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Screenshot of Ubuntu 16.04, the most popular Linux distribution
DeveloperLinus Torvalds, Linux Community
Programming LanguageC and Assembly
OS TypeUnix, Open Source
Release DateOctober 4th, 1991
Marketing TypePersonal computers, mobile devices, embedded devices, servers, mainframes, supercomputers, business
Kernel TypeMonolithic
Websitehttps://kernel.org/ http://www.linux.org/
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The Linux Mascot, Tux

GNU/Linux, often called Linux, is a Unix-based and mostly POSIX-compliant computer kernel family built under the model of free and open-source software development and distribution, with many different flavors and versions (known as "distros"), based on the Linux kernel first released on October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds, and the userland of the GNU system, developed by Richard Stallman and the GNU Project. There are, however, systems that can be called "Linux distros", nothing less, nothing more, due to their lack of the GNU userland, such as Alpine (using musl as its C library and busybox as its core utility set). GNU/Linux has currently ca. 2% of the desktop market share, which is why many applications, mostly proprietary software, do not have GNU/Linux versions. Despite not being an optimal choice for gamers, a version of Linux called "Steam OS" made by Valve Corporation was a version of Linux compatible with many Windows PC games, mostly being games on the popular gaming platform [1], and Steam itself is available on most Linux distros.

Although GNU/Linux is for the most part free and open-source, some proprietary software is available for it, especially high-end software and development tools, such as JetBrains's tools, Autodesk Maya and Lightworks. In the rare case of an unrecoverable error, it handles it with a Kernel Panic, rather than a BSoD.

Linux is named "Linux" after its main developer, Linus Torvalds. Initially, when he was studying at the University of Helsinki, using an education-oriented UNIX-like system called "Minix" and developing his own monolithic kernel and operating system, he was going to name it Freax, a portmanteau of "freak", "free", and "x". The mascot and logo of the Linux kernel is the penguin Tux (shown right), chosen in a logo competition in 1996.

Malware on Linux

Another Screenshot of Ubuntu
Due to its relatively low market share and open-source/independent nature of the operating system, malware is rare and exploits are fixed rapidly. Most of the malware written for it is targeted towards websites or large business organizations due to the fact that it has a massive market share in servers, which makes GNU/Linux a lucrative target. They also rarely attack updated systems, as bugs being found are patched quickly, then added to update repos. Though there is not as much malware written for Linux, unlike Windows, cross-platform malware is becoming increasingly popular (since the common frameworks such as .NET Framework and Qt are cross-platform), and malware writers are now targeting Linux on the desktop more frequently. Android, which is a Linux kernel-based phone operating system, is also one of the most targeted platforms in the world on mobile for malware, because Android is the most common operating system on mobile devices. Some malware (such as Remaiten) may even run on other architectures (such as ARM or MIPS).

On February 20, 2016, Linux Mint's servers were hacked and someone installed spyware and backdoors in the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint 17.3. The hacking attack was from Sofia, Bulgaria.


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Debian logo.png
DeveloperThe Debian Project
OS TypeUnix
Release DateSeptember 1993
Marketing TypeGeneral purposes, development
Kernel TypeMonolithic
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Debian is a unix-like operating system comprised of open-source software. It features its own repositories, which is one of the biggest repositories of any Linux operating system, containing more than 51,000 programs. Many Unix-based operating systems like Mint and Ubuntu were based off of Debian.

No major breach has been made as of yet to Debian, however in 2008, a vulnerability was found in the random number generator of security keys, which only generated 32,767 different keys.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" (Cinnamon Edition)
DeveloperClément Lefèbvre, Jamie Boo Birse, Kendall Weaver
OS TypeUnix
Release DateAugust 27th, 2006
Marketing TypeGeneral purposes
Kernel TypeMonolithic
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Linux Mint is a community-focused operating system that strives for a modern design and stability. It is open source and is bundled with open-source software. The current version is 19.2 "Tina".

Mint runs off of its own repositories, which however, are outdated styles of repositories.

Malware History

On 20 February 2016, the official Linux Mint website was breached by unknown hackers from Bulgaria, who briefly replaced download links for a version of Linux Mint with a modified version that contained malware. The hackers also breached the database of the website's user forum. After the attack Linux Mint was severely criticized as being a distribution that, unlike many others at the time, "just worked" and became popular with non-technical users, but at the expense of security, with some security updates to the underlying Ubuntu or Debian blacklisted from running due to compatibility issues.