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Open SUSE® 11.0 and SUSE® Linux® Enterprise Server Bible by Justin Davies, Roger Whittaker

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Introduction

What is Linux? There was a time (not so long ago) when the first page of every book and the first slide of every presentation on Linux had this obligatory question. We have come a long way since that time, and we certainly no longer feel that we have to start our own presentations with that slide. However, in a book like this, a brief introduction to Linux in general can provide an appropriate entry into our discussion of SUSE Linux in particular.

Linux is a multiuser, multitasking, multiplatform computer operating system (strictly speaking, an operating system kernel) that has been developed by an open source, collaborative process involving large numbers of people all over the world. Linux is a Unix-like operating system. This means that it conforms closely to a set of conventions and standards associated with Unix; however, Linux does not contain any of the original Unix code.

Linux has been developed using the open source development model. What that means is that all the work that is done by Linux developers is open and shared. It is open to peer review, which encourages honesty and means that each developer is able to build upon work that has already been done by others. Although this method is often still seen as revolutionary in the field of software development, it is effectively the same method that has been used by science in the Western world since about the time of Newton. The development of Western science has been spectacularly successful precisely because ...

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