was free to use it. They then packaged it up and sold it to the customers who bought it. At that point, a lot of people were using Unix, and so there was plenty of competition. Linux was developed eventually, and its developers had to compete against many other more established open source software packages.
Today Linux is perhaps the most widely used piece of free software. According to the most recent figures, more than 58 percent of all Windows-based computers have Linux on them. On the server side, more than 25 percent of all servers have Linux on them. Thus, over half of all servers and websites have Linux open source software on them. In order to meet their needs, developers put a lot of time and effort into making Linux available to users and distributors.
One of the advantages of using an open source program is that anyone can look at the code and modify it. This makes the software very compatible. A developer who is trying to write a new program for Windows, on the other hand, would not be able to look at the Linux code and make any changes. That would require him to go through a number of programs before he could get to the modified file. With Linux, however, it's entirely possible to look at the source code to see what changes have been made.
The Linux distribution has been in existence for more than fifteen years. It is extremely stable. Even though there are many improvements that are constantly being made, the core code is basically unchanged from the version that was first released. This means that if a user wants to upgrade to a newer version, he doesn't have to do anything else to download the new distribution. There is also an option to download the latest code and have the operating system upgraded automatically.
Because the Linux distribution is based on the Unix platform, it can be used with other types of operating systems. There are plenty of tools that are designed to help people with different operating systems, get to work with one another. One of the main differences between the Linux and Unix platforms is the amount of source code that is available. The Linux distribution does not have as much of the source code hidden away in proprietary licensing terms as the other two.
As a result of the large amount of free software that is available for the Linux platform, many developers have created a variety of different open source productivity applications. One of the most widely used is the development suite called Capsicum. This suite includes a spreadsheet application called Open Office, a mail client called Mail Pad, and a powerful FTP (file transfer protocol) tool called FileZilla. All of these items can be used with Linux. Users can install the appropriate software packages and then use them to develop spreadsheets, Word files, email services, and other types of applications. All of this code is free of charge.
There are many people who would rather purchase a full operating system and spend the money on the various pieces of software that they need. Linux does provide an inexpensive alternative to the expensive commercial operating systems that are on the market today. One disadvantage of the Linux distribution is the lack of official support from the manufacturer. Many manufacturers do not provide any type of support for Linux and this can make it more difficult for users to find out when there are problems. Other disadvantages of the Linux OS include the relatively high price of licensing fees and the fact that it does have a lot less memory than some other popular software packages.