Programmer Linus Torvalds built Linux (and named it after himself!) from a kernel, meaning the part of an operating system which communicates between software and hardware. Almost all Linux-related programs and ideas are open source, which means they are freely distributed and modified by users all over the world.
Linux allows users to totally customize their operating system. You can even run it alongside Windows in a dual-boot or virtual machine.
Because of this, many programmers flock to Linux for its customizability and friendly attitude toward change and communication, as opposed to the closed programming and proprietary holdings of Microsoft or Macintosh. Linux is known as “UNIX-like” because it is based on the same basic concept but does not conform to all UNIX standards. This nontraditional operating system works best on desktop computers because of the kind of hardware most Linux distributions should have to run, although you can run Linux on laptops with some thought and planning.
Linux users may use its operating systems alone or as part of a multi-boot system, wherein the same computer houses more than one operating system. A Linux operating system is known collectively as a distribution, which includes a wide collection of different components packaged together for specific kinds of users and needs, all free for public use. The most common Linux distribution is called Ubuntu, based on a system called Debian. Although these programs are free, they do require a period of adjustment and some programming knowledge, as changes are made using lines of code, similar to using the Microsoft DOS operating system of yore.
The transparency of Linux distributions means that users can find help and support in many places online. Since qualified programmers worldwide can examine the source code and publicize their own improvements, each user benefits from the pool of common knowledge.