Linux Project Professor: Glen Gray Department of Information Systems is 311 tth 3: 30 4: 45 pm
Many desktop systems are sometimes employed as servers. Because Linux was designed for use as a server operating system, its features and performance are better than most desktop operating systems used as servers. For example, Microsoft’s software license for Windows NT Workstation restricts the number of clients connected at the same time to ten. If a Windows NT Workstation accepts more than ten client connections, then it is operating in breach of the license. However, Linux does not restrict the number of clients connected at the same time. The Linux desktop is free to accept as many client connections as it can handle.
Linux also provides more reliable data storage than other desktop operating systems. Most Linux users store their disk data using the EXT2 file system, which is superior in performance and reliability to file systems provided by Microsoft operating systems. Linux also provides advanced disk management (RAID), which makes it possible to automatically duplicate stored data on several hard drives. This improves the reliability of data storage and is important because if one hard drive fails, the data can be read from another one. Other desktop operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 95/98 do not support this capability unless a driver is added (O’Reilly 10-14).
Applications:From household appliance control to World Wide Web tools, Linux has a lot to offer. One accomplishment, which the free software community is particularly fond of, is the GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, similar to Photoshop but highly extensible, completely free and guaranteed to stay that way. Linux has audio applications galore from players and recorders to mod trackers, drum machines, synthesizers, and synthesis languages. Linux can also be used for ham radio and video applications.
Nearly all development software for LINUX is free and covered under the GNU public License, which guarantees that it will always remain free. Linux systems come standard with C and C++ compilers and an assembler, APL, BASIC, Dylan, Eiffel, Euler, Forth, FORTRAN, GOMscript, INTERCAL, Logo, LISP, Mercury, Modula, Oberon, Objective C, Pascal, Prolog, Perl, Python, Rexx, Sather, SIMULA, and Tcl/Tk. Moreover, the source code available for nearly any Linux program is freely available. This phenomenon is called Open source, in which not only the bugs are discovered and corrected almost immediately, but also development of software proceeds at a much faster pace than one finds even at extremely successful commercial software houses. Programmers also have a choice between using gcc and egcs, the GNU C Compiler and the Experiment GNU Compiler System, the latter of which has become quite popular due to its features, flexibility and functionality. Linux is a platform for programmers.
Linux has tons of games-the Linux Game Tome lists over 400 entries. Linux games have a charm all their own, though developers have recently turned their attention to producing slick, commercial 3-D games. Free Linux games, however, are often of very high quality and most entertaining. As many Linux programmers come from other platforms, there are many ports and recreations of classic computer games. Fans of traditional board game such as CHESS and GO will find excellent interfaces for playing on-line, and even strong computer opponents. Emulation, combined with the speed of modern hardware, makes available literally thousands of computer games, from early games on home computers like the COMMODORE 64 and AMIGA to coin-operated arcades.
Scientific Software: UNIX was originally used by scientists and is often their preferred OS, so there is a wealth of scientific software available for Linux, including TeX and LaTeX scientific typesetting packages. There are scientific applications for astronomy, biology, cartography, chemistry, laboratory work, mathematics, graphics, and visualization, among others. In conjunction with the numerous scientific and mathematical languages available, Linux is quite at home in scientific applications and is often used to laboratories.
System Software:Linux has a very bright future; many companies are choosing Linux to power their workstations and servers. Many companies are also replacing currently install UNIX and Windows machines with Linux boxes. Linux is a very stable multitasking multi-user operating system. Linux is constantly in the news, whether that is computer-related or business related. Many companies are using Linux as file servers, print servers, Web and application servers, and workstations. Linux is a scalable operating system; it can serve up an office with two personal computers or accommodate a Fortune 100 company with thousands of personal computers. You can now purchase new computer systems preinstalled with Linux, you can also purchased technical support as part of the package. Linux continues to evolve, with new kernel releases coming out regularly.
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Purdell, John, Robinson, Amanda, eds. The Linux Bible. San Jose: Yggdrasil Computing, Inc, 1996
The Linux Documentation Project: http://metalab.unc.edu/LDP
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