This UNIX-like operating system is based on the work of Linus Torvalds and was inspired to some extent by Andrew Tanenbaum's Minix operating system. However, Torvalds also had in mind to overcome the limitations of Minix and abandon its microkernel concept for the sake of a modular kernel. Over the recent years, it has grown to a huge collaborative effort with thousands of developers.

The recent 2.4 Linux kernel has reached a level of stability and feature-richness that makes it an ideal platform for stability and cutting-edge testing as well. Linux uses a modular kernel design and heavily relies on GNU packages. Therefore, it is more accurate to refer to it as GNU/Linux.