Unix was popular because, originally, the source code was widely
available. For various reasons the Unix license began to forbid the
Universities from using the source code in their teaching. This lead
Andy Tannenbaum to write MINIX which then inspired Linus Torvalds to
write the Linux kernel for his Intel 386.
Unix has a long heritage and the new GNU/Linux has the luxury of
learning from the success and failings of both Unix and MS/Windows. Of
particular importance is the component-based architecture that
facilitates the sharing of components among many applications. These
are the focus of much modern development for GNU/Linux. Gnome, for
example, uses Bonobo (built on top of the international CORBA
standard) for its component architecture to support sharing.
CORBA is an object model defined by the Object Management Group. Its
use by Bonobo is based on ORBit, a thin and fast implementation of the
CORBA specification. Bonobo is then the Gnome architecture for
creating reusable software components and compound documents. It was
designed and implemented to support the needs of the free software
community to facilitate component reuse and to allow new applications
to build on the shoulders of those that went before them.
Don't be too concerned about the technicalities. You will see
reference to these terms so it is wise to be aware of them. The
details are not so important to the end user.
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