A lot of the advantages of Linux are a consequence of Linux'
origins, deeply rooted in UNIX, except for the first advantage, of
Linux is free:
As in free beer, they say. If you want to spend absolutely
nothing, you don't even have to pay the price of a CD. Linux can be
downloaded in its entirety from the Internet completely for free.
No registration fees, no costs per user, free updates, and freely
available source code in case you want to change the behavior of
Most of all, Linux is free as in free speech:
The license commonly used is the GNU Public License (GPL). The
license says that anybody who may want to do so, has the right to
change Linux and eventually to redistribute a changed version, on
the one condition that the code is still available after
redistribution. In practice, you are free to grab a kernel image,
for instance to add support for teletransportation machines or time
travel and sell your new code, as long as your customers can still
have a copy of that code.
Linux is portable to any hardware platform:
A vendor who wants to sell a new type of computer and who
doesn't know what kind of OS his new machine will run (say the CPU
in your car or washing machine), can take a Linux kernel and make
it work on his hardware, because documentation related to this
activity is freely available.
Linux was made to keep on running:
As with UNIX, a Linux system expects to run without rebooting
all the time. That is why a lot of tasks are being executed at
night or scheduled automatically for other calm moments, resulting
in higher availability during busier periods and a more balanced
use of the hardware. This property allows for Linux to be
applicable also in environments where people don't have the time or
the possibility to control their systems night and day.
Linux is secure and versatile:
The security model used in Linux is based on the UNIX idea of
security, which is known to be robust and of proven quality. But
Linux is not only fit for use as a fort against enemy attacks from
the Internet: it will adapt equally to other situations, utilizing
the same high standards for security. Your development machine or
control station will be as secure as your firewall.
Linux is scalable:
From a Palmtop with 2 MB of memory to a petabyte storage cluster
with hundreds of nodes: add or remove the appropriate packages and
Linux fits all. You don't need a supercomputer anymore, because you
can use Linux to do big things using the building blocks provided
with the system. If you want to do little things, such as making an
operating system for an embedded processor or just recycling your
old 486, Linux will do that as well.
The Linux OS and quite some Linux applications have very short
Because Linux has been developed and tested by thousands of
people, both errors and people to fix them are usually found rather
quickly. It sometimes happens that there are only a couple of hours
between discovery and fixing of a bug.