The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software / open source
The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system kernel. It is the namesake of the Linux family of operating systems, Released under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) and developed by contributors worldwide. Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software / open source.
The Linux Kernel was initially conceived and assembled by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Early on, the Minix community contributed code and ideas to the Linux kernel. At the time, the GNU Project had created many of the components required for a free software operating system, but its own kernel, GNU Hurd, was incomplete and unavailable.
The BSD operating system had not yet freed itself from legal encumbrances. This meant that despite the limited functionality of the early versions, Linux rapidly accumulated developers and users who adopted code from those projects for use with the new operating system.
Today the Linux kernel has received contributions from thousands of programmers.
Because of the the fact that so many people can improve it, it has become one of the fastest kernels in history.
According to independant research run by several different organizations, Windows programs that were translated to Linux programs normally ran between 5-7 times faster, which also makes it ideal for supercomputers, which the Linux community dominates; 9 of the 10 fastest supercomputers in the world run the Linux kernel.